Monday, February 08, 2010

Now, where did I put those goals...

I woke up this morning and realized that I have been feeling uninspired about my career. This struck me as odd because I really like my job, the field I work in and the company I work for. I don’t leap for joy in the morning on workdays but I certainly look forward to my work week.

So, what’s the problem? The problem is that I used to have a very specific career goal. I wanted to be an arts administrator, specifically a GM for a small to medium sized arts organization.

Some life experience later and that’s no longer my goal. But I forgot to pick up a new goal. And then Project Baby came along and has really thrown a wrench into things. It took longer to successfully conceive than I thought it would so career planning got pushed to the back burner for longer than I anticipated. My company offered me a wonderful training opportunity that I had to turn down because I wasn’t sure I would be able to complete it. I can’t move up where I am but mat leave prevents me from pursuing other opportunities in the near future. Then you have to factor in the possible second child which then raises costs of child care and whether or not it’s really economically sensible for me to go back to work.

I know this stuff may seem ridiculous to worry about now but I function better with some long-range planning.

So, here I am on a gloomy February afternoon feeling the full weight of the uncertainty of my future. And if you know me, you know that nothing makes me more unhappy than uncertainty.

How can I have career goals when a family will likely derail any plans I make? Will I keep working if we have a second child? Is it crazy to worry about these things when I haven’t even birthed one child yet? Am I cut out to be a stay-at-home mom to any number of children? Will I start to resent work taking time away from my family? Is it possible to find challenging, stimulating part-time work? Does being in a position of authority at work really matter to me?

The sun better come out soon or I might lose myself in all these worries.


Deb said...

I think the biggest thing right now is to not close any doors.

If you go on mat-leave with your first, I think it will give you a good idea as to whether you'd ever want to be a stay at home mom. Some people think it's what they want and discover otherwise. And vice versa.

The financial part isn't as cut and dry as daycare costs versus take home income. There's also the fact that being out of the workforce for however many years means giving up all those years of job opportunities, promotions, and raises.

Don't get me wrong. I think for some people being a stay at home parent is the perfect choice. If I were you, I'd leave the door open to it, but I'd also keep the door open to all the career possibilities.

Sterling Lynch said...

These sound like good questions to ask.

Perhaps, you can try some secret experiments. Maybe for a week or two, say to yourself and no one else, "I'm going to be a stay home mom and have x kids." Try it out for a while. See how it feels. Then try out the other options. E.g. " I want to have two kids and work at job x." etc. Give yourself moments of certainty to see if it's a certainty you will like.

I often do this with my own plans. I take them for a little test drive. See how they feel. If they feel good, I say them out loud to people. If they still feel good, I pursue them. If, at some point, they cease to feel good, I change my mind and try something else.

Lady Rose said...

Alright Sterling, I will take your advice and try test driving my options. And yours too Deb! Leaving doors open is something I can do!

Mostly I will try not to freak out that I don't have a concrete plan for the next 5 years...

I think a little pre-natal yoga is in order.