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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thinking, worrying...

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. ;)

5 comments:

Lisa said...

You're right to let future Alicia deal with all of that when/if the time comes. You can't control much of it right now, unless you were to up and find another job before yours is even in jeopardy. At least thinking about it now may give you a couple of ideas to store in the back of your mind. Which it sounds like you have - becoming a CPA sounds interesting! I know a CPA who owns his own business if you ever want info/advice.

In the meantime, all you can do is enjoy your schedule now and all that it offers! Life's too short to always be thinking longterm, especially when you can't control it. At least that is what I am telling myself a lot these days, so hopefully it is good advice to follow. :)

Mandy said...

I can relate... it is so hard to balance home life and work! I am also lucky enough to only work 4 days a week which I love more than I can even explain but now that I am looking for ways to advance my career and/or move into other departments I realize I will probably have to go back to working 5 days a week and the very thought of that makes me want to cry. I love my day at home with my boys and with Colton starting school in two short weeks I was really lookin forward to some one on one time with Mason (something that he definatly got the short end of the stick with)! All I can say is roll with what comes your way, life is always changing but you are one of the strongest persons I know and you will adjust quickly to whatever cruveball is thrown at you! For now try not to stress about it, enjoy your time with Gus before you are splitting mommy time with two boys (yes I predict a boy for you) and enjoy being pregnant because that too will be over before you know it!

Julia said...

Work/Mommy balance is the ULTIMATE for happiness, if you ask me. I'm so glad you have a great set-up right now and will pray that it stays exactly the way you want it to for a very long time. And if something does happen, and changes occur, you will make it work somehow. Stay in the moment and deal with the future when it comes---so much easier said than done, I know.

Erin said...

Whoa do you ever have a sweet deal going on, and I hope so much you can keep it!! I'd love to be part time but hold the benefits so need to stay at full time for now... you're right, good PT positions are HARD to come by in the corporate world! I so feel you with just the mommy track. Although probably 90% of the people I work with are moms, I feel like right now, in the child bearing and toddler rearing years of my life, literally all I can focus on is doing my job, that I have right now. Not trying to get the next step up, or developing myself as a professional. I feel a little bit weird about it because I'm so used to always doing something different and more, but I'm coming to terms with it more and more lately. We'll see how long it really does last, I've been at 2+ years now of doing the same thing and still feel a-ok with it, but that was after 3 LONG years of striving to get here. It's strange for me to just be though...

Anyway, I hope things stay okay for your job for a long time!

Betsy said...

Ugh! I remember being pregnant with Isla and my school was doing teacher cuts. Definitely scary. But worrying does nothing, and future Alicia will definitely figure something out. You can always move to Chicago...my dad will hire you immediately :)