This is my answer to people who ask me “are you going back?” or “when are you going back?”
They mean back to work.
I’ve always known, in the back of my mind, that the above was my answer but now I feel the confidence to state, straight out, I am already back. This is it for me. This is what I want to be doing and what I do has reached the point of employment.
For a long time what I’ve done has fulfilled me (mostly – it’s not perfect but, it’s definitely the most satisfying work I’ve had since graduating from university). However, after doing some (tax) calculations (ugh!), I’ve realized it’s also financially pretty much as good as things are going to get.
Let me explain. I looked at what I earned last year and, while not high by any stretch of the imagination, it was about 50 per cent more than what I earned in the previous year (which makes sense as it was the first year I had both my kids in school full-time).
Then I started adding some stuff up. Like day care costs – before and after school in the school year; all day long in the summer – and house cleaning (because no, if I have to go to work 50 hours a week I am NOT coming home and cleaning my house). And a bus pass, which would be the least expensive way of me getting to work.
I took those numbers and I added them to what I’m already earning. The number was actually fairly substantial. Then I added the percentage on top of that I would have to make to pay Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty.
And, you know what? In a quick look through Monster.ca, I couldn’t find any jobs I was qualified for that paid more than that number.
Not to mention, if you consider my life in terms of a 40 to 50-hour work week, right now I probably spend about half that time doing “work” (and that’s work I mostly enjoy – let’s say work that gives me a 75 per cent satisfaction rating) and the rest of that time I spend either looking after my house or looking after my children. Both of which I think are important and enjoy.
Or, I could drop all that, pay someone else to look after my house and kids, and earn about the same amount by doing work I don’t think would hit the 75 per cent threshold (not in the jobs I’m seeing out there anyway).
Of course, these calculations also don’t take into account things like needing a decent wardrobe and probably having to pay a hairdresser instead of cutting my own hair in front of the bathroom mirror at 11:30 at night because I’m sick of the way it looks.
And, most importantly, they don’t tell the story of a more stressed household. Less homemade food. Fewer preparations for things like Easter Egg hunts and camping trips and family vacations. More getting-things-done-somehow-at-the-last-minute.
Not to mention they don’t answer the question of who goes on field trips and who reads with the Grade 2 class every Monday morning and who gets up off their hands and knees from washing the floor to run up to the school and bring home a child whose just thrown up in the classroom garbage can?
So, for now, this is my work and anyone who wants to make me change it is going to have to find me day care, hire me a cleaning lady and fight me tooth-and-nail to give it up.