I’ve had my current job for just over two years. Some things have gone on that have made me question whether I belong there, and so I put out a few feelers regarding other opportunities. Lo and behold, one of them was offered to me.
Great, right? It’s a chance to do something new, a chance to get out of a work environment that has been rather problematic of late, a chance to get into a position with room for advancement, all sorts of good things. I accepted the conditional offer and, in the past few weeks, I’ve been waiting on the results of all the checking and cross-checking that goes along with this particular job.
Except in the past few weeks, it has also been laid heavily on my heart how very beneficial it would be for me to have flexibility for my family. My kids, while generally pretty healthy, are young enough to still need things during the day on occasion, and there are school programs and meetings that need my attention. With Brian’s current job, I’m the point person on kid issues, as once he’s out in the field, it’s much more challenging for him to get away than it is for me to do so. At my current job, I have some flexibility to take care of things, and I do have the ability to work from home if need be – for instance, if there are house issues that need attention, if the car goes kaflooey on me, if I’m sick. If I take the new job, I lose a lot of that flexibility, and I lose the ability to do any kind of work from home.
Additionally, we’re moving to a new office here in a couple of weeks. The new space is closer to my house, making my commute shorter (not that it was long to start with) and making it easier for me to get to my kids should something come up. The new job, on the other hand, would be farther away. Now, “farther” in terms of where we are is relative – there isn’t any part of town that’s going to give me the commute I had back in Dallas. But still.
Salary isn’t a determining factor. The new position would pay literally cents less per hour than my current job, not enough to even really factor in. The new job certainly sounds interesting, and I’m confident in my ability to do the work, so that isn’t a concern.
That loss of flexibility, however, is. I already wish for more ability to be there for my family without the overriding concern of being tied to someone else’s clock. How will it feel, how will it benefit any of us, to put myself in a situation where that concern is greater still?
I don’t fool myself into thinking I can ever become a full-time stay-at-home mom, nor do I want to. I’m not temperamentally suited to that, and I’m OK with needing to work to contribute to the family coffers. But I keep coming back…and back…and back to this idea of more flexibility.
God, is that you?
On her blog, Holley Gerth poses this question: For the God-sized Dreams series tomorrow: What part of your dream feels the riskiest? Have you ever had people misunderstand or disagree with your dream? What do you do when your dream is scary or when others don’t support you?
Brian said yesterday that that’s something I’ve been wishing for since he’s known me. I didn’t really realize it, but yeah, he’s right. So. Is this job opportunity something I should jump on, take it for now until something else opens up, or was the purpose of the interview to get me thinking and praying about what God might really have in mind for me? Had the background check process not taken as long as it has so far, had the final offer been made two weeks, three weeks ago, I’d have jumped on that offer and been long gone. Does that mean that all along, the intent was never for me to actually accept the position, but for it to wiggle and jiggle my brain and wait and pray until a different light started to dawn in my mind?
I could turn down the job offer. That’s a scary thought. Something could go wrong at my current job, and I could find myself unemployed in the blink of an eye. But I guess I’d be trusting God to provide in that situation, wouldn’t I? So why not trust Him to keep me where I am now, in a position where I’m learning skills that could translate into something that *does* allow more flexibility for family? Why jump ship at this point to a field that, as far as I know, won’t allow me to develop any skills that could translate to a flexible work environment? If God doesn’t call us to a dream without giving us the opportunity to develop the skill set for it, well, He’s certainly put me in a spot where I can build up skills that can help me get to where I feel like maybe I need to be. Why leave that now, just because there are some things about the current job that bug me? Nothing is perfect. Right?
What else is scary? The thought that any sort of opportunity that allows for flexibility is likely to be an independent contractor-type position, rather than an employee position. I’m likely to be in a situation where there’s not a guaranteed salary, but rather, income depends on volume of work. It’s likely there might not be benefits, or at least not many. That’s a bit unnerving to someone who’s spent her whole working life as an employee. But Brian has good benefits through his job, and I have to remember that our trust for provision is in the Lord Almighty, not in a paycheck, not in an employer, not in an insurance plan.
I haven’t really discussed this with many people outside of family. The ones I have discussed it with have all been pretty understanding. My former mother-in-law (who I still call Mom and who means the world to me) understands the desire to be able to do for family. When Thing One was younger, she asked if I’d considered going into teaching. I was a single mom at the time, and a teaching job would have made my schedule match up a lot more closely with my son’s. I didn’t feel at ALL called to teach, though (and quite frankly, I wouldn’t be very good at it), and I didn’t pursue that. But she knows how long I’ve wished to be not so much a prisoner of someone else’s schedule. Now, there are probably people out there who might think, “She went to all the effort to get a law degree and pass two bar exams, why not use that and go work for some firm and really make bank?” It’s not all about the money. Never has been. And the older I get, the less important the acquisition of things is becoming and the more important being able to invest in my family is becoming.
If my mother were alive, I’m not sure what she’d say. She was a teacher before my parents adopted me, and she retired from teaching to stay home with me full-time. She told me when I was older (college age, maybe?) that she wished she’d gone back into teaching when I reached school age. So maybe she’d tell me to go after what I really want and not worry about what other people think I “should” or “shouldn’t” do. I believe that was how she felt about her own situation.
Thankfully Brian supports me, whatever decision I come to. Others, maybe not so much. But I don’t have to live with them! LOL So, I’m praying, I’m seeking God’s will for the situation. Pray with me and for me? And then we’ll wait to see what comes next….