Funny how just as I'm standing on a proverbial cliff - about to take the "opt-out" plunge - (stepping back from 75% of a job down to 50% of a job) the Pew Research Center comes out with a study claiming that yes, in fact, everyone else does want to jump with me.
I've been at the same wonderful company for 10 years and I've been very lucky. I worked full time before kids. After the kids arrived, they gave me exceptionally generous maternity leaves, and allowed me to work part time - ranging from 20-30 hours/week during the last 7 years.
I always assumed that as the kids got older, I'd want to work more.
Alas, instead I ventured straight into another one of those parenting things that nobody tells you: as the kids get older - they need you MORE. (Or perhaps, as a parent, *you* need to be there more. I still have a hard time differentiating between who needs whom, sometimes.)
So, as my department was reorganized this spring and I had the chance to scale back and become half of a job in a job-share, I took it. It wasn't an easy decision. I had another job offer for another 30 hour/week job which would have kept me at my current schedule and income level. That was tempting.
But as of this morning, I am officially a 50% employee. Although I got a big promotion, I'll be making quite a bit less money due to my cutback in hours.
It feels somewhat against-the-grain to be stepping back just as my youngest is turning 5. (Luckily, he is a Sept birthday and won't start school until 2008 so I'll get one more year with him.)
However, I am glad to see that part-time work is finally getting some research. For the last 7 years, most of the media attention has been on the "working moms" vs. the "Stay at Home Moms." And oh, the vitriol that can pass between those two groups.
I've always wanted to yell, "Yoo Hoo - over here - there are a whole bunch of us who are 'at home' moms on Tuesday and Friday and 'working moms' on Monday and Wednesday." We never quite fit in any category, and we have trouble being judgmental of either side.
Although, there was that one day a few years ago where in the course of one afternoon I had one friend say to me, "I could never work like you do - how can you let someone else raise your kids?" and a few hours later, a co-worker said, "I could never abandon my career the way you did - don't you feel like you wasted your education?"
Proving, once and for all, that no matter what choice you make on the wide spectrum of working and mothering - *someone* will find fault with it.
As for me, I'm off to type half an email, write half of a press release, and design half of an event invitation this evening while my kids are sleeping. Maybe I'll plan half the menu for our client open house and write half of a proposal.
Oh? you don't think that's what they meant by a job share?