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Why am I not being used?

I have a bone to pick with modern society. You see, I spent five and a half good years of my life getting three degrees (yes, three!). I also have a beautiful son at home that brightens my whole life and who needs my care.

And here enters my bone.

WHY is it that in today’s society, you’re forced to choose between your career aspirations and your family? Most companies these days talk about a so-called work/life balance, but what they really mean is, “Give us at least forty of your best hours in one week and use the rest to spend some time doing whatever else you still have the energy for.”

Maybe I’m just a little pessimistic about all of this. Maybe some companies really are better than others about offering their employees the time and resources necessary to pursue goals outside of work. But the fact of the matter is that for you to be a valuable member of their workforce, you have to give over at least forty hours a week, and in their offices.

Now, I consider myself a fairly highly-educated individual. I’ve earned two undergraduate degrees and one Masters degree. I’d like to contribute to the working world using my skills that I’ve accumulated over the years. Why is it that, to do so, I have to give up all of my time with my son, instead handing him over to daycare and letting someone else raise him and see his first moments?

Please don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with women who want or need to go to work full-time and put their children in daycare. Everybody’s situation and goals are different, and everything works out fine in the end. But I, personally, want to be at home with my baby. I also want to show what I can do, professionally.

Perhaps I’m asking too much. This is most likely a case of I-want-to-have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too. But hear me out – don’t you think there are employers out there that could benefit from hard-working, valuable employees that work part-time and/or entirely from home? If they’re part-time workers, they wouldn’t even have to be given benefits.

James points out to me that most employers have time-sensitive projects and they can’t afford to have people working on them only half the time. But honestly, there have to got to be some projects that maybe can’t afford a full-time hire but could use an extra set of hands part of the time. Either way, I just feel like there’s a whole untapped pool of talent out there that gets overlooked simply because parents aren’t willing to give up all of their time with their children. And I’m part of that frustrated pool.

If I have to pick exclusively out of the two, I’ll most likely always pick my baby – but it’d be nice to know that my hard-earned degrees are being put to good use.

Just food for thought, I guess.

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8 responses »

  1. You are heard (and loved), dear.

    Reply
  2. Though I’m not a mother (yet!), I sympathize with your frustration. At least your little family is blessed that you CAN stay home with your baby, rather than being forced into working and letting someone else watch him grow up. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • It’s so true. And so I’m not necessarily complaining, just more venting my frustration at the inefficient use of a chunk of the population. But I’m thankful every day for this opportunity that I’ve been given to stay at home with Maciek!

      Reply
  3. One possibility is maybe…. self-employment? My mom is a super stay-at-home mom. She never for a second thought about going to work while my brother and I were little. Though as we grew up, She started having the itch to work, kind of like you. After all, yeah! You spent time and money for those degrees! Don’t wanna just see them gathering dust. So what my mom did was create her own translating service (since she had a minor in Spanish). This let her put her talents to good use, AND it let her work from home.

    Reply
    • Yeah, I’ve definitely thought about that. I’ve got some ideas in the works for what I could do at home, by myself. Getting people to pay you for that, though, is the hard part. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. Christine Julien

    Another possibility… move to Europe. πŸ™‚ At least it seems that people here are much more sensitive to these issues. I do have to say that my job, while I have to give, generally, MORE than 40 hours per week, is pretty flexible in WHICH hours I choose to give, and I often give a lot of them from my home. A job like mine is definitely not going to solve your problem, though… I totally envy people who get so much time with their kiddos. Though I have heard about academic institutions allowing faculty to do exactly what you’re suggesting… part time… on the tenure track: http://chronicle.com/article/Part-Timers-on-the-Tenure/44606.

    Reply
    • That’s pretty true. People generally are more sensitive to maternity leave, working mothers, etc. in Europe. I wish some of that attitude would rub off here. In the meantime, I’m coming up with ways to use my education on my own/from home.

      Reply

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