Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What’s Next? (Workforce) Wednesday: What am I worth?

I have a long laundry list of things to do, including laundry. So long, in fact, that it makes me think I could never go back to work full-time because there is no way that everything could possibly be accomplished if I were working. Truthfully, I know that the reverse would probably occur. It is very possible that I would find ways to run my home more efficiently, encourage my kids to pull some of their share, and let go of some unnecessary tasks that I now feel are perfunctory. Just yesterday I was completely without pressure to do anything and so I did almost nothing between drop-off and pick-up.

I did do some things, obvi. There was some work for the 10 day pledge. I packed three lunches (including my husband's which only ever happens on Passover), made homemade butternut squash soup for myself and a neighbor with whom I am doing a soup swap, baked whole wheat bread, and made dinner (Pan-seared cod served on a bed of zucchini "spaghetti" topped with fine-chopped Israeli salad). All of that was actually way easier than it sounds, leaving me to "work the whiteboard" for summer planning. I don't actually use a whiteboard for this, but this is what my husband and I call summer camp planning it after a hilarious episode of Modern Family depicting the pains parents go through to effectively plan multiple camps for multiple kids. The problem I was that I got side-tracked and mostly worked Facebook, Instagram, and this blog. One pleasant distraction was a call from a dear friend who is my former adversary (in a professional sense--she represented the opposite side in all of my cases for the five years I worked part-time).

This friend-foe and I chose to leave our part-time, contracted positions at the same time. She, too, is thinking about starting to work, maybe even as my partner one day. She got a very flattering and tempting offer for a part-time job with fluctuating hours (not flexible, mind you, but fluctuating). The pay was...well, it was part-time public interest attorney pay. That's the life we chose for ourselves and so we know that we won't get rich. But the question for her and for me is, "at what point is it worth it to work?"

This begs the inherent other question--the big one: "What is my worth?" Is my worth defined by my fancy degrees from a fancy place? Is it defined by the social good that I could do? Is it defined by the money that my family would have to spend to replace me as housekeeper, nanny, cook, and chief homemade whole wheat bread baker? Is it defined by the money that I wouldn't be spending in Target if I were at work? I really don't know. Like so many stay-at-home-whatevers, I do know that my worth today will be defined by how much of this to-do list actually gets finished by 3:00~

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