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Going back FT?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi Mommas! As with other important decisions, I turn to you and ask for your words of wisdom.

In a nutshell, I am thinking of going back FT in the legal field. It is partly because we could really use the money to get out of debt (student loans) and partly because I am at a point career-wise where I feel that I am stagnating and could do more with my skills.

Here's the situation: I have been working PT for the last 6 1/2 years. That means that I have now been working PT longer than FT as a lawyer. It was truly ideal for the first 3 years. I was able to make my own hours and really only worked about 15 hours a week for a prosecutor's office doing appellate work. That meant that I could do a lot of it at home at the computer. The downside: the work was not terribly challenging, there was no upward mobility and the pay was, and still is, terrible. I didn't care, however, since we decided to have another baby, DD2, and I enjoyed doing all the mommy things I didn't have time for when working FT. DH was working FT and was the primary bread winner at the time.

Well, fast forward to now. We moved and expanded our family with the addition of DS1. My kiddos are 8,5,1. My DH started a new job a year and a half ago at a very entry level salary, hence, finances are tight... usually, leading to stress, stress and more stress. My flexible job changed when the "new administration" came into office two years ago. That means more micro management of the case loads, more hours and the same exact pay (no benefits either when you are PT) The overall attitude of supervisors is, if you don't like it, then leave.

To supplement our increasing family and financial needs, I started teaching as an adjunct professor one class a semester. Now, however, I am teaching 3-4 classes per semester at three different law schools and unviersities. That's basically a full class load for a FT professor in some places. On top of that, I still have the extra case load at the prosecutor's office. I also have a small home practice doing real estate closings that I started 2 years ago. To top it off, I went back to school, PT, to get a Masters in Public Administration. I did this thinking it may help either secure a FT teaching position or help me get a better job in the public sector.

The bottom line is that I am tired. We could use the income to pay off some debt and I know that I could increase my salary and do this if I went back to work FT. Part of me thinks that it is the right thing to do....suck it up, go to one place (instead of running around to five locations) and do it for a couple of years until DH is better situated with work. The other part of me hates the idea of being stuck to a 9-5 schedule and not having the flexibility I have now to be with the kids. I feel that the baby will really be missing out. At least now I can still make up many of my hours and be able to get the kids to school, pre-school and their activities. The pace of this schedule, however, is really wearing me down. It's a lot of running, running, running. I feel like I live in the car and that I am doing a half-baked job at both parenting and work. Also, I am kind of over doing the mommy group things and don't find any of that stuff stimulating anymore. I know that I can do more meaningful work, but at what cost?

SO, if you have managed to read this far in the post, thank you. If you have any thoughts or ideas, or even experiences you would like to share, have at it. I am mulling all of this over and trying to decide what is the best thing to do for the family at this time.

Thanks!

Libby
post #2 of 6
I don't know about adjunct pay in your area, but around me it's pretty low and it would take 4 or 5 courses to make a reasonable paycheck (though probably not worth it for the amount of time teaching that much would take). Using that math as my starting point, I have to imagine you'd make better money working full-time in one place.

Is the home business something you enjoy doing? I could almost see working a 9-5 job and maintaining that as something to have when/if you left the regular full-time job.

In any case, your list makes my head swim. I can't imagine juggling all of that with 3 kids. Even though it gives you flexible hours, I have to think that your sleep and other aspects of quality of life suffer from all the running around.
post #3 of 6
I'm with the PP on the head swimming thing, it sounds to me like going FT you'd end up working a lot less than you do now, and make more money? What's the down side? You say a lack of flexibility... but I'm sure right now you just work around the clock. Would you have evenings and weekends free if you were FT?
post #4 of 6
Just reading your post made me tired! I personally would hate working at all of those different places for different bosses with different rules. I do work an 8-5 kind of job but in an entirely different industry (IT management) and I've got some flexibility and good benefits. I'm not volunteering in my kids classroom on a weekly basis, but I can arrange to see assemblies during the day (Black History month and the Shakespeare festival coming up) and to pick kid up early if needed for drs appointments or snow days. I just work it into my schedule.

If you go full-time you'll need to rely on other people for a lot of what you are doing. Car pooling for activities or having your partner take over some of what you do. Is that a possibility?

I don't know about law but a lot of people in office work are NOT tied to their desks and the office for 9-5 ESPECIALLY if you are in management at a flexibile company. We also have options for "alternate schedules like 7am-3 pm or 4-10 hour days or something like that. Just wanted to throw that out as a possibility. I've been working a schedule that gives me a half-day every OTHER Friday and it's great. Not so demanding that I'm exhausted (like 4 -10s) but enough time to plan all my errands (drs, haircuts, dentists, shopping) for one afternoon and not be so fried all the time.
post #5 of 6
ita w/everyone. adjunct work is nice, but it doesn't pay well. I am surprised that a JD doesn't qualify you to work FT as an instructor? you have to drop something somewhere. i
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you mamas for the perspective. You are right, something has to give. Right now I have committed to teaching this semester but the summer is off limits and, if I don't have a FT job by the fall, I am going to limit it to maybe one class. Again, thanks for acting as a sounding board.

Libby
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