Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The big post

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.



Anonymous said...

Congrats to you! I teach once a week at a community college and it is really quite nice. Yesterday was the first day of my second year and OMG the drop in prep time required felt criminal.

And I don't know if I ever told you how much I loved your apathy/suck/time charts with respect to the end of uni. I have 9 days of school left in a 7 yr post secondary going on right now and the suck is off the charts. But I am doing my best to trample apathy because oh my god next week is important (feels sick to stomach)...

Enjoy this new chapter of your life.

PS - your blog won't let me use my blogger account. Any ideas why?

AJU5's Mom said...

Teaching is a great way to still be a stay-at-home mom. I am even luckier because I teach online classes, meaning I can work from home. Once you get used to the teching thing, I bet you can find more opportunities if you want them.

Becca said...

I'm so excited for you! I totally agree with liking to have enough time to keep the house nice. Those kinds of things are the second reason I don't want to work full time (the first being Charlie). I want us to enjoy our evenings and weekends as a family, not play catchup with all the chores that were left undone all week. I don't know how families with two full-timers do it! Enjoy your time with Jack! Especially this winter when you don't have to commute in snow!!

Anonymous said...

Congrats and welcome to the club:) I also love my job. I feel that if I could have come up with my "dream job" years ago, this would have been it.

Anonymous said...

I'm proud of you! And also HOW WEIRD IS THIS: Today I get a call from my old company. They want me to consider working two days a week. It's like YOUR job became MINE. (Which, seriously, OF COURSE that would happen.)

Swistle said...

Yay for interesting life changes!

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am a HUUUUUGE fan of quitting jobs! Especially when you don't have to find a new one! Not that chasing after a 2-year-old isn't work, but you know what I mean.

Today I hung out with an old roommate. She currently works at the UN and will soon be moving to the freaking MIDDLE EAST to manage a UN NGO office complete with ARMORED CAR and I am all, "Um, I change diapers?" But on the other hand, I love my babies and can't imagine not having all the time I have with them. YAY YOU! Also, please teach me to cook?

Sleen said...

Congratulations! I am impressed with the pie-making. Who knew that babies could tug on our heartstrings so? (I came home to be with mine in 1999 and have never looked back.)

Adam Golaski said...

hey-- I don't have much in the way of suggestion as to how to go about this, but have you thought about science writing? I mean, writing semi-creative essays about contemporary science? I'm guessing what you do is come up with an idea and query magazines, and if they like your idea you write the piece, but I'm not sure. I'm an avid fan of Best American Science & Nature Writing (though this year's edition is a bit of a dud--try the 2006 edition). Just a thought.

Oh, and congrats!

Arwen said...

I'm a little late coming in here, but congrats! Always nice to have a decision made that makes you happier, and this one seems to be doing that for you.

Also, isn't homemade pie the best? It is so much better than store-bought pie!