Friday, August 13, 2010

Still Can't Strike a Balance

Ever since my first child was born I've been struggling to strike a balance.  I realize I'm not alone in this struggle and on some level that helps but it's still my struggle.  My oldest will be four years old in January and my youngest will be 2 in March and I've still not been able to quite find that balance.  I have a pretty good reputation as an incredible assistant and I'd like to continue in that world supporting very high level people.  I don't know any other way to work than to give it my all - however, my last run at working I've discovered "my all" does not meet my standard of acceptable work.  I will be the first to tell you that I really HAD NO LIFE pre-kids; so my standard of acceptable was pretty high.  If you had told me I had no life back then I would have argued with you and adamantly disagreed.  However, now that I DO have a life - I can admit I wasn't living my life to its fullest potential.  There was a lot of wasted and valuable time that I sure wish I could get back now.

Back to getting that balance.  I've looked to dozens of people for some frank commentary and advice (and not just working moms) and I've come to one conclusion - this is MY STRUGGLE.  No one can answer this one for me.  I have to do what feels right for me and how it affects my family.  I know, I'm a bit slow - or maybe hard-headed.  It just doesn't compute for me that I can't be the assistant I was before...things outside my control and things that mean much more to me than my job will pull me away.  Sometimes pulling me away mid-day and for several days at a time.  Being pulled away unexpected for several days at a time is just really something I have a hard time accepting in my work life.  I was always the one who was at work at 6:30/7:00a.m. and didn't leave until long after the boss had gone home.  Some of that can still happen - and I think most of what made me a good assistant is more important - just the basic that I care seems to unfortunately be unusual.

What brings all this to the frontal lobes again...I'm at home again with my 1 year old and have been since the beginning of June.  However, two things have occurred that's bringing me back to the job market - an extremely high profile philanthropist and business person in the DC area is interested in me as their personal assistant (never done the personal assistant thing before).  The headhunter contacted me yesterday, I have to decide if I want to interview for this job.  It's high profile, extremely well paying and since it's supporting this person on a personal level I assume the hours will definitely affect my home-life.  But this is going to be life going forward, I've risen about as high up as I can go as an Exec. Assistant (excluding supporting some insanely wealthy person - like, owns a whole country wealthy) and at this level the hours are most definitely NOT 9-5.

The second thing that has happened, or rather WILL happen, is when my youngest turns two he will start the day school with his older brother and there will be no need for me to stay at home.  So .. in a few short months (7 to be exact) I will be on the job market again.  Since finding a job that pays at my level is slow going I've already contacted my headhunters to let them know I'm available.  I'm affectively looking for a job seven months before I want to start.  If something comes up before March ... it'll have to be a damn near perfect fit and I'll have to hire a nanny I guess or figure something out...that part actually is easier than deciding on the right fit job.

So...woe-is-me...right? [that's sarcasm there - i do realize people have way tougher problems]  I can get a really well-paying job and help sock away for retirement and college funds or I can go for a lesser job that is 9-5 (and let's be frank...not very interesting compared to the high level ones) and see my kids more and save less towards retirement/college.  The other thing to consider is longevity...supporting someone higher profile will give me the stability to work with them for a very long time and possibly follow them wherever they may go.  Getting a gig lower in the ranks with finite hours doesn't really guarantee me well...anything.

Well, I'm off to decide whether to be a personal assistant or not....  just unloading a stream of consciousness for the whole world to read...  why do I do that?!


Since I haven't posted in a's some cuteness (ie.  my kids):


Christy said...

Jenn I think you should apply and interview for that job! What do you have to lose? Nothing, that's what. It COULD be a great job for you, or maybe not. Regardless, interviewing for it would be good experience. Email me if you want to talk more! I think you'll do the right thing for you - no matter what that ends up being! You know yourself, and that's the first step!!!

Jenn @ My Kind of Strange said...

@Christy: thanks. I don't think I'm going to take the Personal assistant offer. I spoke with the head hunter and the hours will definitely often be in the evenings. that's not anywhere close to a good fit for me and I'd be likely be quiting it within a couple of months. was some really, really good pay. :| But not worth it if I never see my family and a nanny raises my kids.