Monday, September 20, 2010

On Time

I don't want to write about this.

I don't want to because it is all too familiar to a lot of us. Because I really don't have a thick skin about it and while my blog is so tiny you cannot see it with the naked eye, one weird comment might send me spinning.

I am so grateful to have a job. A job I could be good at, one I can really enjoy, one that feeds and houses my family though people always pretend that women's income does that too. But no job is perfect. And the truth is, that very few of us have jobs that really work with having a family. Actually having a life. My company is not unique here--in fact that is why I feel comfortable writing about it at all. It is not an indictment of the company. They say all the appropriate things about work-life balance, they have incredibly sincere pamphlets they hand out. I think they even mean it. But in action it doesn't work that way.

It doesn't work that way because a lot of people who have worked very hard to get where they are don't have families--many don't have partners--so their brains don't care or see about those things. They don't work that way because well let's be honest, the ones that do have kids have stay at home wives. They don't worry about childcare or sick babies or rushing home. They schedule meetings that will take a couple of hours for four o'clock. They work weekends and can't imagine why everyone doesn't.

I don't want work life balance because of my daughter. I want it for me. Because I am a better worker and thinker when I have something beyond my job. When I have slept. When I have seen the world outside of cube walls. But I demand some bit of balance for my daughter. For her I take the heat.

I shouldn't have to.

It isn't normal to get email on your phone 24 hours a day. It isn't normal to wake up in the middle of the night freaked out about something like this. We ask too much of our workers. We give them less and less space to be people.

I knew this coming back. I knew it would be hard. And it is hard. I am not sure how I am going to do it. I know I will do it. I don't really have a choice.

Actually I know how I will do it. I took a slightly down job and I will stay in that slightly down job. I won't work for a promotion--which sucks--because I know the expectations that comes with that. I do good work--better than a lot of people who work their lives away--but people only care about ass in the seat time. More is better?

I was Mommy Tracked after my maternity leave. Not in a concrete legal way, but in the way I was demeaned in so many eyes. Oh you have a vagina that you don't just use recreationally. Ew. How nice. I was passed over for a promotion while pregnant--one I didn't want so I was happy--but I was also blocked from a good job when I returned. And I have been so lucky.

I am good at setting boundaries--my daughter won't suffer. But the anxiety of trying to make it work is not good for me. It adds a whole layer of complexity to a job that doesn't need it. Let me do my job, get out of the way. I will be the best one you have. Don't crap on my desk because I don't work until 8 at night. I am the first one here in the morning.

This isn't about being a mother, though I am seen through that lens. This is why for a chickie company there are so few women in the higher levels. This is why my friend that hired me said she was relieved that there would be ONE other person with a child. In a group of 30. Of everyone in their late twenties to early forties.

I will always leave on time.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


For a few months I have been looking for a job.

That was hard for me to do. To me, there is nothing more soul crushing than job hunting. It feels like the worst kind of dating. Tons of rejection. Very little positive feedback. Just endless hope. I made the final two for a few jobs and I would be so excited and than it just didn't work out. It is hard not to lose your confidence. Especially when you are like me and you are naturally shy. Working yourself up to be confident and gregarious in an interview so that you make the right impression is hard. It is unbelievably hard to do it again and again and again.

And it was hard to admit that I wanted a regular full time job again. I was supposed to be living the dream. Except I really struggled to teach myself the skills I needed for the business. And none of the classes I could find really taught what I wanted to know (and if anyone in the greater Seattle area wants to teach me Dreamweaver hook a sister up). And I HATED not having anyone to interact with. Hated working in the basement when my toddler was upstairs pissed at me. Really hated having so much contact with my MIL--who I love but we do better when we are not judging each other's choices so damn much. I don't like doing massage long term. Or rather I love doing massage but I hate all the crap that came with it. I hated the politics at the clinic that I worked at (which are the same everywhere). I hated being talked down to by people who thought I was a SAHM but didn't want to act like I thought I was better than a SAHM so I couldn't really say anything. I hated not making enough money.

We were all sacrificing so much and it wasn't the right fit yet.

BUT. The year was amazing. This year was just what I needed. I learned a lot about my work needs. What kind of work makes me happy. What personally makes me happy. My husband and I got a lot of things right in our marriage. We are still working on balance and well I think we will be until the day we die. That just comes with this, but this year was amazing. I was so happy in a lot of ways.

The single best thing I got from this year was the ability to go back. To say, last year I needed to quit even though I knew people were thinking I couldn't hack it and though it felt like failing and I needed to try something different. And this year it is best for me and my family for me to go and work full time at one job. It is ok to change your mind and it is ok for the needs of your family to change. In the past I would have stuck to my guns because doing something else would be admitting I was wrong. But I wasn't wrong. Things just didn't work out how I had hoped.

I am so proud of myself for trying. And I am not mad at myself for deciding to do something different.

I got a job offer last week. I accepted. I actually clapped when I hung up the phone. The commute will suck and I expect that the office politics will be just what they always are. I know that things will not be perfect and I will feel crushed under the weight of my life. I think we all feel that way sometimes. But I am doing what is right for me and my family and I feel brave.