Friday, February 16, 2007


Our budget is tight. Like many, we aren't flush with cash that we can just blow on a regular basis. We live frugally and save where we can so we don't drain our savings more than necessary at the end of each month (we don't have cell phones. We don't have cable beyond the most limited basic which really only gives us network channels for reception. We don't have Tivo. We recently lowered the temp in our house to a frosty 65 to save on energy (natural gas costs are out of control!) Our cars are paid for and I've driven mine for 6 years and it has 110k miles on it. We don't go to restaurants or eat take out more than once a month or so. We rent movies instead of going to the theater. So, you know, frugal.) New, fledgling attorneys simply do not make wads of cash, despite what you might envision. Dow the road? We hope so - that's the plan. But now? Not so much. And so I've been getting twitchy about wanting to contribute to the family finances. I'm more than capable - I worked for years as a marketing manager and back in the day, earned a decent salary. But things are different now - we have a family, and family comes first.

Lately I've been keeping my eyes open for decent part-time job opportunities. There aren't many that come up. Not to mention, my "requirements" for taking a job are strict in that the position needs to be flexible enough to work around the fact that I have a family that I'm not willing to put into full-time daycare (hence part-time), but yet needs to pay decently to make it worth the a) hassle of juggling a job and a family and b) pay enough to cover any additional daycare/babysitting costs and still make enough to make a difference in the family budget. That must be a tall order because I'm not finding much.

The part-time jobs I DO see listed offer wages in the range of $9 - $13 per hour. These aren't the most "professional" level jobs, but more entry-level. And yet, that's what's offered for part-time. And frankly, that just simply isn't enough. After taxes and daycare I'd be working for essentially a few bucks per hour, and that's not worth it. It's better for me to stay home in that scenario. Don't get me wrong, I'm not so proud or ego-centric that I think I'm above working for those wages. I'm not. If push came to shove and I HAD to work to feed my kids, I'd take it and be happy. But the truth is, I don't have to work so I can be a little choosy. It's a nice place to be. 6 years ago, when I was working full-time, I earned in excess of what equated to $26/hr, plus full benefits and perks like a fully stocked kitchen and espresso machines at our disposal. Dinner provided 4 nights out of 5 for those who worked into the evening. Razor scooters to ride around on between the cubicles and a corporate concierge for other miscellaneous needs. Gotta love the dotcom heyday. But given where I've been you might begin to understand my frustration in my current situation.

I have a couple of applications out. Jobs that, at first blush, might work out if they were offered to me. Except my applications seem to be going into the big, black void of HR. The blackhole of resumes. Things go in, but nothing comes out. Not even an automatic, canned e-mail reply acknowledging receipt. It's very, very frustrating. I'm doing my due-diligence and following up a few days later, expressing my ongoing interest in the position, etc., but still....nothing. Is it me? Do I smell?

One of my apps was to my local YMCA. On sort of a lark I submitted my application to work as a substitute in the Child Watch. If I work just 1 shift per week (I think) then I get my membership (nearly) free (we're out of district, so I'd continue to pay the difference between an in-district and out-of-district membership), my paltry hourly wage (no kidding, $7.80/hr. almost minimum wage), and my kids can come with me to work. Plus I would receive discounts on the various programs for them, like swimming lessons. I figured I wouldn't be earning much, but rather saving in that we wouldn't be paying $75/mo for our membership anymore. And since I'm there nearly everyday anyway, why not get paid? That could make a small difference in our family budget, not having to pay for that membership and not pay as much for swimming lessons, etc. So I applied. I'm not crazy about the thought of babysitting kids for 4 hrs a pop, but I'm willing to give it a try. And I waited, and waited, and nothing. No call. The Big Black Void again. Am I not even qualified to change shitty diapers?? Have I been out of the workforce so long that I can't even get hired to do that? Really, I began to wonder and feel a little scared for my future. So I called and followed-up. LIke the professional I am. And finally, a response. I have an interview on Monday with the director. She still hasn't even seen my application, which makes me wonder just how disorganized they are, but she called me in response to my follow-up call to her. I don't want to get too cocky and ahead of myself, but I'm feeling pretty confident that I'll get the job. At this point, it may be the only thing I'm qualified to do: babysit kids. it's my life as it is, why not my profession? And maybe, if I'm hired, Mr. Chick and I can splurge and get a cell phone. Or curtains. Or a new light fixture in the kitchen. Or the cabinet hardware we want. You know, live a little larger. (ha!)

But mostly, I'm hoping to combine this very part-time job that will give me my membership for free with another more "professional" part-time job that will actually pay me something decent. THEN we can start talking about Tivo. Because that? Would truly be living high on the hog.

You crack me up.
I too have been "thinking" about getting back into the work force. Mainly because my husband is driving me crazy after being home night and day for THREE frickin' months. (I know, I should be grateful, but he IS driving me crazy)
These fleeting thoughts are put into check when I realize I still would have accounting and such to maintain for the business, a house to clean, kids, etc. We also like to travel and it's nice to go anytime instead of waiting for enough vacation time to accumulate if working for an employer. I just want to get out of the house!!!! That's all I want. Pay??? - it doesn't matter.
What I am looking into is applying at the school Faith will go to in the Fall. They hire teacher's aides/helpers to do tasks like copying, taking kids from point A to Point B, monitoring the lunchroom, recess, etc. I know the pay isn't fantastic, but not bad either (they pay by the day, not the hour), but the bonus is, when the kids are off from school, I would be too. No worrying about working hours, daycare, etc. Maybe that is something you can look into at Nick's school.
Just a thought....
Let us know what pans out at the interview. I'm quite sure you'll be able to handle the shitty diapers!!
At this point, it may be the only thing I'm qualified to do: babysit kids. it's my life as it is, why not my profession?

As a professional child care provider with a degree in early childhood education, I take total offense to this.
Having given birth to a child or two in no way makes you a professional in caring for children.
Perhaps you should reflect on what you write, because you come across as crude and offensive quite often.
anon, sorry if I offended you. I don't mean to disrespect the childcare professionals out there. This particular child watch center has been a lifesaver for me, so I have nothing but praise for the people who are called to this profession. In my case, it's just simply not my dream job. That's all I was trying to convey. I'm feeling frustrated that I'm having such difficulty finding a flexible, part-time job in my field, having not worked (for a paycheck) in about 6 years. I'm wanting to put my hard-won professional experience back to work is all, and this job doesn't do that for me. Does it make it a bad job? Not in the slightest. It's just not what I want to do with the rest of my life. Plus, it's not an accredited daycare/preschool program that requires the training of Early Childhood Education. It's an on-site babysitting service for parents while they workout. That's it. The people who staff the child watch are fellow parents, not trained professionals in the field like you. The goal of the child watch is to provide a safe place for children to play while their parents get some exercise, not deliver any form of curriculum or skill building programs. Just playing.

I completely understand the distinction and I'm sorry if I muddied the waters by not better explaining in my post. Mea culpa.
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