Post # 1
My current job contract only lasts a few more months, but the my field is absolute crap right now, so I don’t yet have anything lined up for when it ends. I’ve also been thinking about changing fields because I’m pretty unhappy with what I am doing (I’m an academic with a PhD). I’m wondering if it just isn’t the best time to say screw it and have a kiddo — I’ve been wanting to for years now, but have had to put it off for career reasons. Financially, my husband and I are fine whether or not I work and I am currently on his insurance. He’s also okay with me temporarily not working (although he would be thrilled if I landed a great job). So none of that is an issue. It’s just so scary to take time off careerwise! I realize it would be really hard to get back in my field in anything other than a crap adjunct position (aka minimum wage), but I would be happy to work in a different field and do have work experience in other areas. I also have many transferrable skills. I also have no idea how my husband and I could possibly manage with a kid if we both were working as much as we have for the past decade. I also have a hard time balancing competing commitments like work and family, it would be really nice to not have to worry about that, even if temporarily.
So . . . I think it might be worth the risk. Anyone else have to make so many HUGE life decisions all at once? How did you figure it out??
Post # 2
It’s a lot to consider but if I were unhappy with my current career, my husband wanted a baby also, we could afford for me to not work and be off for a while with a baby, then it would be a pretty resounding, Yes- let’s have a baby. I don’t think that for many people they are lucky enough to have kids at the perfect time, but if you want a baby, don’t leave it too long. You never know what life may deal you.
Post # 3
I’d definitely do it! Why not? Of course there’s no perfect time but it sounds like it’s as good of a time as any. FI and I are contemplating TTC this summer if I don’t get into grad school, we couldn’t really think of reasons not to.
Post # 4
Sounds like you’re in a perfect spot to me, if you were going to change fields anyway this is a perfect time to take a breather, evaluate where you want to go, and get settled with the babeh before you embark on something new!
Post # 5
my motto is “if you wait for the perfect time, you’ll be waiting forever”. DH and I ended up getting pregnant right before my contract ended as well. things have a way of working out 🙂 go for it!!
Post # 6
No advice since I haven’t been there *yet* but my DH and I are having a lot of the same conversations. We’re also academics. He just got a tenure-track job in a new city that holds some promise for me but no immediate job leads. We’re hoping to start TTC some time in the next year, and it scares me that my career could be interrupted, not only by a potential unemployment stint while I figure out a new city and potentially a new career path, but also by a baby.
But at some point, he and I will hit our tolerance level for external issues delaying/affecting our personal life together. We got plenty of that in the grad school years, lol, and eventually you just have to jump off the diving board.
Good luck to you! I am sure we’ll both figure it out 🙂
Post # 7
It’s good to hear the world at large doesn’t think I’m crazy, although I’m sure a lot of my colleagues will look at me askance. Thanks for the reassurance! I’ve just really gotten to the point where I just want to do what I want to do and not what I’m supposed to do. Hopefully the rest will fall into place.
brlabrat: Congrats to you DH for landing a tenure-track job!! In this market that is such an achievement. I hope something good falls into your lap. I know exactly how you feel about being sick of external factors having such power over your life. It’s exhausting. Ever since I decided I no longer was committed to staying in my field I have felt so free and in control of my own life for the first time in almost a decade. Such a relief.
Post # 8
You said your husband would be OK with you “temporarily” not working. How long is “temporary”?…3 months, a year, 5 years, forever? I think you 2 need to have a discussion about this first before any decisions are made.
For most women, it is REALLY hard to take time off and expect to get back at the same level they were before they left the work force.
There are millions of women that work and have a family. Both DH and I grew up with 2 working parents and we turned out fine. It can be done.
Post # 9
SnowInApril: It has been discussed to death — we are both uber planners, slow to decide on anything. We both know that realistically I might not be working for at least a year, maybe more if we both end up liking me staying home. Of course, if there is an opportunity stupid to pass up, it could be less — who knows!
In an ideal world, I probably would be super settled into a successful career (with tenure! Statistically women with children are much less likely to receive tenure than women without — married women also fare less well than single women) and have no problems making kids fit in. But, if I stay on my current career track, and with the current state of the job market, I could be well into my 40s before that happens. It might also take a long time to change career tracks and get settled into something new . . . I think I have just reached that fork in the road where something needs to give. I need to decide what I want most, do it, and make the rest work out. And when I’m honest with myself, what I want most is a rugrat. Stupid hormones.
Post # 10
bluegreenjean: Meh, It’s pretty much what I’m doin’ right now. TTC that is. I would never admit it to anyone, but, yah, the fact that my career is not really the way I invisioned it, combined with the fact that my husband is making enough for the both of us definitely played into the decision. I say do what you want, not what others “expect” you to do : ) P.S. If you do decide to go for it, don’t be like me and think it happens instantly when you stop preventing. Seems like it might take us a while and I’ve always been so healthy… Boo! Good luck with your decision .
Post # 11
I can definitely relate to some of your issues, OP. I have a masters degree, and my field (fisheries biology) was crap when I got out of school. People have told me to go ahead and get my PhD, but I don’t plan on it because 1) I don’t want to stay in academia, and 2) I’d be overqualified for most jobs. Also, a bunch of my female friends worry about how to juggle having children while in academia.
I’d say go for it. If you and your hubby would be fine on one income and you both have very clear expectations for how long you would out of the workforce, then now is as good a time as any. In the meantime, see if you can leverage some of your academic experience with freelance writing, if that sounds interesting. I’m self-employed as a writer, and someone with academic experience would be extremely well suited to contacting school districts about grant writing/reporting, technical writing, and any marketing pieces for businesses related to your field of expertise.
Post # 12
im a fulltime working mom, if i had a chance to be off work and have another baby i definitely would. You’re in a great position to have one, with that said one is NEVER ready to have a baby neither is the timing ever PERFECT.
Talk with your SO and if you decide to get pregnant good luck!!
Post # 13
It’s refreshing to hear someone else thinking about bailing after a PhD and putting family first. I’m in my first post doc, newlywed and trying to decide what to do. I’ve found my new, more (funding-likely) promising research area is not what I expected and I’m actually a bit bored. I’m considering starting TTC in a year, hoping I get more interested and good at my job in the meantime and doing both the job and a kid, but it’s also scary that I might tank my career. Unlike you, my previous experience and transferable skills don’t seem to get me jobs (I’ve tried a few times), so it’s scary! I don’t have any advice, but just wanted to mention you are not alone and lots of us are (sometimes secretly/quietly) having these issues.
Post # 14
MrsZapatos: Sorry It’s taking you so long!
SilvanArrow: Thanks for the suggestions! I wish I had more (any) grant writing experience. My husband works in a techie field though, so maybe he’ll hear of anyone is looking for a technical writer. I’ve always been a good writer/editor, I just have no idea how to get into freelancing. Any tips?
pastrygirl: It’s good to know I’m not the only one. It’s so hard to find any balance in academia, and (especially if you are a woman in a male-dominated field) you can’t even really talk about wanting to have kids and how to fit it in without having to worry that you’ll get written off as not dedicated enough to your field.