Sunday, February 17, 2008

(Un)Employment

I have not been employed since September. I quit my reference job at the library in order to volunteer in the cataloging section of the library. We've been able to cover our expenses, more or less, with my Foreign Languages and Area Studies fellowship stipend and Foxy's teaching income. In the next few weeks this may change as I take a job cataloging materials for the Spanish Department's Center for Spanish Studies. I'm making this change not just because this job is offering to pay me money, but because it'll give me a chance to diversify my cataloging experience and to use my Spanish language skills in conjunction with library stuff, which is the whole idea behind my FLAS fellowship.

Meanwhile, Foxy and I are seriously considering the possibility of me returning to unemployment after I graduate. For years now we've been looking forward to the day when I have a real job with a real salary and insurance and all that fun grown-up stuff, but now we're having second thoughts. We're realizing that Foxy's PhD program is likely to require a lot of time and energy on her part and, oh yeah, we have kids. S-Boogie will be starting Kindergarten in the fall but Little Dude will only be two and he generally doesn't seem to enjoy being with people other than his parents as much as his sister always has. So we could go ahead with the plan to get me a full-time job, find a good daycare option for him, and put Foxy in the position of juggling her full-time student responsibilities with the full-time parent responsibilities of making sure kids get to and from daycare and school on time and caring for them herself instead of having time to dedicate to homework and research, OR we could live for another few years as poor students and have one of us--me--available to do the parenting thing. We don't know yet exactly how much Davis is offering her in terms of money to live on and we still haven't heard from the other two schools she applied to, but we know that at least one school really wants her and has said they plan on funding her well. It's likely that I'll still need to get some kind of part-time job--and even if I didn't need to I'd want to do something to keep up my library experience--and Little Dude may still need some daycare, but at least this option means that one of us will be able to dedicate most of our time to parenting and that Foxy will be able to give her studies the attention a PhD program deserves. I've read too many stories recently of mothers who have had to perform scheduling gymnastics in order to get their degrees, and I admire them for accomplishing what they've accomplished while their husbands worked full-time, but I figure why do that if there are other options? We are, after all, quite experienced at the financial gymnastics of living on a student income. What's another few years?

Truthfully, I'm excited by this idea. While I've been excited at the prospect of starting my career, the one thing I've been dreading is the reality of a 40-hour job that would take away from the time I spend with my children. I'm ready to be done with school but I'm not ready to give up the flexible parenting schedule school has given me. Maybe I'll get a real job when the kids go to college.

6 comments:

Samantha said...

Darrin played Mr. Mom when our kids were little, and for awhile his job schedule allowed him to be home more during the day than I was, so he was the dinner chef for many years. It was very good for our kids to have that kind of access to him and I think it's one reason they're so level about most everything that happens in life.

Now that they're older, Darrin and I both work full time, but I schedule some of my work time at home so I'll be there when my kids are home from school, and Darrin has weekends free.

We've both sacrificed career advancements for our kids and make about 1/3 as much as we could be making--for us it's worth it. Money doesn't love you back, after all. :)

Samantha said...

Oh--and next time you fly off to save the world, student income or not, at least thank me for picking up the tab. It's just good manners.

Mama said...

God bless you both through making these decisions and GOOD LUCK!!!!

Mr. Fob said...

Sam: Thanks for picking up the tab. No, money doesn't love you back, but you can always buy someone who will.

Mama: Thanks.

green mormon architect said...

Better yet, just skip the whole real job thing and go straight to retirement when the kids go to college.

Mr. Fob said...

Well, if you insist...