Monday, April 14, 2014

On Going Back To Work

I stayed home for 8 years then this past fall I started a part-time job outside the home.

While the transition has been smooth and the job is going very well, it has still been a transition and a big change.

Most of the 8 years that I was home full-time, I also worked from home doing childcare, sewing, baking and some other odd jobs from time to time.

I am a homebody and I loved being home. I still love being home. I have never been bored at home. There is always something to do!

When I started looking for a job outside the home, we set some specific guidelines on what to look for.

1. Short commute. I didn't want to drive more than 20 minutes one way. Obviously, a shorter commute cuts down on gasoline costs and wear and tear on the car. It also saves a lot of time! My drive to work is 7-10 minutes and only uses about a gallon and a half of gas weekly. Another reason for a short commute is that while we are currently a 2-car family, in the event that we were to change back to one car, working close to home would make that situation a whole lot easier.

2. Part time. This is my frequently asked question! Why only part-time? Quick answer: I want my life back! Longer answer: I'm working because we need some extra money to supplement our income not because I have nothing to do at home. Currently, working 25 hours per week meets that need and allows me time to keep up with things at home, run errands and operate my Etsy shop. (Most days I feel like I work much harder at home than at work--LOL!) While we don't know what the future holds, our hope is that me working outside the home is more of a temporary situation than permanent.

In addition, working part-time outside the home brings in about the same income as when I was doing childcare at home for 50 hours a week. Seriously! Even though I'm not home as much, I have a lot more freedom and more concentrated time to work at home than before.

A part-time job is working really well for us right now!

3. Less responsibility. This sounds weird but hear me out. I've worked on my own for a long time. I'm an introvert and I do well by myself. However, we thought the best job would be one where I would be working with other people and assisting them rather than being in charge. My current position is a floater/substitute so I fill in and cover for other teachers as needed. I still have responsibility obviously, but I'm not doing all the planning, etc. When I leave work for the evening, I leave my job there. It's much easier for me to take time off as well.

4. W-2. Yes, on my list was a job that would provide me with a W-2!  With both of us being self-employed, tax time is a bit of a headache, not to mention that we haven't received much in the way of refunds for about 7 years. Even one W-2 will make it easier. 

5. Quality working environment. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education. I've worked in NAEYC accredited centers in the past. Once you do this, you really don't want to go back. NAEYC Accreditation means smaller child to teacher ratios, staying in ratio at all times, more experienced and educated staff, developmentally appropriate curriculum for young children and generally, just a better working environment. There are many quality centers that are not NAEYC accredited so obviously accreditation doesn't mean everything! Of the several job interviews I had, this center was the one with which I felt most comfortable and it is NAEYC too.

I'm still figuring out how to rightly balance work and home and get what is most important done. Obviously, there is simply no way I can do it all. I think I extend more grace to myself  in this area now that I am working outside the home than I did when home full-time, which is a good thing!

So, even though several years ago, I didn't see myself going back to work, I have and it's working very well for us at this time.


Katie said...

Dear Mary Ann,

It was great to read this update! :) I'm glad things are working out. I'll continue to pray for the Lord's direction regarding this. I think your criteria are very wise and realistic!

I haven't worked outside the home for 4 years now but I could have to at anytime. I'm praying for wisdom about this as well.

I'm always happy to see you posting in this place!

Have a blessed weekend as we celebrate our risen Saviour!

Blessings to you~

Melanie said...

I'll be praying for you in your decision, Mary Ann. I know there's a lot to consider.
I've worked many jobs throughout our marriage, thankfully they've just been part-time, and one of us has always been with Katie.
Take care. :-)