Tuesday, August 30, 2011

midlife crisis and the beginnings of a handcrafted life plan

The late night I spent blogging about my work dilemma was the peak of the discontent I've been feeling for a couple of months. I didn't really put a name to it until I had lunch with a coworker last week. She used the term 'midlife crisis', something I had previously dismissed as old bald guys buying flashy red sports cars or taking up with much younger women.

But, as it turns out, it's a perfect explanation for the ick that's been ailing me lately.  I've been reading a TON of personal productivity books (my chosen version of self-help, I guess) and don't even really know what I've been looking for in them.  Maybe the magic solution on how to squeeze more time out of my days, be less tired, and DO... what?  I don't know exactly.

And therein lies the problem.  I don't have a focused set of goals.  I really like my job but I'm not climbing the ladder.  It's not going to lead me to riches, though it's certainly keeping us comfortable and well fed. 

I obviously want to be the best mama I can possibly be and am actively working on it, so that's something.  But the house is messy and disorganized, I'm still heavier than I need to be, and we spend a lot of money on stuff that doesn't matter.

One of my new coworkers is extremely goal-oriented in his personal life (specifically we've been discussing financial goals, but he's thought about all areas of his life).  I'm intrigued by this, and the project management side of me knows that if I can articulate my goals, I will have no trouble figuring out the steps to achieve them.  TJ and I have talked about this briefly but are way too busy right now to really sit down and figure out our "life goals".  But I put the bug in his ear, so we're both ruminating on it in a background process.

We have some breathing room now, as BabyT turns 2 very soon.  She is delightful, sleeps through the night, can tell us what she needs (mostly), so I have time (and energy!) to think about what I want out of life.

So I took care of the first thing on my list today to make progress on handcrafting a life plan for myself.  I nervously asked my bosses to reduce my schedule from 30 hours per week to 20.  I didn't want to sound like a flake - after all, I've only been on the team for 2 months now, and I'm still ramping up.  I also REALLY enjoy the team and the work. 

But 30 hours is just WAY too hard with only 2 days of childcare.  More childcare is not a solution we really wanted to explore as it's directly in conflict with 'spend as much time with BabyT as possible'.  I thought I'd limp along until December and then do something.  But I reached my breaking point with a very stressful couple of weeks and decided I needed to start the conversation now.

And wow, the things I've been able to get just because I asked - a part-time schedule in a full-time+ tech company.  2 days a week in the office.  A lock on my office door so I could pump there instead of schlepping everything to the new mothers' room.  And today, immediate verbal agreement on a 20 hour/week schedule, plus my managers telling me they'd look for ways to help me be successful.  Yowza. 

So I leave you with this video of our CEO that pretty much sums up how I feel about the company I've been with for 8 years now.  Enjoy ;)


  1. Ah yes. I remember when I turned down a really good promotion and a raise to stay part-time. It seems so counterintuitive, but that was probably the best decision I've made, workwise, ever.

  2. Yay for asking for what you need! And good for them, for recognizing that you're worth keeping around for however much time you're willing to give them. And good for you, for doing a great job so they want you for however much time you're willing to give. :)

  3. thanks!! i do think the part-time gig is the best of both worlds but it often feels like i'm doing everything crappily. but i have high hopes that the new schedule will be a lot better. The mental burden has already been lifted :)


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