And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Where Are My Priorities?

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

~Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken~

Life is full of tough choices. I know that. Part of being an adult is making those choices and doing the best you can.

Right now, I have a choice to make. I don't have to make it today, I don't have to make it tomorrow, but sometime over the next week, I have to choose which path to take.

And I have no idea which way to go.

I have made no secret of the fact that my job is a pain in my butt. I don't like my boss. I don't like the actual job duties. I don't even really like the clients I work with. They are too young for me. I prefer senior citizens. (not that I don't like my guys, it's just a preference thing. Some folks like working with kids, some adults, some seniors. Some of us prefer high physical care, some of us prefer to put more effort into the behavioral side of things.)

Two times a week, I end up staying awake 30 hours plus. It's not necessarily the job's fault, it's just the way things work out. Obviously, this is a terribly unhealthy way to live. I have been doing it for almost 7 years, and I can feel myself getting stupider and stupider every day. See? Stupider isn't even a word, but I'm gonna use it to prove how stupid the lack of sleep is really making me. (well, spellcheck says stupider is a word. How 'bout that?)

Pretty much, I get nothing out of my job except a paycheck.

I know that if I were to be able to have some kind of routine in my life, and get sleep every night instead of 3-4 nights out of a week, I would be much healthier. I would feel smarter. I would be more efficient. I would be able to establish routines in other parts of my life, and those routines would benefit everyone in my family.

I was offered a job today. Full time work, regular sleep hours, and much easier work than I do now. The pay is about the same.

Sounds like heaven, right?

The problem is, it's a job working with Teacher full time. I would be self-employed, for all intents and purposes. This means a loss of vacation time, sick time, benefits, retirement, etc. And I would have to put Little Sprout in Daycare two days a week, meaning more of my wage would be lost in paying that. And there is no job security. Teacher is 100 years old, and so my time working with her is limited. Very limited.

It would work, but $$ would be tight. Mr. Barefoot and I have struggled with finances all our adult lives, and just now are getting to a point where we can sock a little bit away out of every check. Only in the last few months have we had any financial breathing room, and we are both loving it.

So what do I do? On the one hand, the job I have now is secure. It pays the bills, with a little left over. It is also killing me. On the other hand, I could have a position that meets all my needs as far as health is concerned (as well as being a whole bunch of fun), but would put the family back into a place where the tiniest unexpected expense could put us in financial trouble.

Sometimes, being a grown-up sucks.


webb said...

Maybe there are other choices. Am not sure exactly what you do for "work" but it sounds like you are medical somehow. If so, you may have a huge advantage in this current job market, in that apparently there still are jobs available for medical workers.

Maybe you let this one pass (benefits, finances, insecurity of how long it will last), but start actively looking for something that will fit you better than the current model.

You really cannot continue to short change yourself and your family sleep-wise or your health will really suffer and you will be the "stupidest" one. Clearly you are valuable or you would not have this opportunity to work only with "Teacher".

Or, is there an opportunity to negotiate for more salary, or some benefits since you would be giving up so much. Good luck. Thinking good thoughts for you.

Kelli said...

Perhaps the (likely short) time you'd be working with Teacher is kind of the change you need to be able to move on to a different kind of position. The money part does suck, though. Wild idea: could Little Sprout go with you to work? Isn't she almost old enough for school? Just as a stopgap? Can you exchange daytime daycare with someone who needs evening daycare? I think for your health, the answer is pretty clear. Maybe this is the change you need to move on to more healthy things, even though it would be financially tight. Perhaps the experience with Teacher will pay off later.

P.S. Did anything ever happen with going back to school?

barefoot gardener said...

Webb - I've been searching for other options for a couple years. Unfortunately, I need more education to make more money (I'm a pro caregiver right now, DD and elderly) and I can't afford to get the education. I will keep your advice in mind. Thanks ;-)

Kelli - That's what I've been thinking, that giving myself a break will help me think of new options. Bringing the little might be an option, but I worry that she would be in the way. Teacher needs some pretty serious care at this point. As for school... *sigh* can't afford it, but make too much for assistance. And I'm really leery of taking on debt for education, since the degree I want won't lead to really high paying jobs, just more than I have now.

Talk about rock and a hard place! ;-)

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

Does your present job have sickness insurance Barefoot? Because from the way you write of it you are going to need it.

What ever choice you make there will be times in the future when you will say "if only", but you only get this one crack at life, and there are times when you really have to follow your heart.