Thought-provoking workdays

In which I take a break from the long work days I’m been head-down in for the past couple of months for some reflection.

I have been working at the same place since I got out of college. (I did related internships all four years of college, too.) I’ve been there full-time for six years now, and I’m hoping that I can stick it out until the hubs and I have a kid. I have no desire to return to this workplace after that. (I’m sure this is not news to anyone who reads this.)

Separate from the obvious financial and social challenges this would bring, sometimes I get a bit uncomfortable with being so comfortable walking away. I’ve never thought of this as a long-term career — not from the beginning. I think that I am pretty good at my job, but very few parts of it are actually fulfilling. And I’m spending much more time on babysitting and working on projects that I can’t get excited about with coworkers who make those projects last longer than they should.

I’ve been day-dreaming of the brief return after maternity leave when I can give my notice and start dropping one project after another onto other people. (What?  In the past year, my job has changed significantly. I’m currently working on fifteen active projects.  This time two years ago, I was focusing on… two. Maybe three.)

But that makes me feel guilty. Sometimes I wonder if I should have been doing something differently in college or these early working years. Modern woman, and all that. I’m not saying that I’ll never work again after the kids arrive, but I hope not to until all the kids are in full-time elementary school, which adds up pretty quickly if we have more than one child.

A while ago, I watched this Ted talk on why we don’t have more women leaders. I found it fascinating. You should watch it. I’ll wait.

So, how do I stack up? Sitting at the table: I think I have made the most out of this job. I’ve continued to take on more projects and volunteer for opportunities. Due to the nature of my work and my particular office, there is very little movement I can make. And I think that I have done.

Make your partner a full partner: Pre-kids, we are already struggling with this a little bit. It is difficult for me not to take on more of the housework and maintenance because I am home all day, even though I work a full eight (or, recently 9-10) hours too. And it’s not that he doesn’t want to help or isn’t willing, we just haven’t found a good balance. Definitely something that we need to get better at before bringing childcare into the picture, whether I’m planning to stay home or not.

Don’t leave before you leave: I … don’t know. I haven’t seriously looked for another job since 2008, and I should have. So now I’m working with a job that isn’t that interesting or fulfilling, and most days the only challenge is keeping my temper. I’m certainly thinking of this last year or two as something to endure.  Pile up as much money as possible, maintain a work ethic I’m comfortable with, but walk away at the end of the day as much as possible. On the other side of things, I am not interested in making a new role for myself with my new company. So, I think that I’m coming out guilty on this front. A fact that I’m used to dismissing as the result of other people’s actions, and ignoring the effect of my own choices.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, and I think I’m starting to identify the preconceptions that are in play. I figured I’d come back to the blog with a glimpse of what’s been occupying me in my absence.


2 thoughts on “Thought-provoking workdays

  1. It’s taken me a while to get back to blogs… But this was definitely thought provoking. Today, I semi-ranted but mostly tried to explain to Bill why I have so many problems at work. Too many politics, inequality, and a tendancy to do what’s wrong simply because it’s easier. Like you, I’ve been leaving for a while now… And while I think it would be easy to get down on ourselves, you have to consider the fact that we’re not challenged or fulfilled in our current positions. It’s easy to say that women need to stay in the work force and men need to be equal partners at home, but that hardly takes into account who people are at their core. Do I think you or I would make a fantastic comapny leader? Absolutely! Should we fight to become leaders in an industry or company that we hate? Absolutely not!

    I agree with the speaker’s message. But I want our children (male or female) to believe they have the world at their fingertips and I will tell them how proud I am of them everyday. What I don’t want is my children to think that there is only ONE path of business and they have to settle for it.

    Some people are made for certain businesses, and others aren’t. And while I understand “not leaving until you’ve left,” I refuse to immerse myself in something that makes me angry and upset just to keep a female presence in the room. I believe that unlike men, women need to succeed in an arena that is relevant and interesting to them. In addition to the setbacks of maternity leave (as in extended time off) and glass ceilings, I think women are more focused on the bigger picture which is why we’re not as prevalent as leaders. And we all know the double standard of the confident business man versus the terse business witch. Sad but true…

    Sorry if I rambled… I think I just want to say that I know you are a great person and an awesome employee. I believe that you should be appreciated much more than you are, and actually HEARD. I’m sorry that you feel you’re not giving it your all, but sometimes the best we can do is get it done and be proud of ourselves for that.

  2. Yeah, you pretty much rock at your job… as lousy as it is. I could go on and on about this topic. BUT, I have to get ready for my return to work tomorrow after an all-too-brief maternity leave! So, check out this film, Miss Representation, (trailer: It’s fascinating. It’s not available on DVD yet but you may be able to find a screening near you somewhere. Or come up to the screening I’m planning in CT!

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