Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Women and Careers

Hot topic or no?  Most women I know are in the workplace, somehow.  Either they work part time, full time, or telecommute (like me.)  If they're not in the work force, they're in training/college to enter it.  Very few women I know, even in the church that I attend, are stay at home wives/mothers.  Or, they earn extra money by babysitting or having a home daycare, or sales of some sort; either Mary Kay, Avon, Pampered Chef.  I've been in the workforce myself, off and on, since I was about 16 years old.  My first job was as a cashier at Hardees in Winter Park, Florida, on the corner of 17-92 and Lee Road.  It's not there anymore.  I think it's a steakhouse now? 
My dream job, to be perfectly honest, with you, is to not "work" at all.  I wish I could be a stay at home mother, cleaning, cooking, sewing, and growing a garden.  Some way, some how, that ended up not happening.  Now, I'm on the precipice of graduating from college in less than a month, with fresh student loans ahead of me. 
Am I glad I'm about to graduate?  Yes, of course.  I started college way back in 1993 as an immature 18 year old girl.  It took me and additional 18 years just to get my associates degree.  Being a wife and mother dominates my life just as much now as it did back then. 
So why did I go back to school, when it actually goes against what I wanted for my future?

1)  To say I finished.  Silly?  Maybe.  Probably! 
2)  As insurance.  I am the one who carries the medical insurance on this family.  I have high blood pressure and diabetes.  If I lost my job, I'd be uninsurable.
3)  As insurance, part 2.  I'm the product of a failed relationship.  So is my husband.  I love him dearly, and I know he'd never leave me. is always in the back of my mind that if SOMETHING were to ever happen, either divorce or death, that I still have three children who need money.  Many people would say, "Well, there is always child support."  Neither my father or my sister's father paid any.  Neither did my husband's father.  That's why we grew up in abject poverty.  We both know what it's like to go without basic things like warm coats in the winter, shoes that fit, and dinner. 
4)  Knowing that the field I chose has a good chance of me working from home.  There's a reason I didn't choose nursing school.  Even though that is also a 2 year program, and pays far better than a coder, I have no desire to work nights, weekends and holidays.  I'm also not scared of blood, poo, urine or vomit...also spit/sputum skeeves me out.  So nursing could have been a good choice for me, but I chose something a bit more predictable.
5) A good chance of entrepreneurship.  Many coders have their own side businesses doing billing for offices who don't want to pay for an onsite biller.  Once I get a year or two of coding under my belt, I may consider that. 

My daughter is almost 16, and is a sophomore in high school.  She is getting college material in the mail.  She doesn't seem to be interested in looking at it yet.  I'm almost relieved.  I worry about her getting into debt and falling into a career before she's really ready to make a solid decision.  I was a pyschology major back in 1993, and I'm not at all interested in that now.  But those student loans persist, don't they? 
So what say you?   I believe that once women have children, they should be at home with their children.  I don't feel that way about women who are married without children, or women who have grown children.  But life sure is messy, and it can get in the way of our good intentions.  I never thought I'd end up with a child with autism, and that it would be my job that got him the insurance needed for his therapy.  I never thought my husband would become a truck driver halfway through our marriage, and leave for weeks at a time.  I never imagined that I could be responsible for an entire household myself, and possibly support Mr. R's mom too (more news on THAT later.)  How do you plan for the unexpected? 

Failure to plan, is planning to fail!

It makes me glad, that during these stressful times, that I *do* have a career that I can depend on, which feeds my family, pays my mortgage, puts gas in my car, and even allows fun stuff like a trip to the movies and getting my hair done.
Please, what say you?


♥ Shrinking Kenz ♥ said...

Hmm, I'm 30 years old, single and without kids. I spent my 20's working toward the career I wanted, and I'm not sure I can imagine what it's like to give that up to have a family.

Thankfully, I don't think I'd have to give it up to have a family, but I'm certainly no expert on this so who knows?

It sounds like you're under a lot of stress, but it also sounds like you're very strong. Best of luck to you..

Sarah R said...

Kenz, I was pregnant with my first when I was 19. So I never had to give up a career, I just didn't have one yet! lol
I just think I'm thinking out loud. About families, and children, and stress, and money. I love hearing from everyone about their experiences, too. Thanks for sharing with me!

Jennifer M. said...

Yeah unfortunately working is almost a necessity for most women these days. I know "women's lib" enabled us the "choice" to work, but I almost feel like now we don't usually have the choice to stay home! Either because of money or because other women look down on us if we stay home.

I agree w/ you - my dream job would be to stay at home full-time. Even as a 30-something, single woman with no kids, I can't stand working! Lol. It just feels so mind-numbingly dull... working away for 8 hours a day so someone else can get rich. Not my idea of a good time.

I hope you can at least go the entrepreneurial route. That would give you more flexibility and allow you to stay home with your kids more.

Kelly said...

I love that women have choices. All I ever wanted to do was get married and have babies. And so I did lol.

When we decided to home school, it was with the thought that I'd get a job after Allen graduated (which is next year). Although with my physical difficulties, getting a job doesn't seem realistic right now.

I loved being home with the boys. I'd love to be able to work in a couple years. I may try to do something part time, although that won't help much financially.

I am so thankful for Doug's job. It is a stinky schedule, but he makes good money and has good benefits. So nice after the very lean years. I'd rather have him home though.

I'm excited to see what you'll be doing Sarah :)

Sarah R said...

Jennifer, it seems to me (and pls correct me if I'm wrong) but that you don't like your present job very much, and that you're bored. I know you were talking about going back to school; is that still an option you're considering?
Kelly, I hear you as well. While I don't care for Mr. R's job, I love the money. I admit it. During this recession, we have not struggled that much. True, there are days (weeks) that it's been tight, maybe late on a few payments, but never without food, water, shelter or electricity. I too, would rather have my husband home with me, than have the money.
I think that is a great thing that feminism has brought about; that women DO have choices. That staying at home with babies is a valid option, and not something you do because you can't do anything else.
Kelly, if I were in your position, I think I'd be looking more into a home based business than a job. You have so many talents; cooking, don't you have a sister or sister in law who does coding and transcription? Those are all things you can do from home, and may not stress out your physical limitations so much.
Yes, I am glad we have choices!