women on a career break?SAHM

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  • #85847
    MomMDMomMD
    Participant

    I wanted to start a thread for women (like me) who are on a career break from any career (medicine obviously a major one). How long have you been ‘out-of-the-workforce’? I use that term in the loosest possible way as many of us work freelance, volunteer and work our butts off for little or no pay (but that’s another post!!).

    What is/was your career? When or do you plan to go back? What concerns do you have about going back? Anyone who went back successfully got any tips to share?

    I want to connect SAHM MD’s in particular.

    Sethina

    #85849
    amykamyk
    Participant

    Sorry, Sethina, you know I’m not an MD! But I am very definitely on a career break — defining feature of my being willing to have a baby was my willingness to take a break.

    I’m a writer with a lot of side interests and a background in int’l relations and economics; I also run chemstudent.com. Primarily a fiction writer, though. And I miss it. A lot. More every day, it seems.

    In fact, this week starts afternoon babysitting a couple days a week for Annelies, who’s 3 months old now. I’ve been trying to sort out some story issues and learn some MySQL for the last three or four weeks, and by the time I get some hours to myself I’m just too tired to think well. Fortunately we’ve got some really great babysitters around here, and they’re very happy with the $10/hr I pay. So I’ll get some time to head off to the cafe & play writer/dot-com chix0r, and we’ll see if that’ll hold me till she goes to preschool.

    In a way, I’m lucky because none of my stuff relies on an employer with a regular clock. Then again, I set it up that way on purpose. Never have liked the 7:30-5:30 life, thought it was pretty inhumane from go.

    amy

    #85851
    MomMDMomMD
    Participant

    Of course, non MDs are welcome in this thread. I’m one!! ANyone else???

    Did anyone read The Opt Out Revolution in last week’s New York Times??

    [URL=by Lisa Belkin]http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/26/magazine/26WOMEN.html?pagewanted=1[/URL ]
    try again

    Sethina

    #85853
    amykamyk
    Participant

    I did, and thought it was quite damaging. Not because there’s a “dirty little secret” about women employees being likely to leave, but because she framed the issue in terms of choice. All those women tried to modify their jobs before they left; the employers said no. If the workplace can’t accommodate adults with families, that’s a problem with the workplace, not a problem with the women who decide they must leave to avoid shortchanging their children. Again, the most sensible & least polemical arguments I know on the subject are Joan Williams’.

    amy

    #85855
    drmoo55drmoo55
    Participant

    amyk, sethina:

    i also read the article

    here’s my thought – now it’s just a thought AND NOT MY BELIEF

    but I think maybe that even though women are able to be equals and maybe better than men in whatever industry, there is that issue about women needing at some time in their life a choice of less hours or leaving their careers (put on hold) in order to have their family.

    in that respect it is not an EQUAL world. ( i guess this could go in the feminist thread as well.

    Even though we as women have FOUGHT hard to show we can do the job well or better, there is still the mindset that if this woman is hired, there is a high chance that she will leave or want fewer hours at some point. Now of course this isn’t a generalization by any means. The thing is…I believe that women bosses are just as bad as male bosses in respect to wondering ” hmmm wonder how long this one will be here? is it worth hiring her or should we go for the guy who is more likely to stick around and want to move up the ladder” Not to say the women don’t have the same goals at the start, but as the article implies, they are leaving high level jobs & post graduate degrees to stay home more… And the fact that WOMEN are the bosses making these decisions is almost traitor-like to other women!

    it isn’t a fair thing in that the equality is there & the choice is there but we have not overcome the fact that women want it all and have to juggle to get it while men do not.

    #85856
    amykamyk
    Participant

    One of the notable things in the article was the absence of husbands. I don’t recall a single husband’s voice. Which was another reason why I wasn’t so keen on the story.

    It’s not just a woman’s problem. Granted, only women get pregnant, nurse, and recover physically from childbirth, but I know very few men who sincerely want to spend 70 hours a week working when they’ve got small children. It’s already killing my husband that he’s missing Liesl’s firsts, and that by the time he gets home it’s almost her bedtime. But the presumption still seems to be that if a guy has children, he ought to have a wife or someone else who takes care of them. Men still seem to be more heavily penalized at work for taking off or cutting back hours to take care of family. And that’s a little nuts. There was a nice story related to eldercare along those lines in the Times a couple months ago, too.

    amy

    #85858
    MomMDMomMD
    Participant

    Problems with the article… It was implied that by choice we are at home. Well I choose that at first. I’ve been looking for a job for two years and am unable to get back into the workforce. Now is this still a choice for me? No. Rather the way society is structured makes it very difficult to get back into the workforce. I cannot work long hours, I must pick my kids up from school and drop them off. However, I know that in my 5-6 hours on the job, I wouldn’t take a break and would probaby get just as much done than the full-timers. I know in my circle of friends at least 6 people who have been trying to get back into the workforce. Some of this is the economy, but moms are the bottom of the tall pile of resumes. These women by the way, 2 are lawyers… In addition to the absence of husbands, was the decresing paychecks of many. For example, with bonuses and increased health care costs many are working with 30% less salary than two years ago. Consumer debt has sky-rocketed to scary proportions. I’m being negative, there’s just so much going on.

    Who else is stay-at-home?

    #85860
    amykamyk
    Participant

    Well, I just heard back from Joan Williams (her book Unbending Gender was mentioned in the article), and she’s game for a public conversation with Lisa Belkin; I thought it would be more interesting/useful than a simple rebuttal of Lisa’s argument. Now we just have to see if Lisa’s up for it. Be keen to have them on NPR or broadcast from the 92nd St Y. Print would do, too, I hear NYT has decent circ. 🙂

    amy

    #85862
    Doc201XDoc201X
    Participant

    I think an important question is what are women willing to give up to be able to have careers and be able to a lot of daytime with their kids/families. For example, would anyone be willing to give up say health care benefits to work parttime (and have another partimer fill in the other 4 hours/day) or take lower pay? It’s about COMPROMISE and I don’t think it’s fair to expect employers to just accomadate our requests for flexible schedules without being willing to compromise something.

    #85863
    SAHM of 3/ MDSAHM of 3/ MD
    Participant

    Great thread Sethina!

    I am a SAHM/MD by choice since Aug 2002 when I finished serving the Air Force as a general practitioner. My husband was a SAHD/software engineer who left the workforce in Aug 2000 to stay at home with our kids. He attempted to reenter the work force and was not able to find work–in this situation, I think it can be even tougher for men to reenter after prolonged absence from the workforce. I was 6 months pregnant and definitely showing when we decided that I would return to the work force.

    I’ve read the threads about alternative careers, and think that I would have been able to find a flexible work situation easier if I was an RN,PA,nurse practitioner, or pharmacist. As a physician, I’m hoping that I will be able to create my own niche. I am starting a service in which I will be offering preventive and wellness medical care in local day spas–no emergencies, good hours, time to really help the patients. If I can work this out, then I will be able to meet my goals of helping people as a physician and being available for my children as much as possible. Thanks to skyrocketing malpractice rates I can only afford to work 2 days/week to start out with. My husband is helping me with all the logistical details (i.e. getting malpractice, talking to lawyers,bankers, accountants, etc.). Meanwhile, we are enjoying our “quality time” with our children (ages 3 1/2, 2, and 2 months). To us, it has not been a “sacrifice” to pay out of pocket for our health insurance, live off our savings, not own our own home, but rather a “blessing” that we have been given this time to focus on each other and our children.

    I would love to hear from other SAHM/physicians returning to the workforce. If this idea doesn’t work out I’ll have to bite the bullet and do urgent care which is a stressful and unsatisfying choice for me.

    #85865
    amykamyk
    Participant

    pathdr2be: The question is whether the employer gets the same work for the same money. If it’s possible to split a shift, a salary, and benefits between two part-timers — and it often is, even in nonstop professions like law — then the employer has no worries. Many businesses and municipalities already offer partial coverage for part-time work.

    amy

    #85867
    Doc201XDoc201X
    Participant

    Originally posted by amyk:
    pathdr2be: The question is whether the employer gets the same work for the same money.

    Great quesiton. What do you think the answer is?

    Originally posted by amyk:
    [b] Many businesses and municipalities already offer partial coverage for part-time work.
    [/b]

    And many do not. Before beginning my fellowship, I worked as a Scientist in the pharmaceutical industry. There were NO part-time positions for which a Master’s degree or higher was required for the position and few for those which required a Bachelor’s degree. I personally think there should be more with certain consessions.

    #85869
    amykamyk
    Participant

    Does the employer get the same work for the same money? Obviously it depends on the employees and their ability to communicate with each other, but having worked a whole lotta part- and fulltime jobs, my guess is that the employer would actually get more work for the money. Why?

    1. Few people actually work whole fulltime shifts. They get some work done, hang around, check email, do some more work, get snacks, etc. When someone’s there for just a few hours, though, they tend to spend the time working. Partly because they want to wrap it up and leave.

    2. Committed professionals are likely to finish a job even when they’re not being paid for it. Stay an extra hour on a four-hour shift to get something wrapped up. In a part-time situation, it’s the employee’s responsibility to make sure she’s not working for free, but my guess is that the employer would still come out ahead.

    There were NO part-time positions for which a Master’s degree or higher was required for the position and few for those which required a Bachelor’s degree. I personally think there should be more with certain consessions.

    What kind of concessions?

    amy

    #85871
    Doc201XDoc201X
    Participant

    Originally posted by amyk:
    [QB]What kind of concessions?

    1) No sick/vacation leave
    2) No health insurance or insurance at a higher rate.
    3) Ineligibility for company bonuses or eligibility at a rate comparable to part-time status.
    4) Availibilty to conference call if meetings are held during time the person is off.

    I could add more but I think you get the point. If I were interested in reducing a fulltime paotion to a part-time one to accomadate some personal need, I would certainily NOT go in to have this discussion with my boss empty handed.

    #85872
    LaramisaLaramisa
    Participant

    Well, if you’re working part-time you are presumably getting paid less anyway, so that’s a concession. I work in the pharma industry now and some people I know work part-time- but my experience is that most of them get paid part-time but end up working full-time in the end. But it depends a lot on your work colleagues and bosses. You can be efficient and finish everything early but if your team is not (or does not also have families they want to get home to) then it has an impact on your ability to finish on time. Or you are sidelined because you are not perceived as being committed.

    Personally I don’t think employers should be involved in paying for health insurance at all anyway. It should be private or some sort of universal coverage, eg part private part govt subsidized. Did anyone see the editorial about this in the NYT or WashPost yesterday?

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