Monday, February 23, 2009

The Careerist

My job has its drawbacks, mountains of endless, unachievable objectives, surly co-workers and customers, low-grade professional rep building and the whole sudden fickle interpretations of my rights to my position, et cetera. But you know, when push comes to shove I am fond of the old gal. The cute corner office, the co-workers and customers (even when they are surly), the crazy 'just-do-it' pace of it all, the way they call me a goddess... and of course the children.

When I faced the option of leaving the my schools job I had to admit that going pretty much anywhere else would comparatively, completely, fry the social payoff I get. I have drunk the Oprah kool-aid, teachers are awesome! Working to support teaching and learning in a very tangible and active way has been the most rewarding work I have ever done, and the most maddening. Had to get that out.

When faced with the option of leaving the job I once again retreated to the math. There must be some perfect mix of time off I can set up with my banked vacation and gratuity time. They'll be flexible. I have heard about the mania for 'retention' and how employers accommodate really valued employees when asked. Hey, maybe I'm a valued employee.

Insert fading of the flex schedule fantasy... we have all heard so much about.

I think for the first few months of my return to work I was in denial. Sure, I had seen them out there, the working parents, but in the near 5 years before I was out/in/out so fast I didn't identify with them. Shopping at Safeway all hours of the night... taking kids along to catch more time with them... microwaving all the foods... and, of course, the requisite crying in the car. Those things will happen.

But to quit, to bail on work I want to do, to just take any job wasn't the cure I had plotted. How long do you think it would take till there would be more, if different, tears? And, those things matter. I was told by an older colleague that her generation was more willing to sacrifice things for their families than us parents today. I wonder a lot about that. I will, and do, ask myself everyday if I am unwilling to sacrifice myself enough. But work is work, mine with some rewards, sure, but still fundamentally toil. I'm not on a daypass from motherhood.

Let me put it this way, just because I consider work/life balance a misnomer doesn't mean my work is my life.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have drunk the Oprah kool-aid *snort* Too funny.

11:10 p.m.  
Blogger Mad said...

There's the rub, eh? I would do just about anything to have these first few years at home with M. But they are a few short years and then there is me and my work life and this career that I trained hard to get and that I enjoy beyond measure. And so, I strip everything else away so that there is just work and M and so that she does get me as much as I am able to give and I get her as much as I possibly can. It's not a perfect solution but it's working. Ah but hell, I only work a 24 hour work week SO NO COMPLAINTS on my end whatsoever.

7:50 a.m.  

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