The choices we make about work

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by ctmom05, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    Yesterday I was part of a discussion about why we choose the jobs we have.

    I could feel the heat creeping up my neck as the other person vehemently disagreed with me.

    I have 2 jobs, both part-time. One gives me health benefits. The pay is modest and I like what I am doing. The second one offers a much better rate of pay, and a chance to exercise my passion.

    I put in a little over 40 hours per week total, which is a pretty standard schedule for most of us.

    The person I was talking to said that people who take on two jobs do it because they want more "stuff." My husband and I need two full time incomes to meet our regular household expenses.

    Her claim was that I forfeit something in the way of family values by taking on the second job. Here is where I am jumping on my soap box<teeth in clenched postion>.....

    Our youngest has clinically significant issues. For several years I just couldn't didn't matter how badly the $$ was needed. I am sure many of you know that drill all too well.

    Then I was able to work flexible part time hours, altho the focus was always on the homefront. Gradually, I was able to work full time; I just couldn't the right blend all in one place.

    We have a mortgage and one car payment, nothing extraordinary - no credit cards even.

    Yes, we bought a house after 26 years of renting, and yes, we have 2 cars, but it aggravated me that the other person in this discussion was saying "that's the STUFF I am talking about."

    We worked hard to get into this house and it gives us a measure of privacy that we had never had before. For 3 years I did a lot of walking, when our second car bit the dust.

    We may have made some material gains because of our work efforts, but my feeling is that they contribute to the sound philosophy of what a better lifestyle is for my family, not detract from it.
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    I think it is important we are doing something that makes us happy. If we are miserable, what are we teaching our children? If we can not ever do something nice with a little extra money, we teach our children how to live a life with no extras.

    I say go for it! You are not harming your family. There is only so much sacrifice anyone can do for their family. When it becomes all about them, it is not healthy.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    She is wrong. Many families need two incomes. Also, many women work without sacrificing what is in the best interest of the family.

    You make your choices based on what works for you. You can also be glad that you grew out of that period in your teens where you were the ONLY person who was right, didn't you??

  4. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    That makes me so mad when I encounter someone with that attitude! I HAD to work full time, even when my kids were little - went back to work when they were each six weeks old! And I didn't do it so I could get my nails done weekly or have a lot of luxuries. The "stuff" that my job provided was things like groceries, rent, and medical insurance! My ex always worked construction jobs that had no benefits at all. MY job provided the insurance for our family and helped keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. Even without the benefits, there was NO WAY we could have raised two kids decently on just what he made, and even with both of us working, it was a still a struggle.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    We are just starting to get back on our feet. Hubby was laid off in 2001...I wasn't working at the time. We decided he should finish college, so I went to work full-time, for the IRS, didn't much care for the job but it offered benefits, needed due to Miss KT's medications. Hubby graduated, went to work, he had benefits, I quit the IRS and went back to substitute teaching, which I love. Hubby changed jobs, it's a great job, he loves it, there's great potential for a long term benefits. So Miss KT is on Medi-Cal, which covers her medications and dr visits, and Hubby and I do our best not to get sick or injured. Except for a very brief period after Hubby and I got married, I have always worked. Miss KT's father never worked consistently...still doesn't. Child support...hah!
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    So, is this co-worker an uppity snob or just so inexperienced in life that he/she doesn't know what he/she doesn't know?

    People choose jobs/professions for many different reasons, I think. Someetimes it's to just pay the bills and put food on the table. Sometimes it is a particular ability or interest that they are drawn to.

    The coworker sounds judgemental to me- my skin would have been crawling, too!

    PS- So what is wrong with wanting to provide what you can for your family and being willing to work an honest job to do it? I'm a single working Mom and I know sometimes it has been at a cost to my difficult child in some ways (quality time, etc.) but I, like most of us, try to find the right balance. There is something to be said for showing our kids good ethics- like working- too.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    husband and I sacrificed ALOT so that I could be home with the kids. And believe me, it was a sacrifice 90 percent of the time.

    But even as a stay at home mom I wouldn't pass that sort of judgement on someone. No two circumstances are alike.

    Actually, I'd have enjoyed working once the kids were in school. But finding a sitter for Travis was next to impossible, add Nichole into the mix and it was impossible. And we couldn't afford Daycare.

    easy child and sister in law work. They are financially comfortable. I can't name a single luxury item they own. They found a way to make it work for them. Darrin is only in daycare 1 day a week, although his parents both work fulltime and easy child goes to school fulltime. The other days he has preschool, or Daddy watches him, and both grandmothers.

    It's too easy to look at someone's life from the outside to pass judgement. I think maybe someone is trying to make themselves feel better about the choices they made.

  8. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member


    I think you may have something there [maybe someone is trying to make themselves feel better about the choices they made]
  9. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    So if this Co-worker won the lottery, he/she would not take it??? Because they are so much better than that?
    Why don't they just crawl into a cave and live off of the land and keep their opinions to them-self?
    What one chooses to do and why is up to that person, NO-ONE knows what we do with our money or why... you could be a millionaire yet give most of it away to the needy... or you could hoard it, or you could sit in your apartment and buy ding-dongs with all of your coin...
    The fact is, is that it is YOUR choice and your money!!!
    We work how we want and try to be good people. We are lucky when we can work.
    If we are blessed with a difficult child and this person is not, then they truly have no room to speak.
    Money is so trivial... in the grand scheme of things you know? But some people just don't get it.
    husband and I are doing OK, and some people treat us like we have always been, walking around with cash falling out of our pockets... if only they knew...
    But you know some people are born with money, some are not. I suppose we should try to treat everyone with respect and dignity regardless, until they act like your co-worker!!!
    Some people are just jerks, whether rich or poor!!!
    I think you are doing the right thing... Work away, and spend it however you want!!!!
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    What business is it of hers anyway? If you don't both have a college degree and a high paying job by the time you are 27 you should give up on the American dream? A house and two cars for a family is hardly living large. Tell her to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and get her head back into the real world.

    She's just exercising class bigotry. God knows what she would have had to say to you if you're hispanic or black or otherwise not a wasp. Unless, of course, you aren't a wasp. Then by gum you really have no business thinking that the American Dream has anything to do with you!

    Bigotry is Dead! Long Live Tolerance!
  11. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Since I've been ill and unable to work, it's become very apparent that I am just not cut out to be a stay at home mom. I, personally, need more. That is in no way a judgment of all of the stay at home mom's out there. It's just that for me, personally, while I love my kids, I need something outside of that just for me. I've always wished that I didn't *have* to work full time - and that's still the case. Not while I have kids at home. The kids need you and it's too much for one person to be working 40-60 hours a week and taking care of the kids and the home, etc. You all know that.

    While I (when I'm better) have to work full time as the only source of income, I've always said that I would take 20 years off my life if I could get by working 30 hours a week.

    My point is, not everyone that works full time or two jobs does it because they want 'stuff'. It's not always even about paying the bills either. Sometimes it's about fulfilling a desire, a need or a passion. And there's nothing wrong with that.

    I'm with Lisa and Witz.
  12. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I'm with Witz on this. You don't answer to anyone. Different people need different things. A house is a prime investment that many elderly people can use to survive their later years. If you can own a home, it's more sensible than renting.

    I think being a stay at home mom is seriously underated. It's hard, repetitious work with little or no obvious reward.
    Working with children at home is stressful simply because how often you feel you need to be home with a child and how often when you are home with a child and you know you need to be at work. I worked outside my home, full time, then partime and then occasionally. We needed the benefits for a long time, husband was in grad school so I did the working.

    If you work and earn your money, how you choose to spend it isn't anyone's business. If she feels your family suffers from the lack of time imagine what she would think if you were unable to have a car to take care of visits for your children? They would go without a lot of what they need. Being without doesn't work so good either.

    Work if it makes you happy., Spend it any darn way you want after the mandatory budget obligations. Sometimes I wonder if people look for reasons to make others feel bad.
  13. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    My experience has been if someone feels a need to belittle others, it's because they are miserable/unhappy people themselves.

    I wouldn't put any stock into what she has said. Just let it roll off your back.

    At my last job, I worked with such a woman. OMG, she was toxic. My boss told me that no one had managed to last as long sharing an office with her as I had. I shared an office with her for 4 years. She never had anything good to say about anyone and was always very vocal about her opinions.

    My personal 'favorite' was her talk of illegitimate children (she was raising her grandchildren and the other grandparents family was apparently not up to her standards). I told her that my son was an 'illegitimate' child; that he was born before I was married. Then her unmarried daughter became pregnant and had a child. No more talk of illegitimate children. I have to say, I'm not a vindictive person, but it felt good for something like that to come back and bite her.

    People in glass houses and such....
  14. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Heather, I agree with you. Ideally, I wish I could have stayed at home with my kids at least the first year, but I didn't have much choice - I HAD to go right back to work. But I honestly don't think I was cut out to be a stay-at-home mom either. When the kids were little it would have been nice to be able to only work part time but I couldn't do that. Once they started school, I would have been bored to tears! Of course, I realize that if you have a difficult child or a child with other problems, it's a whole different picture.

    I'm not the "social type", I don't have family nearby or enter easily into close friendships with neighbors. My friends were (and still are) at work! I have a sister-in-law who is just the opposite. She's been married forty years now and has never worked outside the home. But give her a week in a new neighborhood and she knows everybody, they're visiting back and forth and swapping recipes. When her youngest child started school, she spent her spare time visiting, doing crafts, taking classes at the "Y", and redecorating her house once a month. This kind of life would have given me "brain rot"! The only way I would have attended a "Home Interiors" party would have been at gunpoint! And she ended up with a husband and three boys who all expected to be waited on hand and foot because that was "her job"! That's fine for her because she didn't mind it, actually kind of encouraged it, and was used to it but it certainly is not "me"! I liked knowing that I was contributing financially to the family and that I would be able to function independently and stand on my own two feet if I had to, which I ended up doing when I got divorced.

    Her husband (my brother) made twice what my ex made so they could afford for her to stay home, but back when our kids were little I used to take some subtle flack from her about working (like I had a choice!) ... like I was cheating my kids out of something. But I don't think it hurt them one bit! My kids didn't miss a thing! My every non-working minute was spent with them and they had my full attention. They were read to every night from infancy and both were reading and writing long before they started school. They went to excellent preschools and were academically ahead of the other kids when they started kindergarten. They weren't clingy or anxious, they were well socialized, they learned to get along with other kids and to behave themselves. We went to movies, the zoo, museums, even The Nutcracker ballet every Christmas, and they never missed a parade. They participated fully at school and we never missed a scout meeting, play rehersal, or parents day. Not easy but we did it. And they both did well in school and grew up to be decent, responsible, independent, self-reliant adults with a terrific work ethic. Not too shabby.

    You take the cards you are dealt, you do the very best you can, and you don't allow anyone else to make you feel guilty over the choices you make!
  15. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    That woman makes me mad too! Many people are working outside the home because they have to in order to make ends meet, not to get "stuff." Also, in my case, my mom went to work when I was 10 yrs old. I can tell you, she was a much happier person and started to stand up for herself (my dad would put her down) when she had some independence. I missed her being at home when I came home from school but the older I got the more I understood and of course by the time I was a teen I was glad she wasn't there when I came home, liked being by myself.

    Mostly, I see her as being a good role model for me--that I had a right to put myself first in my own life and that one's independence is an important thing! Also, I think it is important for a woman to know that she can take care of herself, she does not have to depend on a man for that.

    I work for 2 reasons: we need the money just to pay our bills and I need to be doing something constructive, out of the house, with other adults.

  16. judi

    judi Active Member

    The interesting thing is that, at least in my experience, it is the folks that are unhappy with their lives that seem to want to judge my life.
  17. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    People get stuff into thinking only their own way is the right way. My mother in law used to complain to me before I had kids- said "young people do not want to wait for things" Easy for HER to say- I was working 3 jobs, supporting her entirely, PLUS her ex husband and dhs sister and 2 kids. My husband was NOT working, I was a waitress, - we had one very old car, lived in the worst apatments in the entire chicago suburbs, had no tv, no stove....I was 30 years old. She said it to me becuz I had the audacity to want a child. And to do so, I might hafta reduce what I gave HER. Then I found out she had 3 cars! (she lived out of state) and she had a Duckie telephone, and 3 brand new TVs! (all paid for by me)

    Then she told me I was commiting sin becuz I worked Sundays. Nevermind SUndays were our busy day due to after church sunday brunch. Nevermind how many people I was single handedly supporting.

    When my first child was born, I did get to stop working briefly. I loved it, but alas, then my husband got sick.....and I had no choice. I wound up working 2 full time jobs ---to feed us, shelter us etc.
    By then mother in law and father in law had passed away.

    By then my sister decided to toss HER 2 cents in, and told me time and again how neglectful I was to work. I asked her how else she thought my children would have a bed to sleep in and food to eat?
    Ironically, 15 years later she became a mother- and while she is a stay at home mom, she ships HER kids off to all her in laws and friends for a week at a time, while she jet sets all over the country. Hm, when I was not at work, I spent EVERY moment WITH my kids.
    Hmm, now I am too disabled to work. My disability did not CARE we NEEDED my work income. Our life changed dramatically.

    Yeah, now I am a stay at home mom. And my mom, before she died, bless her heart- asked me how dare I subject my kids to me being disabled? Um..gee, I do not think I have any CHOICE?
    I am finding out that I miss working a LOT. I feel so isolated. SO unfulfilled. So broke. Bored some days.

    People do what they do, others judge people becuz maybe they do not have enough going on in their own life to keep them busy enough?

    There was a short time I worked and..UG! My paycheck was smaller than the deductions taken out for health insurance!
    There was also a time when childcare cost more than I made.
    There was a short time when me and husband worked different shifts, - dureing the short time he COULD work---annd WE never saw each other. I had people judge THAT decision, too. They said it was "bad for our marriage" is being hungry. or homeless. Or leaving young children home alone.
  18. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I think that it is such a personal decision. And that decision is based upon what you need in life. I have been lucky. As a teacher, I was able to have the best of both worlds. I worked when the kids were in school and was home when they were home. I did make sacrifices. I have been teaching for 21 years and do not have a masters. I have people make snide remarks about that all the time. But...again. My choice. Was I going to miss a dance recital or a boy scout meeting or a hockey game to attend a class to make more money....NOT!

    Recently husband and I have begun to talk about moving. Our dream may come true. If so, I will no longer teach. I'm unsure what I feel about that. So much of my identity is tied into what I do---sometimes I wonder if there is any more to me. We'll see.

    When the kids were younger, I worked because I "had" to. For years when husband was abusing, I was often the only stable income. Now...honestly, I do work for "stuff." But, hey...I like "stuff." I am not ostentacious. I don't live in a million dollar home or drive a big fancy car. But...I like nice things. I like giving others things they want/need. me whatever you want. But I am satisfied with who I am!
  19. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    I am curious if she works full time and if she has kids?
  20. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    It sounds like you have been talking to my aunt! She is extremely OVER opinionated and feels the need to insult you with her opinions. Her opinions are of the same when it comes to this exact issue. Though I have not had those assualts because I stay home with my kids, right now, she has expressed this to me on many occasions.

    Right after husband and I married, I quit my job, which was VERY good pay, but the job stunk,hours were worse, boss was psycho and I absolutely HATED my job. I would feel the dread come through my body every time I stepped through the doors.

    So, I quit my job and went back to school. I had decided at that point that I would go to school for something that I could probably try to do from home, eventually, but I didn't care at that point, I just wanted a change of careers. I took an enormous pay cut, when I went back to work, but I just didn't care. We bought a house that we knew we could afford on just his salary, because we both wanted to have kids and for me to stay home with them. I was extremely fortunate in this respect, because everything worked out exactly as I had planned. I worked for the docs office until I had Missy. Then after quitting, I offered to work from home to catch them up. 8 years later, one doctor left the practice and now I work for him solely, from home. I couldn't have asked for a better job, boss and pay for what I do.

    However, I know that my doctor is going to retire in a few years. I like what I do tremendously, but I don't want to do this forever. When Mighty Mouse goes to school in September, I plan to go back to school. I am not 100% decided on what exactly I want to do, though I have an idea. It will be something that I will enjoy and be lucrative at the same time. husband has benefits, so I don't have to worry about that right now. However, after discussing this with husband and he is completely on board with it, he actually would like to pursue something along the same line that I am considering and we could actually work together as partners in this venture.

    So, I have been fortunate that I have been able to do exactly as had been planned out, but others don't have that luxury. Obviously, she doesn't quite live in the real world. You do what you have to for your family. If working provides a home and stability, that's great. This person doesn't sound like she's a "friend", because if she was, she would realize how much you've done for your family over the years and that working is not just to provide the best environment possible for your family, but also gives you the satisfaction that you need.