Saturday, May 30, 2009

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

What do I want to be when I grow up? I know we have all asked ourselves this question when we were younger and maybe even more recently. This is a question I have been pondering a lot lately.

In high school whenever I met with my guidance counselor, took personality and career tests, I always thought I wanted to be a social worker. You know the kind that go in and swoop in, rescue abused and neglected kids, and save the day. I know it really is not that glamorous in real life. I few things steered me away from this original dream. First a family member who worked in child protection services strongly advised against it. She said the work was hard and stressful and more often than not you can't really help the kids you need to because of the red tape. She also pointed out that her life has been threatened by people upset that she took their kids. After high school I was distracted by having a baby, working at the bank, etc. I look into being a social worker when entering college and soon came to realize a MSW was the gold standard in social work and almost necessary to work as one and once you have a Master's degree 6 years and $50,000 in student loans later you would make $35,000 out of college. You have to be kidding me!

Then I entered college to get my paralegal certificate. I suspected I wanted to be an attorney and thought working as a paralegal would give me some good insight if law school really was for me. After graduating with my paralegal certificate in a year and half as a single mom and working full-time I looked for and applied for several paralegal jobs. I came to realize they wouldn't pay better than I was making at the bank and in the midst of the post 9/11 recession the hiring had slowed.

I was even more determined to finish school and go onto law school in quick succession. I plugged away and graduated with my Associate's degree and transferred to the University of Colorado to complete my Bachelor's degree in Political Science. I was very interested in politics and most people entering law school have a "poli sci" degree. I quit my job and worked to finish my Bachelor's degree in 1 1/2 years. I took out loans but figured it was just a matter of time before I would be making good money as an attorney.

A few other things happened as I started at CU. I met my husband and fell in love with him and his two girls. The best of plans always have detours. We didn't live together until I was almost done with school but going from life with 1 kid to life with 3 kids was certainly a big change and my priorities slowly were shifting. I interned a lobbying firm heavily involved in local Denver politics, a job I loved but realized would pay low and have high demands for this mom of three. I instead took a job at a prominent IP law firm in downtown Denver and thought I was on my way to what I had worked so hard for.

The law firm was a great job and I learned so much but it was not for me. While there I realized maybe being an attorney was not for me. The attorneys at my firm got paid well but worked 60, 70, even 80 plus hours per week. That was not for me, especially since law school would mean at least $100,000 in student loans. After a year at my position I resigned to be home with my kids full-time. I felt like I was turning my wheels, commuting 3 hours per day, making barely more than to pay my daycare.

I watched a 3 year old at my home at first. She moved out of state and then I began watching Baby Boy a sweet 14 month old my kids and fell in love with. If we hadn't moved to Maryland I would still be happily watching him but things change and here I am.

My husband and I have realized we need to focus on getting ourselves out of debt. We have always been slaves to our debt and it is going to take a few years of sacrifice to free ourselves from the strong hold debt has on our lives. We are ready to "live like no one else, to live like no one else."

Watching a child in my home, while paying OK is not the same as my potential in a "professional career." Since in Maryland I have been looking at all types of job sectors which I have experience, law, politics, banking, non-profit. The results have been frustrating. The legal field is just not hiring, on the contrary they seem to be just beginning with the layoffs. I interviewed for a bank job that sounded really great only to find out the base salary was in the mid 20's plus incentives. Sorry daycare is $12,000 per year for 3 kids. Mid 20's won't cut it even with incentive potential. I interviewed for a non-profit job, also did not pay well and was working nights. Politics doesn't pay until you put in your time and work your way up. Once again, I have three kids I can't put 5-10 years in to work my way up. So I have gone back to what I know, kids. I have been nannying on a temporary basis for a really fun 15 month old little boy.

Last week I went on a nanny interview. The position starts in the fall for infant twin girls. The parents are both teachers so I could follow my kids school schedule including the whole summer off. I would love it! It has been 9 years since my baby was a baby and I miss the baby stage. Plus once we crunched the numbers it would be like making $42,000 once you subtract all the other expenses of a professional job like daycare. My husband was slow to come on board but time with the kids and the net pay I think has won him over. I can't wait. They are working on the background check and then said they are ready to offer me the position. Since I know my background is fine I have breathed a sigh of relief.

While I have thought about being a social worker, an attorney, and even a teacher, I think I really want to be a mommy. This nanny job will allow me to bring income into our home, doing a job I will love, be with my kids a lot, and bring us out of debt. I don't think I could have thought of a better solution for me. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways.

5 comments:

Rachael said...

it sounds like this will be the perfect fit for you, how wonderful!

Gina said...

Sounds great!

I wanted to be a social worker in high school too.

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

It is interesting how life takes us in different directions than we had planned.

Jen said...

that is so great. it sounds like you found the perfect fit.

I'm a Mom!..? said...

Sounds like a good deal!! That's great!