Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Thinking out loud

I love my job. Really!

It's often stressful. Occasionally tedious. But mostly it pushes me and makes me want to learn more and become even better at what I do. I am able to meld my love of science and my need for creativity. The really cool thing is that part of what I do is so unique that I'm only one of a few people in the country (maybe the world) that has the knowledge and ability to do it. (Yes, I'm being intentionally vague, sorry.) 

I'm incredibly lucky to do something I'm passionate about that still allows me the flexibility to be home with the kids when they need me. I'm home to get Noah on the bus and then back home to get him off in the afternoon.

I'm allowed tons of flexibility if I need it and have a boss that not only respects me but that I know values me and trusts me.

I doubt I'd have a problem getting another job where I make a shit load more money, but I can't imagine I could find one that is as flexible or understanding as where I am now. Or where I would have the resources that I have now or the amazing people that I work with. Or is only ten minutes away from where I live.

I'm also lucky that I rarely have to travel. Occasionally I have to go to DC for an FDA meeting or drive to see one of our local clients. I've flown in and out of Chicago in a day a couple times. There are two or three international conferences a year that I could go to, but because of the kids I have chosen not to (the last one was in Athens, Greece - that was hard to turn down). While my boss would like me to go to some of these, she understands that 1) I don't like to be away from the boys for more than a day or two, and 2) when I am away it creates a scheduling nightmare for Rich because of Noah's school schedule and his work schedule. And 3) parenting Noah is stressful and exhausting with two of us, with just one of us for more than a couple days it is beyond tough. The few times one of us has had to go away we usually have to get a baby sitter, which of course costs money. For just a day or two its doable, but beyond that... Well, lets just say the budget is tight right now, in large part because of Noah's therapy and doctor bills.

Today my boss told me there is a week long training program she wants me to go to this summer in Minnesota. It would definitely be useful for what I do and would significantly increase my knowledge in this area.

But, to be gone for a week would be a logistical nightmare for Rich. And would be intensely stressful. And would cost us several hundred dollars in babysitting fees, when we are already paying for summer camp at that time for Noah and daycare for Kiel.

And more importantly, I really don't think I could be away from Kiel for that long. I don't even know how to explain it, but he and I are so connected that I think I would be just as miserable as he would be to be apart like that.

So missing my kids aside, if theoretically doing something like this is going to cost me close to half of what my take home pay is for the week, does it make sense?

I know my boss can ask me to go and that the company has no responsibility to help me with baby sitting expenses. I'm sure I could also say that I can't go, although that wouldn't be the most prudent thing to do for my career.

I guess I'm just thinking out loud here. Feel free to throw out any ideas you might have on how to figure this out so it doesn't end up costing us money, and more importantly, Rich isn't put through hell for a week.

Just remember we have no family that can help out and unless things change in the next six months, Noah doesn't have friends that are local that he could spend time with either.



  1. since you're asking, I'm just going to toss a few thoughts out there.

    Since your boss knows about your scheduling preferences (& has worked around them in the past, it seems) and still asks you to go, you probably need to figure out how to go.

    With several months to settle logistics, you can probably find a creative solution. I'm assuming your husband can't go with you so it will cost you extra.

    What about getting someone who the kids are comfortable with to go with you (either friends/family or a teacher's aide/babysitter/nanny that the kids know). Then you can bring at least 1 kid along. If you know of no one, find someone now who is willing to travel with you this summer & have them start spending time with the kid(s) each week -by summer they will be used to each other.

    Best case scenario, you rent a vacation house or condo (usually cheaper than a hotel) in Minnesota that is large enough to hold you, a sitter for when you are at conference & at lease 1 child. You see them at night, you can cook for the child instead of going out & can also give the sitter a break.

    Yep, this will cost you some coin but if it keeps the boss happy, it might be worthwhile. If your boss wants you to go badly enough, will they help with the extra $ for an extra person?

  2. I'm with ArtSnark - sounds to me like spending a couple of thousand to have a family holiday with some work for you as well could well be a go.

    Can you get work to subsidise the house or condo to the amount it would cost them for a hotel room for you?

  3. ArtSnark - I totally agree with you. This is definitely something I need to do. Not to mention the training will be very useful. Your idea is a good one, definitely worth looking into.

    Ozz - worth looking into as well. I'm not sure how much of a vacation Rich would consider that, but not a bad idea.