I quit my job. It was a fantastic job when it was two days a week, but now they want more than two days a week. I can’t blame them. When you work only two days a week, things that should only take three days take a week and a half. And if a project needs a week’s work, look for the results in a month. So over the past couple of weeks, my boss and I have had several discussions about my hours. Unfortunately, the only arrangement that would satisfy him was my working at least four days a week, six to seven hours a day. Factor in my hour-long commute both ways, longer if I have to drop Jack somewhere, and that’s essentially a full-time job. So I quit.
I’d like to say that this was a tough decision, but it just… wasn’t. Once Andrew and I figured out how our budget could work with one salary, I felt a palpable relief. Although I’ve liked being able to keep a professional hand in with a light work schedule, I far prefer my days at home with Jack to my days in the lab. I love pretty much everything about staying home. I love hanging out with Jack. I love having the time to keep the house reasonably clean. (Note the phrasing: I love having the time, not the cleaning itself. I haven’t completely lost my mind.) And much to my shock, I’ve started to love to cook. Over the past two years, I have progressed from a person who carefully buys the exact ingredients listed in a recipe to a person who scans her pantry for available ingredients, and then throws something together. Something that tastes good, even. For crying out loud, I’ve started making pies on a weekly basis. From scratch! I peel the peaches!
In fact, probably the biggest obstacle I faced in making the decision to quit my job was the very fact of how much I love the stay-at-home gig. Human nature being what it is, I appear to hold myself to a different standard than the rest of the universe and therefore felt like I am not supposed to enjoy being a stay-at-home. I’m supposed to want to work a “real” job! I’m supposed to love my “real” job! I mean, why go to all the trouble of getting a Ph.D. if not to work a “real” job that I love?
But I didn’t love it. In truth, I’d been trolling job postings for a while, searching for that magical, fascinating job that required ten hours a week, paid $400 per hour, and was located five minutes from my house. And it wouldn’t hurt if instead of bench science, it was writing- or people-oriented. I didn’t find that one exactly, but I did find a part-time teaching job for two days a month. Perfect in all ways but the uber-minimalist hours. Still, I accepted, and had actually just begun the process of hunting for a day care that would accommodate these additional days when my boss asked to meet with me to discuss my working arrangement, sparking a series of proposals and emails back and forth and ultimately leading to my resignation.
Which brings us to now. Last Friday was my last full day, but I will continue to consult for my company on an as-needed basis. Today, I attended my first teacher staff meeting, which is hopefully the start of a new phase in my career. And most importantly, I have made peace with the reality that I do have a real job. And I do love it.
And I am blessed.