Monday, November 24, 2008

Looking for work

My mind has been a bit occupied in the past days by an interview I had today for a job. I am officially in the market for a job now and there is one place in particular where I think I might really like to work.

It amazes me how much difference a couple of months can make in my readiness to work. I had my last interview in August. That job was great in that it was located only two blocks from home and I knew the people were pretty flexible. I could pop home in the middle of the day or the babysitter could bring River over to me. But the 30% travel was extensive and I wasn’t willing to be away from River so much. Especially at the low pay offered. When they asked about my interest after the interview I said I was interested, but only if I could do it part-time (and with a higher salary). That didn’t work out.

In an ideal world, I’d still take a part-time job. But I’m at the point now where I want to do something interesting. I do want to travel some, especially now that our family budget doesn’t allow for frequent plane tickets. I’m also willing to work a bit more if it means that I’m continuing on with my career. I’m willing to accept full-time, though I’m looking for reasonable hours (no regular evenings or weekends) and I value vacation time more than a higher salary.

I am so grateful to my last employer for allowing me to work from home during my third trimester and giving me five months paid leave. As a result, it looks like I’ve been out of work just over six months, when really it’s been over a year since I’ve done anything of substance. So far, I don’t feel this small gap is affecting me in my job search. I’m hopeful I will be able to both spend my son’s first year with him and return to the workforce without much of a disadvantage.
It is my sincere hope that our society will move to a place where women (and men) return to work after childbirth at the time where they feel comfortable doing so, instead of when they feel pressured. Having a year of leave divided between parents as they see fit seems reasonable to me. Many countries offer much more.

How have others negotiated the return to work after childbirth? If you left your job, how difficult did you find it to return to the workforce?

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