Friday, May 25, 2007


The last few days have been hard...for several reasons.

I am still really worried about my very little nephew. He continues to have a lot of breathing problems and had a PDA to complicate things. I guess there was a little part of me that said "oh, he's a 29-weeker, he'll do just fine". After all, the survival rate for 29-weekers is a whopping 92%. Yeah, I know - 92% isn't that great, everyone wants a 100%, but in my little world of preemies (80% for 27-weekers) and liver transplant (national 3 year survival rate of 85%), that doesn't seem so bad.

I always knew that the steroid shots I received during my pregnancy benefited my twins. I got the shots about 5 - 7 days before the twins were born, so they had plenty of time to work. Even thought they were born at 27 weeks, they were never on a ventilator. People in the medical profession never believe me - 27 weekers just don't get by without being on the vent. Our Neonatologist who was there when we delivered the twins has told us that it is his easiest 27-weeker delivery to date. He was only at the hospital for 1 hour after they were born.

So, I always knew I was lucky - but I guess I never realized how lucky we really were. Now, I watch my little nephew struggle to survive, and it breaks my heart. For him, and for my brother and sister-in-law. The preemie world is not an easy one - and even though it is "short" in terms of real time (55 days for Morgan & 73 days for Tanner), those are still the longest days of my life. Heavy sigh...

On top of all of that, there is a lot of stuff brewing at work. When I took this job two and a half years ago, I did so for good reasons. Tanner was very sick, and we knew he was going to need a transplant. I needed a job that would give me a lot of flexibility, including the abiity to take off for a month or two when he had his transplant. I had worked for this company before, I knew them, they knew me. It would be an easy transition, and I knew I would have the flexibility I needed (other key employees had needed time off for personal issues). When I took the job, I figured it would be a short-term thing, and I'd re-evaluate in a few years.

Well, the few years is up. The re-evaluation is setting in - about this job, this company, where I am in my life, and where I really want to be. I could stay doing exactly what I am doing today, living exactly where I am, and earning exactly what I earn and continue. It's a good income, and I love helping our customers, but it's difficult working remotely.

I can stay with my current employer and move. I've been told that I can "set my own position" and tell them what I want to do. There is a meeting in two weeks that will determine what opportunities are available and whether I'm more needed in Denver, CO or Knoxville, TN. This would mean that I'd be moving up...there are even rumors of potential ownership in the company. But, that would also mean moving many, many miles. We do have family in Denver, but it's horribly expensive. We hear Knoxville is a lovely, cost-effective town - but family would be over 16 hours away by car.

And, all of that would mean that my husband would have to give up his great job with great benefits at a company he really likes. It took him several years to find this job once we moved to Kansas City, so asking him to move again doesn't really seem fair to me. Plus, our house. We literally built this house ourselves with my dad's help. That means we cut the boards ourselves, did the concrete work, nailed the nails - all of it. We have a much lovlier house than we could ever afford otherwise.

So, if we stay - what do I do? I don't have a lot of interest in my original degrees (yes, I actually have not one, but TWO engineering degrees). I love the construction industry - but working in the daily grind of a construction or engineering firm just doesn't sound appealing right now. I could go back to school - but for what? I feel like if I go back to school, it could be so that I could earn more money and benefit my family more. That limits my selection to just a few degrees - and I'm not sure I want to be a pill counter, a bean counter, or a doctor.

I think the pill counter (pharmacist) could easily replace my income, and it might be able to give me more flexibility than the other jobs. It's something I can literally do anywhere and make good money. I can do nights and weekends, possibly go to an as-needed basis and take summers off when the kids are school-age. It could be a good thing...

I'm probably best suited for the bean counter (accountant). This is a bit more appealing, but I really don't think I could earn more money doing this. So, I'm not sure that it would get me anywhere. Getting my MBA or some kind of management degree on top of my engineering degree would probably be a better bet.

The doctor - that is something that would take years of education and a huge education bill. I'm just not sure I'm willing to bite that off at this point. I would love to be able to help others, but I just don't know if I have the passion or energy to do that right now.

So, if you've stayed with me through this entire post, give me some insight. I know there are other bloggers out there who have struggled with the balance between home and work. Trying to find a good balance that pays the bills, satisfies them professionally, and gives them the flexibility to take care of their family. How did you do it?


Tonya said...

Sorry to hear that Brayan is struggling so much.. I sure hope things pick up real soon. I understsand when you were saying you were less worried because he was a 29 weeker etc because I would feel the same way but guess we were lucky. Randie was a 27 weeker as well and after the surgery and almost 3 months in the NICU we finally got home but it was the longest time EVER in my life.. Brayan is in my thoughts and prayers.

Sorry I cannot be of any help with the job aspect.. I am a SAHM but plan on going back to work maybe when Randie goes to school. I'm sure you will end up making the right decision for you in the long run!

Julie R said...

Have you thought about teaching? If there is a community college in you area, there is a good chance they are looking for math and physics teachers. And you must be good at those since you are an engineer, right?

It might be a good way to change careers with out going back to school. Of course, you could be like me and have no interested in teaching. Anyway, just a thought