Saturday, June 14, 2008

What I learned in 2001

In 2001 I had a baby. And although I was already 30, I was the first of my friends to do so.

Here’s the thing. I had always saw myself is the hip, urban, Sex and the City-type gal. Before I had a kid, I figured I would just bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.

However, what I found was that I liked my job, but not enough to be away from my daughter for 40 hours because of it. I also wasn’t interested in being a housewife. I was distraught because until then I thought it was all-or-nothing.

Then something unexpected happened. A 20-hour-a-week job as an administrator came open at the college where I worked. It was two pay grades higher than what I was making. I got the job, worked half the hours, and made about ¾ of what I made before.

Some of my other friends had babies in the two years that followed. Some stayed home full time. Some worked full time. Some quit their jobs and freelanced.

When I was in high school in the 80s, I always thought when I grew up I’d have to go get one of those red suits with the big shoulder pads and work my tail off in an office 80 hours a week (like that chick in Working Girl.) What I learned in 2001, is that you don’t have to settle. You can have it your way – whatever that is.

That’s a legacy the Gen X gals like me are leaving for the Gen Y gals like Kristin. And while all the women who followed our Boomer sisters into the workforce can thank them for knocking down that door, it is the Gen Xers who are laying the groundwork for a true work/life balance.


Anonymous said...

If Kristin reads this, please send me a link to your blog I will link it off my blog.

Kristina said...

Amen, sister! I'm one of those "quit to freelance" people you mentioned, and I couldn't be happier with my decision.

Hats off to those Boomer women who made this possible.

Now, if Gen X and all those that come after can blaze a trail for MEN to have that same flexibility... then we'll really be getting somewhere.

Mo Morrissey said...

I have to disagree with Kristina just a little bit here - it was the Boomer women who made 80 hour weeks and an all or nothing choice possible; it's Generation X who are making that third path possible...