Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: To Work or Not to Work

Last week, I was really bored. I became fascinated with the idea of working once again. I thought, wouldn't life be grand if I had a job and if it was on the same base that D's job will be on and we could ride together and then maybe he wouldn't complain about spending an hour a day driving back and forth to work. Because I would be there, and who could possibly complain about spending an extra hour a day confined in a car with me??
So, on Thursday, I turned in an application packet at HRO. Let me tell you one of the biggest downfalls of being a military spouse stationed overseas. Job opportunities. Basically the only thing at HRO that I was remotely interested in (and only, as I announced at my job interview, as a last resort) was working in the youth programs... youth center or child development center. I opted for the CDC because the youth center hours are a little weird since youth are at school during the day. The CDC is like a day care--for the younger, non-school-age children. So I interviewed on Monday and they've been in touch with my references, who have filled me in on how those phone calls went. (Always list references who will serve as your spies. Always.) According to my references, I will most certainly be offered the job.
But now I'm not sure that I want it....which brings me to my list of Thirteen.

1. - I am a teacher. I like many things about  being a teacher...poems & drawings delivered to my desk daily, going to meetings with other teachers, rearranging my classroom, seeing a child who came in to 1st grade knowing how to read  "that cat is fat" leave 1st grade reading like a maniac, kid handwriting (if kid handwriting and inventive spelling do not make your heart melt, then I'm pretty sure you're not human). But I won't lie. I also love three VIPs (very important perks) of being a teacher: Spring Break, Summer Break, Christmas Break. The CDC doesn't get those.

2. - That whole carpooling to work with my husband thing....yeah....that wouldn't work! Because the place has kooky hours. Not really kooky, I suppose...not like 3rd shift or anything...but hours that wouldn't really mesh well with the hours that D will be working. If there were an hour or two leeway either way, the one who had to wait could go to the gym etc. But 4 hours a day at the gym? Not for me. There are 3 shifts, something like 6-12, 9-4 and 12-6. David would be working probably 7-4, so you see how only one shift would work in my carpooling plan.

3. + If I could get in on that 9-4 shift and should the stars align just so so that it would be the one I always work, then carpooling would work AND I'd get a lot of knitting done in the car. Always important to consider how your job will positively effect your hobbies.

4. + Before my interview, I was sent to observe in one of the 3-5 year old rooms, where little Shannon came up to me and asked if I liked her hair bows. When I said yes, she hugged me, kissed my cheek and said, "I love you and you are my best friend." That was after 15 minutes of being in the room. Imagine all the love if I worked there every day!

5. - I know you're not supposed to ask in a job interview how much vacation time you would get, so I didn't. But one of the interviewers did bring it up...... he mentioned that other than a doctor's appointment or something, no leave is granted during your first 3 months. And after that, they send around a binder and you request your leave time in the order in which you were hired. So, I'd be last.

6. - More on the vacation time thing-- The way D and I look at it, we are here overseas, possibly only for 3 more years. There's a chance we could go somewhere else in Europe or the Pacific after this, but there's also a chance we could end up in Ohio or Florida or North Dakota or New Mexico. We just don't know. So there's sort of a sense of urgency in being here...this could be our last hurrah overseas. We never know. So we want to do and see the places that are tops on our list (perhaps next Thursday's Thirteen?) while we have the opportunity. It would be much easier to do that if we're only juggling around one person's leave schedule.

7. - I'm noticing that vacation time is really an issue for me! People might want to come and visit us while we're here, and say D is going to be at work during the week, I could entertain our visitors locally, trips to London, Cambridge, and other little day trips in the local area. On the weekend we could do a further out trip, like Oxford or the Cotswolds or Canterbury or something. But would I want to use all of my leave days to go to London & Cambridge? No.

8. - Last point (I think) about the time off... Sometimes at work, D will get a "goal day" or "family day" off. So, for instance, the day after Thanksgiving, Superbowl Monday, perhaps the Friday before Memorial Day. That gives us a nice long weekend during which we could do some traveling. But on goal days, the day care is still open. So if I still had to work, we'd be wasting a long weekend opportunity for a little road trip.

9. + Money, money, money. But also - because, really, it's not that much! It would be nice to contribute with a supplemental income...but if we could put a dollar amount on the missed travel opportunities, I seriously doubt that the amount I'd make at the day care (starting out for the first 2 months with a "guaranteed 0-20 hours a week") would come close.  Even so, we typically bank all that I make and since I've not been working, the savings account hasn't been as exciting to watch as it used to be!

10. - Because the scheduling isn't regular, there may be conflicts with my Girl Scout volunteering, and I like working with the Girl Scouts! I asked at my interview and they didn't seem at all supportive. I got the old, "if we worked around your schedule, then we'd have to work around everyone else's if they said they had something they wanted to do," speech. And then they asked, "how long are you committed to that?" Which kind of threw me...the military culture really promotes volunteerism...all I would need for Girl Scouts is one day a week that I'm either not put on the schedule or put on the earliest shift.

11. - It's not really what I want to do. We're fortunate to be in a position where I don't HAVE to take a last resort job. I know my husband has a stable job and his company isn't shutting down anytime soon. We live well within our means and have a responsible savings plan. So, if I want to hold out for a teaching job, even if I won't ever get one until we get back to the states, I have that luxury.

12. - It's not really what I want to do, and it wouldn't have an impact on my future. If I were offered a teaching job, I would snap it up in a heartbeat. Even if it was teaching 4th grade or 5th grade when what I really want to teach is 2nd, 1st or 3rd. But it would get me in the system and perhaps I could slide into another grade the next year. It would count toward my years of experience and bump me up on the pay scale and also count toward my years to retirement. (I'm pretty sure in Indiana, your eligibility for retirement is determined by the sum of your age and your years of teaching). The day care center wouldn't benefit me in any of those ways. 

13. + It's not permanent. I could take the job, see if the schedule works out for me, etc. and if it doesn't, I could leave the position. I don't LOVE quitting jobs, but I've done it before...and I have a feeling that a lot of people do quit this particular job. I've heard from a lot of people that they quit after a few months. Most recently, I spoke to a woman who shattered that record...she quit after one day!

So, that's 4 positive points and 9 negative points. I'm sure you can see where I'm leaning...
One other point to make, though, is that when I was in Okinawa, I thought I would NEVER get a job on base. Immediately after accepting a low-paying, long-commute, not-recognized-as-experience-for-pay-or-retirement-purposes job at a school off base, the phone calls started rolling in from the on-base schools. So maybe I need to accept this job so I'll get offered the one I really want?? My dad says "it's easier to get a job when you have a job."

13 comments:

Kristen said...

You seem to be almost convinced not to take the job. You can only go with what your gut tells you. Good luck in your decision!

Sarah said...

I substitute teach daily at the same school site as my kids attend and my husband works. Since I have to work I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. BUT I can tell you there is hardly time for much else. I dont take the days off I had planned to for volunteering, etc. and now we rely on the extra income. Hold out as long as you can, but at least if/ when you need to return to work it sounds like you have a good place to go. Thanks for stopping by my site!

Alice Audrey said...

Doesn't sound to me like you want this job. Why not leave it to someone who feels they need it?

That business about using your references as spies - brilliant!

SusieH said...

As someone in a similar situation, I vote for the "take only the prefect job" option. Yes, those kids at the CDC are nine kinds of wonderful, but the points you raise about the flexibility arereally valid. if you don't HAVE to work at this point, being available when David is, or when family/friends come, to travel, is something you may only have once in this military lifetime!

Like you, I do volunteer work...I chair the committee that runs my daughter's old preschool, and I am also a key spouse for our squadron. A LOT of what I do, esp. as a chair, is very applicable to future employment situations so I am, in a way, keeping that resume fresh. I also get the perk of occasionally helping out at the preschool when they need an exra body, and oooooh do I love spending time with the little ones :)

GO with your heart...

Irishcoda said...

It does seem like the negatives outweigh the positives and by more than half!

I am Harriet said...

I can relate to the car pooling thing.

Happy Thursday!
http://iamharriet.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-would-like-to-re-assure-my-friends.html

52 Faces said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Oy, I would love to not work, but when I was unemployed during the recession last year I went stir crazy - ended up applying to graduate school (that's a whole other weird mess).

Maybe I need to cut my hours...

Andi said...

I was recently faced with a similar choice of whether to take a job I didn't wholeheartedly want. I didn't. Go with your heart.

Shelley Munro said...

It seems to me that you're leaning toward "no". I'm with Kirsten. Go with your gut instinct.

Andy said...

It doesn't sound like it would be a very positive experience. I'm really bummed about the reaction/response you got to the Girl Scout stuff...

Heather said...

I would love not to have to work, but being single do not have that option. Since it doesn't sound like you really want this job, I think you should take a pass and enjoy life as it is. Have a great weekend, and thanks for visiting!

Dogeared said...

I think if you don't have to take the job in order to pay the bills, then don't - the flexibility and time off will affect your life here, as you said - how likely are you both to live in England again? So you want to enjoy the time here and see as much as you can of it - you've both already proved that in the short time you've been here.

I say go with your heart!

jillconyers said...

I know...Interviewing 101...don't ask about vacations. But I always want to :)

Good luck with your decision

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