S.S. asks from San Anselmo, CA on June 26, 2009
Am I Crazy to Even Think of Leaving of Leaving My Company?
So moms, I have a dilemma and just need insight. I know this will probably elicit all sorts of responses, but I'm wondering a few things....first, a little background. I have 2 boys, ages 3 and 15 months. They are generally healthy, but since my 3 year old started preschool, they've both gotten their fair share of colds this past year. And b/c they're both asthma-like kids (50% of the colds will move to their chest and need albuterol... and yes, we see a pulmonologist, allergist, and even and MD homeopath and acupuncturist, so we've got it all covered) they tend to be out for a longer period of time. I work for a great and well established Biotech company, and b/c my husband has his own company, the benefits fall on my plate... I must say, the benefits are phenomenal which is why I remain there. I've also recently been able to get my work week down to 3 x 8 hour shifts (24 hours a week) with pro-rated full benefits. However, this is certainly not a dream job for me as the commute is aweful, the work is technical (not my first choice) and most importantly, I've missed a ton of work in the last few months b/c the kids have been sick and I just can't leave a fevered child at home with a nanny. The mom in me won't allow me to do so. My boss has been completely understanding, but just today said that I'm dangerously close to an HR reprimand of sorts. I've become unreliable (as I call in the morning if I need to stay home) and the work gets shifted to another, already swamped colleague. I work in a lab, so I can't take it home. The worst is that when he said this, I almost didn't care b/c at this point in my career, I am more focused on family (duh), though 3 years ago, that wouldn't have been the case. I've never received a negative review in any job I've ever had, so I'm a bit upset, but the reality is that it is giving me the impetus to search for an alternative. In this market, however, am I crazy to think there are parallel opportunities that would match my needs? I would love to work closer to home (Marin) 3 days a week, 4 shorter days if necessary, or even better, a "work at home" opportunity AND still have great benefits, prorated, of course. Where would I even begin to look? I am so sad and frustrated, sleep deprived and nervous. I can't be fired or be that SAHM just yet b/c the family depends on me for benefits. Alternatively, for the just in case, can anyone recommend Personal Insurance Coverage for a family that is reasonable? Sorry this is so long...
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S.V. answers from San Francisco on June 27, 2009
First off, I completely understand where you are coming from. Let me start by saying we pay for our own benefits, $950 a month for THREE people, this includes complete coverage, including emergency care and a $35 co-pay. We use Anthem.
Now, I was in your shoes too, (even to the point of my husband having his own biz which is slow at this time)I worked at a brokerage firm for over 11 years and truly LOVED the firm, however my job was so stressful and I was VERY sleep deprived due to all the hours I put in.
My son (and only child) who is now seven got to see me in the mornings before I left for work and then early evenings. Albeit, weekend time was great. This is how it was from about birth to 6 yrs of age. Then one day I thought, WOW.. I am missing out on so much. My little boy is growing up so quickly, time is flying and here I am , stressed to the gills, always tired and truly not giving my son all the quality he deserved.
I thought long and hard and discussed it with my husband as to what our options where. WE, decided that ok, we could manage for some time without me wking and paying for OUR benefits, but would need to be frugal, we made a list of every last bill we had and fortunately, we have no credit card debit or car payments. We decided that for our son, I would stay home. Well, I have been home for 1 1/2 yrs now and I gotta tell ya, it's been GREAT... I mean, WOW was I missing out. I now have breakfast with him each morning, I get him ready for school (used to be the babysitter did all this for me) I pick him up, we do homework together, eat dinner and guess what, I am actually more rested than I have been in years which means, my son and I have more quality time together. Used to be I was always looking at the clock and figuring out , if I went to bed by this time, I'd get such and such hours of sleep. I was never focused on the now... You kids are even younger than mine is, so you too are missing out. I completely understand though that people DO need to work (I did too) and eventually still do, but taking this time off , even if it's meant cutting back on different things has been the BEST choice I ever made in my life. All those years I missed out with my son, those breakfasts, getting him ready, fixing his lunch... Think deeply about this, be sure you are being realistic about your finances and then make a decision. THing is, I truly believe that in your field, when you are ready to go back to work, there WILL be work. Life goes by so quickly, one day the kids are crawling , the next walking out the door..
I wish you the best in whatever you decide.
Stay strong :)
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A.G. answers from San Francisco on June 30, 2009
In all honestly, as hard as it is to not be home and as much as I can understand your desire to be home more, I think you really do have a pretty good situation in that your company is pretty flexible (within reason), you have the benefits and only have to work 24 hours a week. Most companies you would have to work 30+ hours to get full benefits, and most companies would not be so flexible for you. In this economy, I think it would be hard to find something comparable because people are so hard up to find a job that companies are not needing to be that flexible for new hires, so really the only way you are going to find that is if you are at a company you have been at for a while.
I think you might just have to step back and try to appreciate that you are getting to be home more than many other moms would have to to get that flexibility and benefits, and appreciate it on that level, and know that it will always be hard to be away form the kids, no matter how long you are away for, so although working 24 hours a week sucks, it is better than 30 or 40 and cutting own to 25 or something, it will still suck to be gone from them for that time..
Maybe just try to work out other options (having nanny cover sick shifts, etc) sometimes so that your boss doesn't feel like you are always so ready to just put work on the backburner. Just that might be enough to keep them happy but still allow you to be home when necessary.
I am struggling to find something with some of that flexibility myself - I have a good job but really need more flexibility and need medical coverage for the whole family rather than just me, so would love to have your situation :)
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A.H. answers from San Francisco on June 27, 2009
Well, I'm not in your field but I can tell you that I have been looking for work for 6 months now! My advice - Don't quit your job! If you only work 24 hours a week and have a nanny you should be able to job hunt on the side.
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W.H. answers from Stockton on June 27, 2009
This is what works for us; my husband works full-time during the day and I chose to work part-time in the evenings at Starbucks. They offer full benefits (medical, dental, & vision)for all who work only 20 hours per week! Our children are always with one of us. I know Starbucks does not pay anywhere near what you probably make but it's a fun job, you meet alot of different people, and the benefits are great. I think it would be a really good option for you to consider.
Let me know what you decide.
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J.L. answers from Fresno on June 30, 2009
You and your husband need to sit down and have a really good look at what you want for your family, what you need, and what you can accomplish. If the job you are at is hurting your family, then look for alternatives. If it isn't hurting your family, but helping in more ways than one, change your outlook and attitude about work. As moms, we all wish we could have more time - for whatever! But, the reality is that we have to juggle everything. You need to do what is best for your children, but don't forget about your relationship with your husband. What is he willing/able to do to pick up the slack if you do decide to leave your job?
I lost my job last December 18th. My husband quit his good paying, with benefits job that he hated to start his own business on December 22nd. Talk about life changes and cutting back! It's amazing what we can really live without when we have to. I'm happy to say, business is far exceeding our "best case scenario" expectations. I am working more hours, but have the flexibility of coming and going when the kids need me, or I have errands, or I need to be at the kids' school. We currently have Cal/COBRA, and while it is not ideal, it is medical coverage and it will work for now. Does your husband have employees? If he does, find out about a group health plan. Group health plans cannot deny you based on pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma or food allergies as our son has). Can you work for/with your husband? I don't know what kind of business he has, so that may or may not work. My background is Human Resources and Health and Safety and a whole lot of administrative work in between. Because I work in the office (less hours now) we dont have to hire an HR person and a Office Manager. It's me. There is a savings of 30-40k right there. Talk about it with your husband and see if this is an option.
I wish you the best. It's a hard decision, but one you can make as a family. Sometimes we have to be patient and wait for that window of opportunity to open. Just keep your eyes and ears open for something closer to home.
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J.M. answers from San Francisco on June 27, 2009
Don't quit your job until you have another one!!! Unemployment in our region is huge - the highest since 1941. My husband was laid off earlier this year from a pharmaceutical company and he was our benefits. He has a new job now, but it is long-term temporary so no benefits. Both of us are looking for any full time job with benefits. It has been a frustrating and stressful experience.
On the nanny note... a nanny should be able to take care of sick kids. Since you've managed to get your work down to three days, focus on the four days you get to be home. Put up with the three days at work because it enhances your quality of life and provides doctors for your kids.
As far as insurance goes, find a reputable insurance salesperson. There were so many different options and prices. Insurance carriers are getting quite picky about pre-existing conditions. If your husband is a Chamber of Commerce member, he might have access to better rates.
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G.B. answers from San Francisco on June 27, 2009
I am a stay at home, homeschool mom. I would be the last person to ever tell you to work instead of stay home with your kids.
However, we are in the midst of a harrowing time. We are rising to 10 % unemployment and it will most likely go UP next year. A report just came out that 15 states have now ran their unemployment benefits dry and will have to borrow from a government that is already broke itself. There is NO concrete money left in the social security coffers, because the government has borrowed it dry. 2010 will have it's share of distresses, contrary to what the media is reporting. We saw stocks fall and then homes forclose with the prime loans. We have more on the horizon: another wave of home forclosures in the spring of 2010, this time the sub prime loans. Commercial real estate will fall. The house just passed a bill for energy that will increase our energy costs considerably. So get ready for your PG and E to go up. Obama printed billions (possibly trillions) of dollars and dumped it into the economy- the direct result of that is we will have marked inflation. We will start to see the results of that in 2010-2012 with much higher costs for goods, including food. There are reports that gasoline will go up, and possibly double. Recently I saw an article that the san francisco (mayor?) was going to work on trying to get a law passed that would (make it even more expensive for businesses to survive in the area). Businesses have been leaving California by the thousands for years partly because of laws and TAXES that have been passed to make it very expensive for them to do business here. And for people that live here.....our cost of living is somewhere around 60% higher than in Idaho or Washington, 70 percent higher than in texas, just to name a few.
Many people think that it was the stock market crash that "was" the depression in 1929, when in reality, that just started the ball rolling. That had it's pain,(as ours did) but it was the years after that really hurt the country. Unemployment continued to rise. Another thing that REALLY hurt the country was when the foreign countries took their investments out of the dollar. Well, we have that happening now, as china and a couple of other countries anounced a couple weeks ago that they were moving their investments out of US dollar based investments.
Unemployment got up to around 24% during the depression, if I remember correctly. It took 10 years for the country to finally come out of that depression.
Almost half of my family and half of my freinds, are unemployed and can't find work. HALF of everyone I know. I called my aunt who lives hours away and she said half of her kids and/or their spouses were out of work. I think unemployment is much higher than they lead people to beleive.
So my advice to you is, if you can stick it out, try to find a way to do so. If you have debt, get it paid off as quickly as you can.
A great way to help ensure you are able to stay home and/or ride the comming storm is if you sell your home, take your home equity $$ and have no house payment by buying a home outright in another state.(That is currently what we are working on).
God bless you,
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C.C. answers from Fresno on June 26, 2009
I understand where you're coming from. I, too, would love to quit my job and stay home with the kids, but my family needs my salary and benefits to stay afloat. My kids are a bit older than yours, so I've had a bit longer to gain some perspective on this. Here's what I think. Sure, you'd love to stay home. Who wouldn't? What's not to love about having 60 more hours a week at home to be with your kids, cook, clean, putter around to your heart's content? But for most of us, unless we win the lottery, it just isn't going to happen. Stop pining away for it if it isn't going to happen for you.
If your job is as important to your family as you say (and if you have sickly kids, those health benefits are a matter of life and death), then you just have to buck up and give your work your all. No, it's not fun; that's why they call it WORK! =)
My husband and I talked it over and we came to the agreement that not only was our nanny completely capable of taking care of a sick child, she was probably better at it than either of us (she was a mom of 7, grandmother of 15). Neither kid was ever worse for the wear because I went to work and left them in the loving care of the nanny.
In the event that a sick child needed to go to the doctor, we'd alternate who took off from work to attend the appointment. Why does it always have to be Mommy who throws her career under the bus? Dads are perfectly capable of pitching in, and THEY OWE IT TO US - if we're going to have to work full-time, they need to step up and be an equal-time parent. To do otherwise means they aren't showing respect for your contribution to the family. (My husband was quite surprised when I came to this conclusion, but ultimately he agreed.) As an aside, I think my husband actually became much more relaxed in our marriage and as a dad once I became more career-focused. I think he felt very guilty that he wasn't doing enough or making enough money so I could stay home - once it became a non-issue for me, he became so much happier.
The long and the short of it is this. You may have envisioned a different life. But the reality is what it is, and if you need the money and/or benefits, then you owe it to yourself to stop feeling guilty and do your level best at work. It doesn't do you any good to mope about how much you hate work. And once you get into the groove of feeling PROUD of your job and what you're doing to contribute to your family, you will feel SO MUCH BETTER about life! If you're proud of your work, your kids will admire you for it.
That being said, can you look for a different job? Sure. It's smart to keep your ear to the ground and stay on top of what's out there. Maybe you can work something out where you work from home every so often, or find a type of work you prefer more than what you're doing now. Just don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good. There is no perfect job once you're a mom. Anything you do is worse than staying home, let's face it!
Good luck to you. Like I said, sister, I feel your pain!! Hang in there.