More on women who work, then don’t

From Motherlode, the NYTimes parenting blog, I read this

The reason high-achieving women don’t have children, they concluded, is essentially because women who do have children are more likely to step out of the workplace for some period of time or ratchet back their workloads or otherwise sacrifice their careers. They don’t take off for long — an average of just over two years. But the detour comes at a high cost. Those who are out one to two years lose 15 percent of their lifetime salary compared to those who do not. For those out for three or more years, the salary gap is now 46 percent. Some men do this, too. But the latest numbers show that twice as many women (31 percent) take what the center calls “an off ramp” than men (16 percent.)

Which is all the data I read before I quit but did it anyway.  I won’t say I regret my decision; I do love being engrossed in my children’s lives.  I do wish corporate america (i.e., my former employer) had been more accommodating for a parent (me) dealing with the changes parenthood brought on. I think we could have had a long and prosperous future together.  Instead, I have a happy well adjusted family that is a bit poor and a slightly frustrated mother (again, me).

I am still thinking I can make something of this.  My new website for moms who want work?  Don’t give up, Julie.  Make this a seed for positive change.

The full Motherlode blog: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/19/women-work-and-the-supreme-court/#more-12133

Why do I Want to Work Again?

So I figured out what my search for work is all about.  It’s funny how these things manifest themselves.  I didn’t get a call back on the job I applied for.  From a friend of an employee, I heard that my resume was actually “noticed” and was impressive.  Nonetheless, the sheer volume of applicants seems to have worked against me.  As I say, it’s ok. It was my first attempt and if I’d gotten a job offer out of it so easily, I’d wonder if I’d sold myself short.

In the time between sending a resume and hearing back, I pondered not only how the logistics of my life might change, but also what a work environment might might represent for me.  During this time a couple of other interesting things happened.

First, I heard from an old colleague. She no longer works for our old company.  She said she missed me and I her. I realized how much my old work life meant to me; how I loved working with a group of really smart, really dedicated people who all seemed to “get” each other.

Secondly, I found myself on the outskirts of the core social circle of parents at the elementary school.  It sounds so adolescent to even say, but at a school with no busing, the parents tend to congregate outside the school waiting for their kids to get out;  I think I’ve always been on the fringe of the in-crowd. I mean Always. Not just for the past four years, but going back to at least middle school.  So, it’s not an uncomfortable place.  What got me was the sting of realizing that I had been hoping to be more “in”. And why do I care?  Am I so insecure of who I am? No, it’s because after six years living in this new place in a new lifestyle, I’m still looking for a community of people who “get me”.

And that, I realize, is a big part of wanting to work again.  I miss being surrounded by dedicated, driven, smart, funny people who “get me”.  My people.  I also miss working hard and getting paid for it;  in case any prospective employers read my blog, I am also looking to make money!

So, this realization might actually help me winnow the field of possible employers.  It has certainly helped me sort through the emotions of the past week.

And for the few new friends I do have who “get me”, I think you know who you are. And I thank you for being such great friends.

The Cost of Change

I applied for a job yesterday. A paying job.

There have been many jobs I have considered applying for; many jobs that I have written unsent cover letters; but, this is the first I have followed-through with.   The last time I did this was right after we moved here, and I was called to interview, twice, but it became clear, I’m sure to both the interviewer as well as myself, that I wasn’t ready. I had a baby in my hands. I was looking to restart quickly what I had left behind before I moved.

This is different. I’ve been doing this stay-at-home-mom gig for six years now.  I have a better sense of what I’d be giving up.   And what I’d hope to gain.

I’m a little anxious about the notion I might be called.  Or not.  Anxious either way.  I already told the kids.  Just planting a seed about how life might change for them.

I’m a little bit unwilling to consider how my life might change.  I think it would be crazier, a bit frazzled, but maybe even a bit more efficient.  I work well with time constraints.

There would be some things I’d miss.

Even if this doesn’t proceed past my action of writing the cover letter, tweaking the resume and pondering the future, it’s a good step. So far, it feels good.

Time will tell what might be the cost of change.