So lots on my mind lately, but the most prominent has to do with work. My career. If you can really call it that.
The future of my company, or my division really, the locally-based part of my company, is not really certain. Right now it’s just rumors, and foreboding “what-if’s”, but it’s highly possible that 9-18 months from now, we might not exist. Or what is currently here might exist on a much smaller scale. Who knows, I’m being vague because that’s what you do when you talk about work on the internet, but also because I have no idea. There have been no official decisions, it’s just water cooler talk at this point, but it’s scary, and I don’t like feeling like my family’s future is so up-in-the-air.
When I came back to work after my maternity leave I was lucky enough to go part-time. Half-way through my leave, after much soul-searching and crying over not being able to leave my baby, I made a proposal to my boss in which I stated that I felt I could come back to work just three days a week and do my same job. To my delight, he and those above him went for it, and my work-life balance ever since has been, well, AWESOME.
There have been bumps in the road, some having to do with finding part-time childcare (so much more complicated!), and some having to do with finding myself having hard-core landed on the mommy-track in the eyes of pretty much everyone here. You can’t really progress in a company as a part-timer, that is clear. There’s no such thing as a part-time manager, so any aspirations for that have been shelved. My “5-year plan” is currently an awkward little one-sentence blurb that basically amounts to staying where I’m at, plugging away, doing my best while doing the same thing I’ve been doing for SEVEN YEARS.
And that’s ok, I expected that to happen when I made the decision to cut back my hours, because in the corporate world, to be considered a top-tier employee, to be thought of as “going somewhere”, you have to at least have the illusion that you are always available, that you will take on extra work, jump when asked to jump, all that. Even if no one is asking for “extra”, it’s just assumed that when you aren’t there every day, you aren’t able to go that extra mile.
The funny thing is, I never worked an hour of overtime before I went-part time, because I didn’t need to. But now? I’ve definitely had my share of those weeks where I’ve had to work from home for a few hours on my day off, or had to go in on a Saturday when Dan could watch Gus in order to meet a deadline. I HATE having to leave early for appointments, or having to call in because the little guy is sick, because I feel like I need to constantly prove that I am available, I am reliable, I am HERE. It’s not as if my dedication to the company or my job has changed because on average I work 10-12 less hours per week than my colleagues. Still. Mommy-track. No way around it. That’s where I am.
I’ve completely gone off on a tangent here. The point is this, if I have to find another job this whole work-life balance thing I’ve got going on will be totally thrown for a loop. Corporations are not looking to hire someone for my position part-time, that’s the kind of thing you do once you’ve been well established within an organization, obviously. No, the part-time options for me are very limited. Starbucks Barista? Bookkeeping? Ha! No. Every part-time job posting I have seen would involve a massive pay-cut, and not only that, I’d be extremely over-qualified and not likely to be hired for that reason alone.
So I’m just sort of at a loss. I don’t want to go back to work full-time. Really really really I do not. Not to mention, I’m pregnant, if you didn’t know. Another wrench thrown in there just for fun. So it’s not like I can really even do anything at this point, I don’t plan on bringing this belly with me on any job interviews. If I did decide to find a new full-time job, then we’d likely be in the position of having to completely change our plans for childcare.
I have started looking into what it would take to become a CPA, so that maybe down the road I could be a part-time consultant for small companies, sort of make my own schedule, be my own boss. It sounds someone appealing, though the whole process, which would include additional schooling (I don’t think it would be much) and lots of studying for this massive test does not sound super fun. And to be certified you have to actually work under the guidance of a CPA for a year after doing all that and passing the test. That could be… complicated.
Anyway, I think for now I just have to hunker down, hope for the best, and realize that I can’t plan for every different possible scenario. Things change, things evolve, and you roll with the punches and figure things out when life throws you for a loop. Right now I have to plan for this new baby, I have to assume I’m going back to work sometime in early April and will need childcare for my two children just three days a week. Yes, that is the future I have to plan for at this point, and all that other stuff may keep me up at night, but there’s really nothing I can do about it right now. Ugh. I hate that. Need to just let go, and trust that future Alicia will take care of this stuff if she has to. ;)