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#1 of 24 Old 01-06-2003, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought I'd start a new WOHM thread.


How have you changed your worklife to balance work and family life?

Me I changed jobs with to one with a more predictable shedule, but with less chance for career advancement. I also simply do not take on as many projects.
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#2 of 24 Old 01-06-2003, 05:46 PM
 
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Great idea!

Hmmm...let's see. I've shifted my hours a bit: go into the office later, go home earlier, squeeze work in at home if necessary and when I'm able.

I've also naturally become more ambivalent about my work. I've found it much easier to "leave it at the office", especially since I'm forced to much of the time. What doesn't get done, sometimes just doesn't get done!
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#3 of 24 Old 01-06-2003, 06:06 PM
 
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I definitely want to be on this thread to learn from you all!

I just started back to work at a 4 day a week schedule (off Wednesdays). I switched to this job about two years ago from a much more work-intensive and travel-intensive job because I was tired of the pressure, and knew I'd be starting a family soon. Even at 32 hours a week (plus 30-45 minutes commute each way) it feels like too much!

I love my job but wish it were more flexible. My organization (an environmental conservation non-profit) has a policy *against* telecommuting, and no comp time. Work done after hours, at home, or on weekends doesn't count. Grrrr.

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#4 of 24 Old 01-06-2003, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What is it with the flexible hours thing. At my company which as been voted best for working woman and best workplace year after year is still very slow aobut flex time. It is especially bad ironically in the department with woman directors. These are like I survived with out it you will to. Shoot I would only like to work 9 x 9. I use the day off everyother week to run errands and clean, so that when I was home with my son it would be time for him.
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#5 of 24 Old 01-06-2003, 06:18 PM
 
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With me, the flextime is very informal - there is no formal policy, nor do I count on there being one any time soon. I have lucked out with an understanding manager.....that happens to be 2,500 miles away...he he he. :
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#6 of 24 Old 01-06-2003, 06:27 PM
 
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I changed my work life drastically when my 2nd child was 15 mos old. i was working at a bank, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to do the things that my kids wanted to do. my older child who was then 4, wanted to do ballet and gymnastics. she could do neither because both were offered only in the afternoon. my bank was taken over by the feds on a friday afternoon not long after and i gave my notice monday morning. i stayed home for 10 months and then went to nursing school.

I now work sat & sun, 7a-7p in an emergency room. when i worked in the ICU for 7 years, should something come up, it was very very hard to leave. not that my kids or husband werent important, but that type of job just doesnt allow for me to leave at the drop of a hat. now working in the ER, i can leave and have left at the drop of the hat. the only thing that suffers is that non critical patients have to wait longer. the really sick ones *always* get immediate attention. working on the weekends pays me more, and my kids can play soccer, go to the movies, go to the library, etc because i am home all week. my hope is to continue on to grad school (i am currently pursuing my BSN) so i can become a nurse practitioner, and DH can be a sahd. the man has worked his butt off to give me and the kids a good life, and i am only to happy to give him a much needed break!

the weekends give me great balance. yes, i am away from dh , and he from me all week, but with good sex, early morning coffee and bubble baths, we are doing fine. and the respect and admiration he gives me...mmmm what a guy!

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#7 of 24 Old 01-06-2003, 06:37 PM
 
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I most definitely have effected my career for my family. I changed companies and careers when I first started TTC so that I could work "office" hours. However it took me over 7 years to have my son so in that time I really started a great new career. I was really cruising "up the ladder" when I finally got pregnant. Since that time I have turned down 2 promotions even though we could really use the $$. I just couldn't see putting in the extra hours that would be needed. I really enjoy what I do and I get a lot of personal satisfaction from my job but I know that I will never be able to get this time back with my son and I really want to be there as much as possible. My goal is to a part time WOHM or WAHM by the time he is in first grade so that I can be home after school. I am keeping my fingers crossed that my company will get more progressive and eventually have positions like that available.

All of these decisions were very difficult for me since I have always been fiercely goal oriented, independent and like having control of my own finances. Being dependent on someone else just plain makes me nervous! But I know what I am doing is good for my husband (who is so supportive) and for my son. I also hope that some kind of career will be available to me later on in life.

God knows, however, that some days I feel like I am failing at both, my career and motherhood no matter how much I try to balance. And days when I just want to quit my job and (guiltily) days when I just want to get to the office! It is so good to read and hear about all you other WOHM’s at Mothering. My little slice of sanity! Thank you!

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#8 of 24 Old 01-06-2003, 07:31 PM
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Yeah, I don't know what it is about female higher-ups, but I also had a bad experience with the one female partner (who has 4 kids) at my former firm. As for altering what I do, I'm now in academe, with a much lighter schedule, rather than in litigation. I no longer get to work before 7am. I no longer remain late, even when I'm on a roll with writing. I'll wait and continue after dd goes to bed, or before she wakes up in the morning.
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#9 of 24 Old 01-08-2003, 09:01 PM
 
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I have made the choice to do my best to balance work and family rather than put everything I have into my career. Last summer I finished a prestigious judicial clerkship, and I made the decision to accept a position at a small law firm where I hope I can have more flexibility. The trade off is sacraficing money and possibly better future career options. My fellow clerks are now at large law firms making $30,000 per year more than I am, while I only got a modest raise from highly underpaid government work. The hours are long, but probably not as bad as at a larger firm. It was a tough decision because the extra money would have meant that my dh could just be a SAHD rather than needing to work at least part time. But then I basicially would have never seen my daughter, which made my decision for me.
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#10 of 24 Old 01-09-2003, 12:16 AM
 
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I went from regularly working 9+ hours a day (with a 15-minute lunch, often at my desk) to working a pretty strict 8 hours a day and taking a full hour break in the middle to nurse DD and chat with DH when they come to visit. My staff and my boss have made this possible--they've been very supportive--though I've also had to rethink some priorities at work and spend less time on less important tasks (including unsubscribing to some forums that I viewed as long-term professional development). I also stopped taking on side projects.
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#11 of 24 Old 01-09-2003, 01:12 AM
 
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I used to work FT, went to 30 hours w/ my first. Now I'm down to 24 hours a week (3 day schedule) after my second. I've been with this company for almost 9 years, done a very good job for them, and have been rewarded with a fairly flexible schedule. I can switch my days off if needed. In return, I come in if needed, etc., but generally stick to my 24 hours. My boss even let me keep my exempt/managerial position. So, my salary has been prorated.

They have a great mom's room for pumping w/ a hospital grade pump, and I have successfully worked and pumped/continued nursing for over 3 years now!

I used to put my all into my job. Now, it's a job, and I do what's necessary to do a good job end of story. I rarely take anything home, and never think about it once I leave. My biggest beef isn't the lack of flexibility, rather my desire for something more meaningful. I feel like I contribute nothing to society-- I'm in finance, and work for a $300 billion company. As if all the rich shareholders REALLY needed more money!!

Tara
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#12 of 24 Old 01-09-2003, 02:45 PM
 
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Since returning to work FT after my mat leave, I am a totally different employee. I used to regularly work 1-4 hours extra everyday (with no extra pay - because I'm a salaried employee), and I would work weekends and go out of town for meetings and training all the time. I was always at work early and left late. Working through my lunch was expected. I was always doing work that was above and beyond my posistion's expectations. When I got pg with ds I slowed down a bit (my dr asked me to stop working OT). Since returning, I've decided that there is no need to do all that extra work - especially since no one ever seemed to notice!! I now go to work a little early (I like to be there before anyone else gets in) and NEVER stay late - in fact, if I work through my lunch I leave early. I dare my program manager to say something to me!!! (He hasn't yet!) I always get my work done on time, and meet all my deadlines. I do ask for many days off, here and there. He always rolls his eyes. I usually just ignore him, but last month I got sick of it and asked him if he thought my work was suffering because I have to take a day off with ds now and again (holidays I HAVE earned) and he said "no" and hasn't bugged me since. I have also stopped asking for days off and started telling him I'm taking them.
I leave my work at work!! I just really don't care enough anymore!! I don't want to be working, but my dh has been unemployed since Nov01. There was nothing I could do about it!! Dh has just found work again this month. YAY!! I hope to be pg again soon and then I get to be a SAHM!! I can't wait for the day!!

Christine
mom to Nikolai ag (Aug-01)
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#13 of 24 Old 01-09-2003, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to all that have responded. I have been thinking a lot about work life balance and one of the things I would love to see happen is that everyone slowed down a bit. I think americans (that is what I know) work to hard and loose touch with are family, friends and ourselves. Someone I knew who immigrated to the united states from Iran said that the good life in america mean working 7 days a week. Our productivity is high because each of us do the work of two people. The mommy track would not exist if dads, men and woman slowed down a bit too.
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#14 of 24 Old 01-09-2003, 03:26 PM
 
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I left a much higher paid corporate job for an academic position. I have a little more flexibility with hours and a lot more vacation and comp time. What's hard for me is that to climb the academic ladder, it's beneficial to attend a lot of conferences (that you mostly pay for yourself ) and present a lot of papers. I find the out of town travel extremely difficult with little ones, but I've managed to do OK with some judicious local activity and the occasional trip.

I should get tenure next year. One thing I don't miss is the constant background of corporate layoffs, which sometimes just sucked the life out of me in previous positions, even if I wasn't affected. It is just rotten to work in a place where the axe is always over everyone's heads. I love my job. My older dd loves to come to the university and run around the campus.
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#15 of 24 Old 01-09-2003, 04:20 PM
 
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I moved to part time work. I was a regular 40 hour a week person. Now I do 27 (3 days at 9 hours) and I stay with my dd (5.5 months) on the other days. I just couldn't do the SAHM thing. I was going nuts. However, my job situation is bad with my current boss (female, 42, no kids, just got married) and I am looking for a new job. I talked to another person at my work place this week and when I told him about my current part time, he saw NO REASON to change it.

Why are men better at understanding this than women?


EFmom: I am actually at a conference right now. It is tough, but when dh and I both go, we pick and choose what talks to go to and then the other stays with dd.


Foo
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#16 of 24 Old 01-09-2003, 04:50 PM
 
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Foobar (love that name!),

Would that I could take dh with me! That would solve many problems, but he's a public school teacher and can't take any time off other than the school vacations. For some sad reason, the conferences that I should go to never coinicide with his vacations. The hard thing for us in terms of me being out of town, is that he has to be in front of a class at 7:15am, and his school is a 40 minute drive from where we live. Our daycare provider, understandably enough, isn't crazy about taking the kids at 6:30. I normally bring them later, before I go to work.

The good thing about his job is that he's home to pick them up by about 3pm! And he's home all those school vacations and we won't even talk about how jealous I get when he's home all summer!

I know what you mean about women bosses. My experience is that single, non-mother bosses can be the absolute worst.
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#17 of 24 Old 01-09-2003, 07:38 PM
 
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Well, my DH has been laid off 3 times in a little over a year, and is currently unemployed, so I'm really feeling the brunt of being the breadwinner. Yes, I love my job, but I love my dd and dh more. My job is very demanding, and became even more demanding today when they handed me 3 more international clinical projects. But, they were so good to me during my pregnancy and maternity leave, that I feel obligated to take on new projects and do a wonderful job. I usually put in 50+ hours per week, but they are flexible and allow me to work from home if necessary.

So, I guess I don't balance it well. And, I completely agree that men are more understanding than women. My boss ( a male) is really great about doctor's appointments, sick days, etc.

Amanda
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#18 of 24 Old 01-10-2003, 12:54 AM
 
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I took a 20% pay cut and went down to a 80% employee. Now I work 4 days/week, in a school district, so I actually only work 158 days/yr. DH made a major change last year after dd was born and we realized she was going to have a medically busy period during the initial two years of life, and quit his high paying job to work as a teacher. He now makes about half of what he used to, but his children know him, I have immense respect for his ability to set his priorities as he has. It's hard, he's in graduate school for the second year and has one more year to go, but soooo very worth it. When he finishes grad school, I hope to go down to three days/week. Just two more years!

Leah (Mama to Liam, 3.5 yrs, and Emma 1.5 yrs)
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#19 of 24 Old 02-20-2003, 05:13 PM
 
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bump

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#20 of 24 Old 03-03-2003, 05:04 PM
 
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Well as someone who wanted to be a tv news producer, I think making the switch to teaching way back when is my biggest change. I know that I couldn't do those hours with a child. I respect anyone who can.

SInce I teach, I feel that it is the best of both worlds--I have to work full time, but I get summers and two breaks off that let me recharge and spend time with family. DH is a teacher too, and summers are very precious to us.

Within this career, I have changed a lot--I no longer stay till 5 pm working in my room. I leave at my designated 2:45 time and if I have to grade or plan, I do it after dd is asleep. I am not the perfect teacher I once was, but am ok with that now. Family is more important, period.
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#21 of 24 Old 03-04-2003, 11:49 PM
 
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I've been back at work FT for two months now after being on leave with dd#2. The first month was HORRIBLE...my group was going through a reorg, so my responsibilities changed, I had a new boss, who was in the middle of selling a house out of state, so he was telecommuting for a month, and no one in the group seemed to know very much about what was going on. So not only did I have to be away from my baby, but I had to sit on my hands all day. It's gotten better--the job I do have is less demanding than before I went on leave, and the work is actually something I am more or less interested in, and can learn from. Best part is I am across the street from the day care center, so I can go nurse the baby every day at lunch. Also, the pumping facilities are great! So I would be giving up a lot if I changed jobs.

My heart is not in what I do, anymore, but we can't afford for me to stay home, and I'm not entirely sure that I would want to 24x7. As HollyBearsMom said, sometimes I feel like I am failing both at home and at work, but other days it works out okay. I just try to look for the other days.

On the subject of woman bosses, I've been about 50% lucky--my last direct boss was a single woman, who was really terrific. She was genuinely happy for me when I told her I was pg. On the other hand, when I told her boss, my vp, who is married with a grown daughter, that I was pg, her comment was "oh, and I take it this is good news?" I've never forgotten that comment, and have never entirely trusted this woman since then.
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#22 of 24 Old 03-05-2003, 02:26 AM
 
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I just recently cut my hours to 12 a week. I lost benefits because of it, but my dh and i decided that my paycheck now will pay for our benefits.

And because of my hours being cut i'm at the mercy of my employer to give me what ever shifts she feels she needs me. Which include every other weekend. LOL, it's worth it though, I don't care what they do to me at work, as long as i get to be with my little man more.

I'm scared for us financially because dh is self employed contractor, but you know...there are some things in life we can't control. Just hope for the best
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#23 of 24 Old 03-05-2003, 03:59 PM
 
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Yes, I bunch up my hours so I can teach all at once (thanks to my dept chair for arranging that!) and work at night and on weekends when dd is asleep.
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#24 of 24 Old 03-06-2003, 02:23 PM
 
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I work my 8-hours and then go home.. no more overtime (I used to take on LOTS of extra projects)

Consequently I am no longer tapped for high-profile or plum projects like I used to be..

And I am definitely mommy tracked.. no management opportunities for me.. and I used to be heading there.

I am still valued for what I do, though.. and my bosses.. both women and men.. are generally very supportive. I still pump for 10 month old ds at work and that's no problem..

Do I miss my more high-powered career.. well sometimes my ego misses being a "rising star.."

But I am much happier having more time for my husband and son.
And my life has become less stressful along with my work.
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