Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Becoming the CHO

Today is my last day of work as a full-time employee at my company. I'll be here with the same office, same desk, chair, phone, e-mail and everything again tomorrow, but it kind of feels like a new chapter for me. I'm taking a step back in my career to go part time for a while and become what I am calling the "CHO" or Chief House Officer. Yes, cheesy I know. I'm excited about it. I think part time will be an absolutely perfect family schedule for us. Just enough time for me to give to my daughter and my family, and just enough time for me to give to my job. It's the best of both worlds really - yoga pants and fingerpaints two days a week, suits and Starbucks the other three days a week (yes I'm being sarcastic here....).
But as excited as I am for this new schedule, I'm also nervous. I'm technically resigning from my company and becoming a contractor for them. This is new for me, I've been an employee of one company or another for 12 years now and I've never had to worry about recording the hours I spend on projects. Getting used to that will be interesting.
I'm nervous about sidelining a solid job and a career path. The recent recession was scary enough to make everyone a little more nervous about decisions like this. My job was a treasured possession during the recession, something I was and still am grateful for given how many people lost their jobs. I'm afraid to give it up for a less predictable contracting position.
I'm also nervous for the reduction in salary. Granted it's basically only one fifth of our total household salary that I'm giving up and I don't think I'll have a problem going back to budgeting. I'm more nervous about this because it means I'm becoming more dependent on my husband to support me and our family. Not that I question his ability or his desire to support us at all, I've just liked being independent. I like making my own money, having insurance in my name, being my own financial support system. Anyone who knew me back in the late 90's knows that it took me a while longer than the average person to gain financial independence from my family. I got into a little too much debt from having a crappy job in Chicago and enjoying shopping and night life a little too much. It took me a couple of extra years of dependence on my parents for a place to live and financial support to claw my way out of that mess. I fear being dependent on anyone because it took so long for me to become independent. But that's just my own irrational fear and I know there's no reason to think that by going part time I'll slide into financial instability and dependence again.
Anyways, going part time should be an amazing way to balance family and work life, a perfect combination of both worlds. I hope it works out for a long time and we can make it work as a family. And I hope that it gives Bean an example of how as a woman you can be successful enough in a career and still lead a great family life. There's not enough of that these days. I hope that part time is more commonplace when she enters the workforce so that she doesn't have to fight for it as much and won't have to take as much of a step back in her career in order to have some balance in her life. One can hope.
Cheers from the new CHO.

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