Friday, March 7, 2014

Women's Money Week: Traditional Careers and Jobs (Opting Out, That Is)

This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2014.

I said the other day that balance to me means having seasons in my life - a season of working, a season of raising kids, and another season of working - rather than doing everything all at the same time. I wish our cultural workplace was set up to be more understanding and accommodating of that, rather than insisting that women build our careers at the exact same time that we are most fertile and have the most energy for raising young children. But that's not the case, so I have to focus on what's best for my family - and when.

When Baby M is older and in school, I intend to go back to work. But I don't know what I'll be doing. My previous career is an option, I guess, but I think it's time for a change - I think I'll be looking for something outside the traditional white collar career path. I wish when I was in college that I had thought a little more about how I might want to structure my life, instead of what I might want my job title to be. After ten years of working in the corporate world, there are a couple things that make me rethink what I'll be doing in the future.

I was getting burnt out by a crucial aspect of my job title. I worked in book marketing for years, and I loved the "book" part of it, but the "marketing" part gave me pause. I have issues with marketing in general, and was getting very dissatisfied with new media marketing in particular - it might sound like fun to be on Twitter all day, but when you're doing it to market to people it feels like you're just contributing a lot of nothing to the world. I want to do something that matters.

I'm feeling a pull to look in other industries for employment. I have now spent a lot of time with people in medical and educational settings, and I feel like these two industries make a really big, tangible difference in peoples' lives. I want to make that kind of difference. I want to help. I want to make the world a better place on an individual level.

I want a little more control over my schedule. My previous life was a business-casual, 9-5 M-F, cubicle-dwelling one, with very little room for variation. Now that I've spent a portion of my adult life able to conduct personal business during the weekday, I will have a hard time giving that up. I want a variable schedule, maybe a part-time one. I want to go grocery shopping on a Tuesday morning to avoid the weekend masses. I want to schedule dentist appointments without taking PTO. I want to be able to meet the school bus, maybe, or start work after lunch, and I definitely want to be able to avoid rush hour. I don't want to be chained to a desk and a computer and a telephone to complete my work.

So far I've identified these criteria for my future work, but I still don't really know where it's pointing me. It would be nice if I didn't need to go back to school, and of course everyone wants a job where they can set their own schedule, work part time, do something they love, help people AND get paid big bucks. We'll see what I find when I'm ready to look - right now, my focus is at home, where it should be.

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