Balancing Your Career and DH/DW/DP's Career? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-06-2008, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How to you all do this? How do you talk about and solve situations where you've got opportunities that conflict.

I had a great phone interview for a new job. I feel good about it and I feel pretty good about the chance of getting an offer. If I were to get an offer, it would be a great career move for me -- into an industry that actually fits my interest, huge career growth potential, tuition reimbursement for the program I'd like to take and a big ($18,000/year) raise with better benefits. We'd also have to move to a bigger city, about 250 miles away.

BUT. It's really a torpedo in DH's plans. He is working on going back to school to start a career as a Physician's Assistant. He just started classes here and finished a certification so he could start working in a clinic doing patient care (he's required to have a certain number of hours for his PA Application), and had planned on applying to our local program this year (he has a decent chance of being accepted, but it's not a sure thing) and apply nationally next year if he wasn't. If we move, he'd probably have to push things back and only apply to the program in our new city, which is harder for him to get into and more expensive.

Our eventual goal as a family is to have more kids -- which we can't do with me as the sole breadwinner -- and for DH to take the major responsibility of supporting us so that I can work part time or look at a second career. My current job is basically a long, slow slog to career nowhere. The benefits aren't great, I'm not being challenged, but I am considered a superstar at work. If we stay in this city, I've got a pretty limited slate of other opportunities to work with but staying where I am is kind of career suicide if I do it too long.

So yeah. We have a pretty obvious conflict here. Do I turn down something that is great for me and great for our family in the short term, but really bad for DH and our family in the long term? And how do we as a couple work through the decision in a way that we both feel good about the answer we've come to? I'm totally stressing out about this and it's ruining my weekend!

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Old 09-06-2008, 08:23 PM
 
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This is a really tough situation and I think it works differently in all cases.

If you really and truly want to step back and eventually SAH than I think you need to put your plans on-hold to support him. But if you think there is a chance that you might reverse rolls and have him be more of the primary care-taker than maybe you should pursue this opportunity for you.

Do you dislike your job in particular or working in general. I think that's an important thing to figure out?
What are the employment options for PAs? Is that something that could be done few days a week, like nursing or dermatology? Or would it need to be a full-time thing?

What the PA schooling and x-fer options in the new city? Lastly, believe it or not some employers if they really want you might be willing to help find work for your spouse.

For us, when DH knew me even as a college student there was no doubt that my career would take precedence. I married him because he said he'd be comfortable as a house-husband and I thought that sounded great. It hasn't worked out for him to be at home because he likes his salary but he definitely supports my career.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:26 PM
 
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Hi Belleweather!

We've done this type of negotiation a couple of times in our relationship, and it's HARD! So far I've always been the bigger breadwinner, but I agreed to a move backwards or at least side-ways for two years so my DH could go to grad school with hopes of having better career options. But I insisted that after he was done school he either be able to make enough that I could work part-time or be a SAHM, or that we move somewhere that I could move into a job I wanted (or go back to school myself). So now we're here with me working FT in a more fulfilling job, and DH working PT and PT SAHD. And still making ongoing plans together

I don't think that there are easy answers here- just lots of conversations about both family and individual goals, etc.

"Guess what? It's a magical world. And when I sing, my songs are in it."
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Old 09-07-2008, 01:46 AM
 
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all i can say is that that's a really tough situation. hugs. whichever you go, there is an upside.
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Old 09-07-2008, 08:07 AM
 
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we're facing similar decisions in the next year or so. i wish i had good answers.

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Old 09-07-2008, 08:28 AM
 
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Subscribing.

I'll chime in, if I may, as a SAHM with a former fabulous career that I loved, and eventually will want/need to return to.

It is hard! Just like everyone said, it is hard to have this discussion and implement it in real ways, unless each person is fully committed and each person has some built-in flexibility to their career (inherent flexibilty, I mean).

I actually talked to DH about this very thing YEARS before we had a baby! I did that because I knew, I just knew that it would be very difficult to juggle our two careers, due to inherent inflexibility and also due to DH's approach to life.

I also knew that if we remained a two career, two income family when we had kids that I'd basically be in charge of all things related to children's day care. And I really wasn't going to do that AND work my 40 plus hours.

So, we discussed...or rather I talked and talked and no solution was found. I'm a SAHM. I mostly enjoy it, but on at least one level (more really) I feel like it should have/could have worked out so that we could each have retained part of our career and each juggled parenting responsibilities a little more evenly.

Like I said, though, there are inherent inflexibilities so it's not all just on my husband's shoulders here. He was a bit of a jerk about it, but he also had some pretty difficult constraints to work within. So, I try to be understanding of that. It is what it is.

My advice would be, if you are really trying to transition your husband to the main breadwinner and you into a different career direction, then work on that. This other job might be a diversion from your intended path. But like another person said, there seems to be upsides to each decision. And that makes it tough. That's how it was with us. Since I made nearly as much as my DH, and liked my career, and could easily afford day care, there were upsides to continuing to work and upsides to being a SAHM. There was no clear answer and still isn't.
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:19 PM
 
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Ugh, we're having this problem as well. Not quite to the choosing point, but getting there.

I'm in school for my Associates in the vet tech field... I had a job offer a few days ago that would pay for a good chunk of college and I'd be making almost as much as DH is. I had to turn it down because I'm pregnant, but if I wasn't, what would we have done?

So, definately looking for advice for future problems like this.
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:38 PM
 
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That's a tough situation. Could the extra money you make offset the cost of your DH's more expensive school?
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Old 09-08-2008, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone. We're still working through the issue and have been talking about it all weekend. Sometimes we're totally on the same page and other times we're going through opposite swings at the same time. We've gone from "OMG, I can't possibly take this job, I'm going to ruin all our lives!!" to "Huh. Maybe we can make this work." I'm sure we'll go through "YES!" and back to "maybe..." before we're through. I'm starting to see the wild mood swings as a part of the process, which I think is important -- we're both trying to give everyone space to change their minds and develop their own fellings about things. Here's some of the stuff we talked about, in case it would be helpful for other people:

*Regardless of DH's career issues, I don't like my job and don't want to stay here for another 3.5 years. There are some changes possibly in the works to alleviate some of that, but no one knows how fast they're coming or what they're going to be. My organization is not exactly light and agile about change. I don't know if I can wait on-hold for possible future improvements in this situation.

*There are a lot of kinds of "second careers" I've thought about taking up, but almost all of them relate to and build on experiences that I am getting in my present line of work, so I need to keep moving forward career-wise.

*Both cities only have one PA program that is local. The difference is that the one here is easier to get into and DH could possibly start a next year rather than waiting a year to get additional pre-recs in.

*There is a good state college in New City where he can do his pre-recs very flexibly.

*If we moved, we'd stay in the New City a minimum of 18 months and a maximum of 3.5 years. If we stayed here, we'd stay for a minimum of 18 months and a maximum of 3.5 years. Neither of us believe that there are enough career options for me in the area to stay here indefinately, and I don't think we really want to.

*Moving again would be hard for the kids. We moved houses 18 months ago. We'd be looking at moving again 18 months after we landed in New City if DH didn't get into their local program. Is this the sort of thing that is going to buy a our kid's future therapist a BMW some day? How Traumatic IS it, really?

*New City is where my mom and sis live. So not only would they get more time and a closer relationship with the kidlets, but DH and I would get a little more freedom from having reliable, safe babysitters.

*New City has some way better schools than our current city does. They do not use Scary New Math, to which DH is vehemently opposed. This is a BIG selling point for him (aren't our priorities interesting sometimes?)

*We have recently added some new expenses (had to buy a new car, DH got a ticket, which raised insurance rates, my student loans are in repayment) Things are getting tight and another $18,000 a year would be very welcome.

*I can expect a raise at my current job of something like $3,000/year. I'm going to be behind the payscale as long as I remain here because I took the job at 22 weeks pregnant and bargained for maternity leave over salary increases.

*Moving to New City is likely to raise our housing costs by $300-$500 a month, which is a concern.

*If DH goes to work FT in a clinical position and completes his last pre-recs part time, his salary plus the $18,000 increase in my salary would double our household income and help us create a great cushion for when he is in school FT again.

*We'd be moving to a big city. We'd lose some walkability (which we value SO MUCH in our present neighborhood) and my big community garden, which I love almost more than life it's self. We really want to move to the country, and this feels like a step backward emotionally and that's hitting me really hard. I feel like we're never going to get where we want to go.

*I'm 30 and DH is 29. He already feels "behind the power curve" as far as getting his career started, so a delay of any kind hits HIM really hard emotionally.

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Old 09-08-2008, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh my god, I had no idea what I novel that was. I'm so sorry to be all "Too Long, Didn't Read" there!

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Old 09-09-2008, 05:43 AM
 
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I'd move on the assumption that your DH could get into the PA program in the new city. It just sounds like a better option overall, given both of your needs.
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