Balancing Corporate work with NFL? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 09-08-2006, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm a grad student in the life sciences who has decided to make a great leap (for my field) and go into industry consulting. I have given this a lot of thought, and although there are definite negatives, my main feeling is that if I have to work (and I do WANT to work, as I am not a very good SAHM), then I should do something I enjoy and be paid well for it. Consulting sounds like a very challenging and rewarding field to me. I also like the idea of travel, and truthfully, it would be nice to have nice clothes and shoes, and be able to afford to get my hair colored or nails done.

So, since I'm still in grad school and just starting my job hunt, I still have some soul searching time. What I want to know are the ways that you balance having a career in a corporate environment that places strong emphasis on appearance and obviously, money, with NFL? Do you feel like an outcast? Have you compromised some of your values?

I have been talking with a lot of people, and some people I know don't think I will enjoy this career. I think some of that comes from outdated information (when ds was younger, I thought I wanted to be a SAHM. Now that he is older, I realize that I need people in his life that can give him the stimulation and education he wants and needs. And that person is not me.) and part comes from the fact that I am pretty much a hippie. But I think there is an inner office manager wanting to get out. I love suits and nice shoes (when they are comfortable!), I like the office environment, I like being pressured to meet a deadline, etc.

Advice? TIA!

I'm off to a career fair! Wish me luck!
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#2 of 7 Old 09-08-2006, 03:04 PM
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they don't have to be separate. i have a 'corporate job' i pumped when ds was a baby and we nursed before and after work and all night long. you aren't as 'attached' as people who are with their kids 24 hours a day but it doesn't mean you don't have a great bond and relationship. you are even more excited to see your kid(s) by the end of the day and you are refreshed to change gears and focus on your kid and not focus on work. i don't know if i would be as refreshed if i were with ds all day long. (but i may take a break from working if i have another so maybe i'll find out)

the thing i find hard is cooking dinner at the end of the work day. feeding ds. feeding us. if you are cooking you aren't getting to spend the whole evening focused on your child. i usually cook and then the bedtime routine is the point where i get to give ds undivided attention. we have a looong bedtime routine.

i think it is fun too to dress for work and have nice clothes. work is a whole different dimension of my life and is for the most part very satisfying.

good luck
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#3 of 7 Old 09-08-2006, 03:40 PM
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I'm an office management type with an inner hippie waiting to get out.

But I've always been a little strange. I was in the military as a democrat also. (I so loved Gen. Wesley for prez - sniff!)

I don't feel like I've compromised values - but:

I love suits, heels and pantyhose but I don't shave my legs or underarms. I wear minimal make-up because I'm "supposed" to but I don't spend a lot on hair or nails (just like a MAN, I might say!)

I get paid well and have a lot of control over my work and travel schedule - nice. I often don't fit in with my particular corporate culture because I'm viewed as too aggressive or emphatic. C'est la vie - the same can be said for an awful lot of corporate women.

I also have an undergrad degree in biology and an MBA. I very much enjoy business with my science background. Not as uncommon as you might think and business (esp those in the sciences) LOVE hard scientists with good business sense. They are quite rare and can make good money. I say go for it!

PM me or post on the thread if you have more specific Qs.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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#4 of 7 Old 09-08-2006, 04:14 PM
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I'm in a corporate environment. Lots of deadlines and rushing around, and about 20% of the others in my field are women.

It helps big time to have a stay-at-home spouse!

Sometimes it can be frustrating in terms of having enough time to just relax and be a mom, but I also enjoy feeling competent at something else, and get a sick rush from multi-tasking. I think that it helps make me more flexible and tolerant as a human being. I don't have a detailed checklist of what I think makes someone else a 'good enough' parent for me to be friends with them or relate to them in some way.

I'm mostly always home for bedtime and weekends, although it can be unpredictable. When there's downtime I can duck out to attend my child's swim class or come in after a leisurely family breakfast. No one keeps track of how many holiday days I use, so long as I meet expectations in terms of overall productivity. I don't do so many of the schmoozy after work things because of my family, but there are enough other people in the same boat that I don't feel overly left out. One nice thing about a truly busy environment is that people are usually too engaged in what they're up to to notice who did or didn't come to happy hour on Friday.

I will say that I didn't start working in this environment until my child was preschool age, and that I'm grateful things were a bit slower prior (I was a full time student when I had her, then had a slightly lower key job for a year).
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#5 of 7 Old 09-17-2006, 02:45 PM
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I work in a similar field, but in an environment that is pretty low key (at a non-profit) - you might be surprised to find there are like minded people where you go! Fortunately, I work with mostly women so there is probably a higher likelyhood that some of them will understand the old hippie in me. (I wear suits to work, etc and use family cloth at home )

I found out the other day that my secretary CLW her 4 children and coslept Sometime I think as WOHMs we feel very marginalized, and then as NFL WOHMs there is even a smaller group, but it is wonderful to find coworkers who get you, even a little.
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#6 of 7 Old 09-17-2006, 06:58 PM
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You can make it work... the fact that you are entering your job search knowing what you love and how you want to balance your work with your family is a huge advantage.

I work flexible hours (7-3:15) so my husband drops our son off around 8 and I pick him up around 3:30. We have a family bed, we did child-led weaning, cloth diapers, etc.

Things I've found that help:

1. Finding a care provider you LOVE and that your child loves. We're really blessed in that aspect of our lives.
2. Cooking in advance (once a month cooking) - we try and have our freezer stuffed with meals we can defrost in the fridge and then just throw into the freezer or crock pot. When I'm home, I want to be with my family.
3. I have a boss that is amazingly understanding and flexible (and she doesn't have any kids!). For the past year, I needed to change my schedule so I could take our son to his weekly Easter Seals appointment at 3, which meant leaving work at 2:15. I just worked an extra 15 minutes the rest of the week to make up the hour I missed on Monday. She just didn't even bat an eye, and told me all these great stories about family members who've benefited from Easter Seals.
4. Simplify. We're really working hard at getting rid of the non-loved non-necessities in our lives. It just makes everything easier.

Best of luck, and I hope you find your dream job!
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#7 of 7 Old 09-20-2006, 11:20 AM
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I'm in the opposite situation from you so take this as you may. I've been thinking about this topic a lot ever since i've made the decision to stay home after #2 arrives. I don't consider myself hippie or crunchy, but we have co-slept, BF, CLW, EC, parttime cloth diaper, etc. I work for a midsize pharma company, in a very corporate environment. I'm at odds about my job sometimes for various reasons but that's another thread. There are lots of people here who I would consider crunchy, but I also have to be careful and weed out the folks I'd rather not share my parenting philosophy with because they are downright opinionated and not in a good way.
There's no reason why your crunchiness and suits can't co-exist. you should be able to define yourself as you see fit and surround yourself with likeminded people, or at least people who aren't judgemental of you. That goes for any situation, not just work. The way I see it, I don't have to have conversations with people who have been critical of me or my way of life. Life's too short to waste time on petty things.
Working in this environment hasn't changed my values. Opposite is true - i've built on them and i observe how others parent and i either discard or try to emulate. There's certainly a lot of variety - but you'll see a lot of mainstream parenting. I sometimes feel like an outcast within a certain group of people and i bite my tongue. But like I said there are likeminded folks and they are reluctant to come out for fear of being criticized. You just have to work at finding these people.
i hope this helps a bit - sorry for being a bit disjointed - in a hurry.
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