Author Topic: Considering a career break  (Read 2862 times)

Lizzy13

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Considering a career break
« on: February 14, 2021, 12:01:27 PM »
Hi, I'm hoping to get some advice on a decision I'm facing.

For a long time I've been planning to do a "Coast FI" type of thing. The plan was to save up a bunch of money while working at my well-paying tech job. Then when the savings are enough, I would switch to something more rewarding and part time and just cover my expenses as I coast to retirement age. (I'm 36 btw). My current plan for a "coast" job is working as a part time computer science teacher at the local community college. That requires a Master's degree in computer science, so I recently started on that. 

And then COVID happened...

Schools here have been closed since March of 2020 and I couldn't find suitable childcare/education for my 7-year-old kid (there are some special needs that make it a little more challenging to find the right fit). By November 2020 I was reaching a breaking point and went on an extended leave of absence. Now I've only got one week of leave left, so I'm having to decide whether to return to work or resign.

I have LOVED being on leave. I can't overstate how wonderful it has been for every person in our household. Everyone is happier and healthier, the relationships are better, the house is cleaner, the expenses are down. It's clearly so much better for us all. The prospect of going back to work fills me with dread and I worry about my kiddo's mental/emotional well-being too.

I'm just torn about whether or not it makes sense financially to resign right now. Please take a look at my numbers and let me know what you think!

Assets:
$125k in non-retirement savings (mostly in Betterment)
$304k in retirement savings (mostly in company 401k)
$25k in an health savings account

Our home is conservatively worth $650k. We recently refinanced with a 30-year fixed at 3.37%. The principal is $315k, so our equity is about $333k. (But we don't plan on moving any time soon.)

We don't have any debt other than the mortgage, so our net worth is about $787k.

Income:
My husband's pre-tax salary is $45k (he plans to continue working until normal retirement age)
We also rent out our basement for $700 a month

Spending:
We usually spend about $70k a year. Looking at our spending, I think we could painlessly bring that closer to $52k a year.

I'm thinking that if I resigned, I could use my $125k in non-retirement savings to cover any shortfall between my husband's salary and our spending. Even if we didn't reduce our spending at all, that money should last for at least 4-5 years. In that time I would finish my Master's degree and most likely I would have found some fun part time job too (once COVID is over and I've got childcare again). Honestly, I think it's possible that we would barely touch the $125k savings because we'd probably reduce our spending and I'd probably take on some part-time gig within 12 months or so.

If I do NOT resign, I would come back to my previous situation which is 100% remote (even before COVID) and $180k salary. I told my boss that I if I came back, it would only be part time (10-15 hours a week) because of the ongoing childcare/education issues caused by COVID. He essentially said that he wanted to keep me at full-time status/salary but he understands that I might only be able to work 10-15 hours a week. I think he just really wants to retain me. (I would be difficult to replace).

It seems CRAZY to turn down the offer of a $180k salary for 10-15 hours of week! But it also seems CRAZY to return to a job I dislike and put myself and my family into an unhealthy situation again, especially if I'm not sure we even need the money.

I met with a counselor (LMHC) a few weeks ago and talked through everything and she basically encouraged me to resign. My heart is definitely telling me to resign but I still feel freaked out about walking away from the money.

Any advice? How do the numbers look? Has anyone faced a similar choice?

Thanks in advance!

uniwelder

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2021, 12:11:01 PM »
What are you and your husband's thoughts on him quitting his job to stay home, take care of your kid, cook, clean?  You make 180k and he makes 45K.  If you're looking to save money while having an organized home, this makes sense.  If he wants to stay employed until retirement age, could he take a break for a few years and then get back in?

ender

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2021, 12:13:24 PM »
Could you just do 2 days a week? Maybe Monday/Tuesday?

Seems like you might as well try that. Worst case, you realize "nope, I really should have just quit" and quit.

Best case, you have an easy mode $180k/year for minimal work.


Rdy2Fire

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2021, 07:31:55 PM »
I get hating a good paying tech job but 10-15hrs, even 20, keeping your full time pay and benefits while working from home, to me it's a no brainer that you suck it up for a few more years. Again I totally hated my tech job at the end but older and you know you're not retiring yet so might as well collect the fat pay day. In essence doing PT getting paid FT you just doubled your salary

use2betrix

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2021, 09:11:39 PM »
So your husband makes $45k working full time, and you have the opportunity to make $180k working 10-15 hours/wk, and you donít want to continue with that?

I canít imagine a job that is so terrible that itís not worth working 10-15 hrs/wk (remotely) for that income.

Whatís your mortgage on your house? Seems like a lot for a $45k income.

Have you considered some books on topics like positive thinking? You may find it might just take a mild mindset change to not make the situation so bad.

Lizzy13

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2021, 09:55:53 PM »
Quote
What are you and your husband's thoughts on him quitting his job to stay home, take care of your kid, cook, clean?  You make 180k and he makes 45K.
I won't get into all the details, but my husband doesn't want to leave his job at the moment. It's a small business and something that he is passionate about.

Quote
Whatís your mortgage on your house? Seems like a lot for a $45k income.
The mortgage is $2,100 a month. I agree that it's a lot. We rent the lower level for $700/month to offset. We're in a HCOL living area (median home value is over $900k!).

It sounds like people think I should stick with the job for at least a bit longer. The job is not terrible and I was able to do it with a reasonably good attitude for many years before COVID happened.

It's just really hard to juggle the kiddo all day and do his remote learning plus my own job and grad school and all the house stuff.

I guess I'm just fatigued and ready to throw in the towel. I was thinking that maybe I had enough money saved up that it was okay to take a break. :(

Mrs. Sloth

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2021, 10:08:42 PM »
If your stress with the job is truly caused by issues caused by COVID, and will be resolved once COVID restrictions for school/childcare, etc are lifted and your boss is accommodating to less hours for the same pay, then it doesnt seem like a good idea to give up the high paying job.

If your job is terribly stressful during normal circumstances and it affects your health and family life, then it may be a different story but you just said it isnt terrible.

deborah

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2021, 10:47:45 PM »
Your work is offering you a Coast FIRE job, and you want to turn it down to get something that pays less and is for longer hours?

expatartist

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2021, 11:33:39 PM »
This 'healthy vs unhealthy' situation isn't just up to you to manage. It's up to everyone in the household. The covid reset has allowed many of us to reevaluate our lives. How can you H ensure these healthier aspects remain a part of your lives as well?

Why isn't your H considering leaving his 45k job? If your H had the 180k job and yours paid 45k, who would be more likely to leave theirs?

Morning Glory

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2021, 05:26:46 AM »
Quote
What are you and your husband's thoughts on him quitting his job to stay home, take care of your kid, cook, clean?  You make 180k and he makes 45K.
I won't get into all the details, but my husband doesn't want to leave his job at the moment. It's a small business and something that he is passionate about.

Quote
Whatís your mortgage on your house? Seems like a lot for a $45k income.
The mortgage is $2,100 a month. I agree that it's a lot. We rent the lower level for $700/month to offset. We're in a HCOL living area (median home value is over $900k!).

It sounds like people think I should stick with the job for at least a bit longer. The job is not terrible and I was able to do it with a reasonably good attitude for many years before COVID happened.

It's just really hard to juggle the kiddo all day and do his remote learning plus my own job and grad school and all the house stuff.

I guess I'm just fatigued and ready to throw in the towel. I was thinking that maybe I had enough money saved up that it was okay to take a break. :(

I get it. It's not reasonable for your husband to expect you to do all the house/kid stuff plus work and support the family. Can he do the remote learning, or clean the house, or something? Otherwise you are pretty much a single mom, no wonder you are stressed out.

 I've been there.  I did all the housework and a lot of the kids stuff for so long I got used to it, even though my husband stays home.  A couple months ago I had a huge meltdown and threatened to leave him because he wasn't pulling his weight. He's been better since but I had to show him how to clean a toilet, that's how bad it was. I also have to remind him about boundaries a lot when I work from home, or else he thinks I can watch the kids while he does this or that, and then I don't get my work done.


Metalcat

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2021, 05:57:27 AM »
K. There's A LOT going on here.

First, if you feel you need to leave your job, then leave your job. It doesn't matter how much it pays, it doesn't matter what people on the internet think is a "reasonable" amount of stress for 10-15hrs of work. Only you know if you're at a point where you *need* to quit.

Of course if you can handle it, you should stay at this job, but if you can't handle it, then don't. I held on to my job that paid much more than DH's as long as I possibly could, but I quit the second my finances allowed it, and I regret nothing.

Now, my circumstances are different. I have a physical illness that made working incredibly painful, so no one questions my decision. However, mental health is just as important as physical health.
So if your health is deteriorating, then the responsible thing is to address that.

Now, is quitting your job the best way to address that? That's up to you to decide.

Like others, I note that you seem to be carrying the load of housework and childcare despite your DH not earning very much. You've said he wants to keep working, but a marriage is a partnership and he can't just unilaterally make that decision.

If you *want* to keep your job, and what you need is more support at home, then you quitting and him working is nonsense. However, if you don't want to keep your job, then I understand why you aren't pushing for that option.

That said, you seem to want to leave your *current* job, not the workforce in general. What are your long term plans with this new graduate degree? Is it likely to lead you back to a high paying career?

If so, then who cares about leaving this particular job? Taking some time off of work to care for your kid during Covid, finish your graduate degree, and repair your mental health is a TOTALLY REASONABLE thing to do.

Your DH wants to work to retirement age, you sound like you probably want to keep working for a time once you finish your degree. Neither of you are in any rush to FIRE, you've got plenty of cash available, and you can easily cut your expenses.

So yes, on one hand, one can look at your situation and say "of course you should stay at your 180K job for 15-20 hrs a week" but it's also totally reasonable to say "of course you shouldn't go back to your job that is damaging your mental health, while trying to home school a special needs kid during Covid if you can afford not to".

I think the truth is that you aren't here asking a financial question, you are here asking permission not to go back to work.

Well, here's my official stance: don't go back to work.

I talk to a lot of people about their careers and their mental health. If you had the mental capacity to go back to work, there's no way you would be questioning the insanely sweet deal they are offering you. Someone who can even possibly handle it would automatically jump to at least trying it. The fact that you want to bail before even trying tells me more than I need to know about how severely you are being affected.

The very fact that you are asking a bunch of internet strangers about it, when the decision is so obviously not a financial one, but a mental health one, and your own therapist has supported you leaving???

Yeah, that's mental health red flags flapping everywhere.

So if what you need is permission from an internet stranger to leave your job despite it sounding ideal on paper, then you have it. Don't go back. Keep focusing on your health and your family. Spend some quality time with your DH making sustainable plans for the future that you can BOTH thrive in.

KarefulKactus15

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2021, 07:59:39 AM »
At first I was a yes leave.... I did this recently and my life is at least 5x better in every aspect. I've used this time to pursue things I enjoy which just happens to buy buying / starting businesses.  I'm in the middle of starting my 3rd one which is on track to blow away the income from my last w2 job by late summer. 

So I was a yes leave!   Then I saw your salary and your spouses salary and the difference. Then I was a no maybe not, tough it out etc etc.....

But then I remembered my last job, I couldn't have worked another month if they cut my hours by 1/2 and doubled my pay.  When you are done...you are done. 

I'm not sure what is so bad about your job, but I assume it can't be fixed.

If you want to leave, leave.   I originally left on a "break" - but the lifestyle was so amazing I decided I'll do anything to make it permanent so that's what I did with out of the box ideas that I would have never thought of previously.

You'll make it either way tbh.  Don't underrate life satisfaction.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2021, 11:31:36 AM »
You sound quite burnt out. So, yes, quit and take the time you need.
But sit down with your husband and discuss a fair division of tasks, even if you stay home. Child care for a special needs child can be a fulltime job in itself. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, household management in addition can become too much.
And reduce your expenses as much as you can. If the purchase of your house was based on your high income, then maybe you should (after you as less stressed) consider moving somewhere cheaper. Your husband should also understand that the high earner is no longer earning money and he should therefore contribute to the plan of lowering expenses, based on his remaining salary.

Green_Tea

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2021, 02:19:55 PM »
It's just really hard to juggle the kiddo all day and do his remote learning plus my own job and grad school and all the house stuff.

I guess I'm just fatigued and ready to throw in the towel. I was thinking that maybe I had enough money saved up that it was okay to take a break. :(

I see you
- taking care of your kid the whole day
- doing your job
- doing grad school
- doing all the house stuff
all at the same time. I can totally understand that this is too much. Who do you think could do all this for more than say a couple of weeks or months? Also it's totally ok to stop working.
Seeing this whole picture and if the "whole day" and "all the house stuff" aren't just a manner of speaking (so that the whole day is actually half the day and all the house stuff is actually all my half of the housework) I think you and your husband put you in a very bad position. It's the typical caregiver situation: you're taking care of the kid, husband and house. This division of labor however only works IMO if someone has at least only a part time job. Otherwise you have 2 jobs (regular + kid/house) not even considering grad school.
WFH puts you in an even worse spot - you supposedly "can" juggle all that stuff that just comes up as opposed to being happily away at work with no other obligations than to, you know, work.

So as "everyone" else seems to say, I think you should totally discuss division of labor and also you could think about outsourcing tasks.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 02:26:20 PM by Green_Tea »

KarefulKactus15

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2021, 08:00:59 AM »
Division of labor - maybe this is my ignorance talking but it seems someone could outsource a lot of the house things with such a high salary and not be affected. 

I'm sure the grad school takes alot also. Not really a way to outsource that :/.

Metalcat

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2021, 08:07:34 AM »
Division of labor - maybe this is my ignorance talking but it seems someone could outsource a lot of the house things with such a high salary and not be affected. 

I'm sure the grad school takes alot also. Not really a way to outsource that :/.

Yeah, I think a lot of serious conversations need to be had in figuring out what the shared life is going to look like moving forward.

Runrunrun

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2021, 08:14:13 AM »
Hey there.. based on the sweet deal your boss offered you... I would venture to guess that he would probably welcome you back with open arms even if you fully resigned and changed your mind months later?

I could be reading that wrong, but thinking of it that way, the decision doesn't feel as dire/permanent and I would definitely lean towards taking a break.

Mrs Brightside

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2021, 09:26:25 AM »
My opinion: Put the Masters degree on hold until COVID situation clears up and your kid can go back to school. Keep the job since they are open to you working very part time hours for full pay. Whatever household tasks you can outsource, do it to make life easier for now. You can afford to do that more than quitting. If youíve done all that and still are overwhelmed, maybe your boss would give you a more part time position?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 10:01:41 AM by Mrs Brightside »

KarefulKactus15

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2021, 01:37:28 PM »
Division of labor - maybe this is my ignorance talking but it seems someone could outsource a lot of the house things with such a high salary and not be affected. 

I'm sure the grad school takes alot also. Not really a way to outsource that :/.

Yeah, I think a lot of serious conversations need to be had in figuring out what the shared life is going to look like moving forward.

I read somewhere that a lot of women feel a type of shame/ guilt for outsourcing. Like they aren't good enough or something of that type.


Metalcat

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2021, 07:10:25 PM »
Division of labor - maybe this is my ignorance talking but it seems someone could outsource a lot of the house things with such a high salary and not be affected. 

I'm sure the grad school takes alot also. Not really a way to outsource that :/.

Yeah, I think a lot of serious conversations need to be had in figuring out what the shared life is going to look like moving forward.

I read somewhere that a lot of women feel a type of shame/ guilt for outsourcing. Like they aren't good enough or something of that type.

I know a lot of women feel pressure to do everything, and that seems to be what OP has experienced, and has clearly hit the wall, and hard. We won't know the details though unless OP comes back and participates more, which they may or may not choose to do.

Morning Glory

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2021, 08:03:09 PM »
Division of labor - maybe this is my ignorance talking but it seems someone could outsource a lot of the house things with such a high salary and not be affected. 

I'm sure the grad school takes alot also. Not really a way to outsource that :/.

Yeah, I think a lot of serious conversations need to be had in figuring out what the shared life is going to look like moving forward.

I read somewhere that a lot of women feel a type of shame/ guilt for outsourcing. Like they aren't good enough or something of that type.

Why don't men feel that way? Why? Why can't op's fucking husband do at least his half of the kid/house care. Or quit his hobby job so op can focus on work.

MayDay

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2021, 08:31:53 PM »
Division of labor - maybe this is my ignorance talking but it seems someone could outsource a lot of the house things with such a high salary and not be affected. 

I'm sure the grad school takes alot also. Not really a way to outsource that :/.

Yeah, I think a lot of serious conversations need to be had in figuring out what the shared life is going to look like moving forward.

I read somewhere that a lot of women feel a type of shame/ guilt for outsourcing. Like they aren't good enough or something of that type.

It can also be because outsourcing is more up front work, and still requires mental load.

What is easier today: doing the dishes, or trying to find a cleaner, training them, and dealing with performance issues?

If her H wants to keep his hobby job a better solution than her outsourcing things might be for him to take responsibility for them, whether that is doing them himself or handling the outsourcing.

Metalcat

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2021, 04:51:01 AM »
Division of labor - maybe this is my ignorance talking but it seems someone could outsource a lot of the house things with such a high salary and not be affected. 

I'm sure the grad school takes alot also. Not really a way to outsource that :/.

Yeah, I think a lot of serious conversations need to be had in figuring out what the shared life is going to look like moving forward.

I read somewhere that a lot of women feel a type of shame/ guilt for outsourcing. Like they aren't good enough or something of that type.

It can also be because outsourcing is more up front work, and still requires mental load.

What is easier today: doing the dishes, or trying to find a cleaner, training them, and dealing with performance issues?

If her H wants to keep his hobby job a better solution than her outsourcing things might be for him to take responsibility for them, whether that is doing them himself or handling the outsourcing.

K.

We don't know what their division of labour is, we just know that OP was doing more housework while not working, and I consider it offensive to call anyone's career a "hobby job". Just imagine if we were referring to a lower earning woman's career that way.

We also don't know if his career doesn't have more earning potential. OP said it was a business, so perhaps it has room to grow. Again, we don't know because OP has provided very limited information.

OP and DH do CLEARLY need to have some serious conversations about roles and responsibilities because OP sounds seriously burnt out, and when I was going through it, DH and I have had probably hundreds of hours of talks about how we could structure our lives differently.

Yes, perhaps OP's DH is an oblivious ass with traditional domestic gender expectations despite making substantially less, but jumping to that conclusion and denigrating someone's career that they obviously value doesn't sit well with me.

MayDay

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2021, 05:13:11 AM »
Division of labor - maybe this is my ignorance talking but it seems someone could outsource a lot of the house things with such a high salary and not be affected. 

I'm sure the grad school takes alot also. Not really a way to outsource that :/.

Yeah, I think a lot of serious conversations need to be had in figuring out what the shared life is going to look like moving forward.

I read somewhere that a lot of women feel a type of shame/ guilt for outsourcing. Like they aren't good enough or something of that type.

It can also be because outsourcing is more up front work, and still requires mental load.

What is easier today: doing the dishes, or trying to find a cleaner, training them, and dealing with performance issues?

If her H wants to keep his hobby job a better solution than her outsourcing things might be for him to take responsibility for them, whether that is doing them himself or handling the outsourcing.

K.

We don't know what their division of labour is, we just know that OP was doing more housework while not working, and I consider it offensive to call anyone's career a "hobby job". Just imagine if we were referring to a lower earning woman's career that way.

We also don't know if his career doesn't have more earning potential. OP said it was a business, so perhaps it has room to grow. Again, we don't know because OP has provided very limited information.

OP and DH do CLEARLY need to have some serious conversations about roles and responsibilities because OP sounds seriously burnt out, and when I was going through it, DH and I have had probably hundreds of hours of talks about how we could structure our lives differently.

Yes, perhaps OP's DH is an oblivious ass with traditional domestic gender expectations despite making substantially less, but jumping to that conclusion and denigrating someone's career that they obviously value doesn't sit well with me.

My use of hobby job was a poor choice.

However there is a reason women jump to these conclusions about division of labor. If that hasn't been your experience, I'm happy for you.

Morning Glory

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2021, 05:51:41 AM »

Yes, perhaps OP's DH is an oblivious ass with traditional domestic gender expectations despite making substantially less, but jumping to that conclusion and denigrating someone's career that they obviously value doesn't sit well with me.

My use of hobby job was a poor choice.

However there is a reason women jump to these conclusions about division of labor. If that hasn't been your experience, I'm happy for you.

Thank you Mayday. I used hobby job first. It was a poor choice of words. I know plenty of women in the same situation as op.  I have been in that situation and it's frustrating. I'm still angry about some things even though it's my fault for putting up with it for so long.


Metalcat

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2021, 09:40:42 AM »
Division of labor - maybe this is my ignorance talking but it seems someone could outsource a lot of the house things with such a high salary and not be affected. 

I'm sure the grad school takes alot also. Not really a way to outsource that :/.

Yeah, I think a lot of serious conversations need to be had in figuring out what the shared life is going to look like moving forward.

I read somewhere that a lot of women feel a type of shame/ guilt for outsourcing. Like they aren't good enough or something of that type.

It can also be because outsourcing is more up front work, and still requires mental load.

What is easier today: doing the dishes, or trying to find a cleaner, training them, and dealing with performance issues?

If her H wants to keep his hobby job a better solution than her outsourcing things might be for him to take responsibility for them, whether that is doing them himself or handling the outsourcing.

K.

We don't know what their division of labour is, we just know that OP was doing more housework while not working, and I consider it offensive to call anyone's career a "hobby job". Just imagine if we were referring to a lower earning woman's career that way.

We also don't know if his career doesn't have more earning potential. OP said it was a business, so perhaps it has room to grow. Again, we don't know because OP has provided very limited information.

OP and DH do CLEARLY need to have some serious conversations about roles and responsibilities because OP sounds seriously burnt out, and when I was going through it, DH and I have had probably hundreds of hours of talks about how we could structure our lives differently.

Yes, perhaps OP's DH is an oblivious ass with traditional domestic gender expectations despite making substantially less, but jumping to that conclusion and denigrating someone's career that they obviously value doesn't sit well with me.

My use of hobby job was a poor choice.

However there is a reason women jump to these conclusions about division of labor. If that hasn't been your experience, I'm happy for you.

There's a difference between knowing that it's probable and offering the appropriate support to someone struggling vs actively shitting on someone we don't know.

Also, I quoted you, but I was also referring to the pp who said "Why can't op's fucking husband do at least his half of the kid/house care. Or quit his hobby job so op can focus on work."

In my very first post I commented on how she and her DH needed to address division of labour and earning with a clear indication that she is obviously over burdened and her husband must play an active role in rebalancing.

However, I don't think it helps OP at all to put her DH on trial, belittle his career, which they both seem to take seriously, and which will likely become their sole income, and perhaps even put her in a position to have to defend him from us, even though he may be a major part of the problem.

Don't assume that just because I don't want to possibly alienate the OP that I don't understand gender dynamics.

KarefulKactus15

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2021, 01:15:46 PM »
I just realized the OP has 2 post.  I sort of doubt they visit this again tbh.

Metalcat

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2021, 02:50:38 PM »
I just realized the OP has 2 post.  I sort of doubt they visit this again tbh.

Yep, probably not.
If they're a real poster, I hope they find what they need to manage their burnout.

Lizzy13

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2021, 05:16:28 PM »
I'm here! I really appreciate all of the thoughtful responses. Sorry I haven't participated more. At first I was trying to gather my thoughts and then I was a little dismayed by some of the comments about my husband and I wasn't sure how to respond.

My husband is definitely showing up 100%. It's true that he's doing a lot less housework and childcare right now, but that's because he is working out of the house full-time at a job that is much more difficult during COVID. I can't imagine asking him to do any more than he is doing right now.

Also, he has already interrupted his career twice to be a stay-at-home dad so that I could advance my career. His job is meaningful despite the low pay and I would not ask him to leave it again as long as there are other options.

I still feel conflicted about whether or not to quit my job. I do feel really burned out but I can't tell how much of that is actually related to the job and how much is COVID-fatigue plus seasonal affective disorder.

The most valuable take away I've gotten from this thread is that I am okay either way and either decision can be reversed easily.

It sounds like my boss is going to be chill and have low expectations for me while COVID restrictions are still in place. I'll also be doing a different type of work (non-customer facing, totally asynchronous). So I've decided to try and chill out, return to work, and just take it one day at a time. Maybe it will be okay? If not, I can resign at any time.

I appreciate the comments about outsourcing tasks and finding a better balance. I've had a bunch of conversations with my husband. He is supportive of whatever choice I want to make career-wise but he believes I am too inflexible about doing everything myself. I'm trying to take that to heart, so over the past few days I booked a regular housecleaning service and hired people to do some home maintenance stuff that I would normally do myself (like gutter cleaning, cleaning mildew from the wood siding, etc). I also reserved a weekly time slot for a walking meditation program.

We'll see how it goes. I'm trying to focus on the fact that everything will be okay regardless. Thanks for all the advice and ideas.

maisymouser

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2021, 07:37:39 PM »
I'm here! I really appreciate all of the thoughtful responses. Sorry I haven't participated more. At first I was trying to gather my thoughts and then I was a little dismayed by some of the comments about my husband and I wasn't sure how to respond.

My husband is definitely showing up 100%. It's true that he's doing a lot less housework and childcare right now, but that's because he is working out of the house full-time at a job that is much more difficult during COVID. I can't imagine asking him to do any more than he is doing right now.

Also, he has already interrupted his career twice to be a stay-at-home dad so that I could advance my career. His job is meaningful despite the low pay and I would not ask him to leave it again as long as there are other options.

I still feel conflicted about whether or not to quit my job. I do feel really burned out but I can't tell how much of that is actually related to the job and how much is COVID-fatigue plus seasonal affective disorder.

The most valuable take away I've gotten from this thread is that I am okay either way and either decision can be reversed easily.

It sounds like my boss is going to be chill and have low expectations for me while COVID restrictions are still in place. I'll also be doing a different type of work (non-customer facing, totally asynchronous). So I've decided to try and chill out, return to work, and just take it one day at a time. Maybe it will be okay? If not, I can resign at any time.

I appreciate the comments about outsourcing tasks and finding a better balance. I've had a bunch of conversations with my husband. He is supportive of whatever choice I want to make career-wise but he believes I am too inflexible about doing everything myself. I'm trying to take that to heart, so over the past few days I booked a regular housecleaning service and hired people to do some home maintenance stuff that I would normally do myself (like gutter cleaning, cleaning mildew from the wood siding, etc). I also reserved a weekly time slot for a walking meditation program.

We'll see how it goes. I'm trying to focus on the fact that everything will be okay regardless. Thanks for all the advice and ideas.

Lizzy- sorry this was your first experience posting in the forums, it doesn't usually get this charged honestly and it's a great community with very well-intended and often super useful feedback.

It sounds like you are really on the right track with where you are at. I'm not here didn't start this reply to give advice but am really supportive of the outsourcing, which I'm sure doesn't *feel* great to do especially if you know you CAN do it yourself.

I guess my one thought/idea might be this: I know school is pretty out of the question right now but so you think there is any part-time nanny or babysitter situation that could provide you with a little more relief during the day or even on weeknights/weekends? Something to give yourself some more 'you' time? I broke down and hired a good friend (OK, our housemate that we are aligned on COVID precautions with) to watch our toddler for ~6h/week and it has been TREMENDOUSLY positive for my mental health. This might be a lot more challenging with a child that has special needs, or maybe impossible. Or maybe you need the peace of mind knowing that you are following your own COVID protocols and don't need to introduce another variable. But I did want to throw it out there since it has been such a game changer for me this spring.

As for the job, I think only you are going to be able to make the right decision for yourself. As you and others have said, it is something that will probably work out either way. I would be wary of planning to drop your expenses 25% to make quitting work, though- unless you have really plugged in some numbers it seems like a big drop in expenditures that is likely to be harder in practice, especially in a HCOL area.

FLBiker

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2021, 03:24:36 AM »
Thanks for the update!  It sounds like you and your husband are communicating well, which is obviously very important, and +1 on both the decision to outsource where possible, and to make time to meditate.  I've found meditation to be extremely helpful.

youngwildandfree

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #31 on: February 19, 2021, 05:40:47 AM »
Thanks for updating Lizzy! Glad to see you're still interested in participating after the comments about your husband. Gender dynamics are so complex, and even if labor devision was unfairly balanced I find it so unhelpful for people to point to that puzzle piece as the solution to burnout. I'm glad to hear your husband is invested in parenting your child and in finding ways to reduce your burnout as a family. Kudos on the outsourcing!

I recently changed jobs after going through burnout, and I am still working on managing the other puzzle pieces in my life. The job change was SO helpful for me, even though I work the same number of hours and have very similar responsibilities. The biggest change for me has been a more concrete separation of work and home life. This can be really challenging when working from home, but simple changes like making sure to get dressed or changing the location of your workspace may be helpful short term in allowing your brain restructure the division of responsibilities.

Runrunrun

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #32 on: February 19, 2021, 05:57:22 AM »
I also think you should keep in mind, it could be tough to get any supportive advice for making an unusual career change/break when you are making a comparatively high income to who you are asking.
I know many people here have high salaries, but even so, many of us will look at your salary and those hours and think, woah, I would never give that up! That's crazy!
But they are not you!

I am glad to see that you are on the same page that the decision isn't do or die. I hope you come across some clarity and am excited and curious to see what you decide!
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 06:44:57 AM by hipsail »

Metalcat

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Re: Considering a career break
« Reply #33 on: February 19, 2021, 07:37:24 AM »
I'm here! I really appreciate all of the thoughtful responses. Sorry I haven't participated more. At first I was trying to gather my thoughts and then I was a little dismayed by some of the comments about my husband and I wasn't sure how to respond.

My husband is definitely showing up 100%. It's true that he's doing a lot less housework and childcare right now, but that's because he is working out of the house full-time at a job that is much more difficult during COVID. I can't imagine asking him to do any more than he is doing right now.

Also, he has already interrupted his career twice to be a stay-at-home dad so that I could advance my career. His job is meaningful despite the low pay and I would not ask him to leave it again as long as there are other options.

I still feel conflicted about whether or not to quit my job. I do feel really burned out but I can't tell how much of that is actually related to the job and how much is COVID-fatigue plus seasonal affective disorder.

The most valuable take away I've gotten from this thread is that I am okay either way and either decision can be reversed easily.

It sounds like my boss is going to be chill and have low expectations for me while COVID restrictions are still in place. I'll also be doing a different type of work (non-customer facing, totally asynchronous). So I've decided to try and chill out, return to work, and just take it one day at a time. Maybe it will be okay? If not, I can resign at any time.

I appreciate the comments about outsourcing tasks and finding a better balance. I've had a bunch of conversations with my husband. He is supportive of whatever choice I want to make career-wise but he believes I am too inflexible about doing everything myself. I'm trying to take that to heart, so over the past few days I booked a regular housecleaning service and hired people to do some home maintenance stuff that I would normally do myself (like gutter cleaning, cleaning mildew from the wood siding, etc). I also reserved a weekly time slot for a walking meditation program.

We'll see how it goes. I'm trying to focus on the fact that everything will be okay regardless. Thanks for all the advice and ideas.

Thanks for coming back.

I knew that if your husband was supportive that some of the comments would make it difficult for you, that's why I spoke up.

However, those comments that people made were 100% intended to be supportive. None of those people were trying to attack you or your husband, they were just inferring reasonable, but inaccurate conclusions and offering what they thought was the best form of support.

So try to recognize that what you got was actually an outpouring of defense for you, not anything meant to feel like an attack on your marriage. If you look at it through that lense, people were being loving, they just didn't have all of the info. Now that they do, I'm sure they'll be thrilled to know that your husband isn't one of the many who takes his wife's labours for granted.

Okay, onto my feedback.

If you feel you can try work, then absolutely do it. As you said, you can always still quit after trying. That's always what I've done. I've had a few periods where I was off work and dreaded going back and considered giving my notice and not returning, but each time, I decided to go back and said "I'll know the first day if I'm done". The benefit was not that I might decide to stay at the job, the benefit was that it allowed me to be 100% certain that I was making the right choice.

So go back and see what happens. Then you will know.

As for outsourcing and the pressure you put on yourself to do it all. WHY IN GOD'S NAME WOULD YOU DO THAT???

Are you expecting an award for dusting your own windowsills? Here's where my feminism is flipping the fuck out. Do you also feel the need to do your own plumbing? Do you do your own car maintenance?

Do you actually feel the need to do everything you can yourself, or do you just feel the need to do the "wifely" things like cooking and cleaning?

If it's just the "wifely" tasks you don't feel comfortable outsourcing, then you need to think long and hard about that, and about what example you are setting for your child.

If there is any task around the house that you feel comfortable outsourcing, then you should also feel comfortable outsourcing any other tasks that are getting in the way of you maintaining balance. You and your family need a thriving wife and mother far, FAR more than they need you to scrub bits of shit from a toilet bowl when you just came home from earning nearly $1000 that day.

Now I want to compare and contrast our situations.
I left work when covid hit, just like you. I had been the much higher earner, just like you. With my free time, I kept my house spotless, I started cooking far more complex and delicious meals, and I felt much better overall, just like you do, because my job had been aggravating my illness, which had left me feeling burnt out, just like you.

Then I got a job offer for a related but much easier job that paid exactly 180K, just like you. DH and I went for a long walk and talked through how we would handle the housework, because there was no way I could handle work, and cooking, and cleaning. DH offered to cook, but I hate his cooking, so we outsourced that. DH would handle the daily cleaning, but we like a weekly thorough clean, so we outsourced that as well, so that it wouldn't eat into our now more limited time together. For about a tenth of my income, we would both maintain our excellent life balance.

I felt zero guilt about any of this because none of these had ever been "my" chores until I stopped working. Back when I was working full time and making even more than 180K, I never did any "wifely" domestic work, absolutely none.

For the first 5 years we lived together, DH did almost all of the cooking except on special occasions. He did all of the cleaning, took care of the dogs, which were mine from before I moved in. My work was too demanding, so he did literally everything. The only housework I did was the "manly" stuff like home repairs and renos, because I'm the handy one.

So why am I so comfortable *not* doing these tasks and why do you feel compelled to do them?

I'm guessing it's because I was raised in a matriarchal family where the men generally do a lot of those tasks, so I feel exactly zero obligation to do them unless I have the time, energy, and inclination to do so.

Incidentally that 180K job didn't work out for my health, I went back to being a housewife, and I happily cook amazing meals, and keep the house spotless, and today I'm swapping out the bathroom faucet for a cool gold one and putting up tile on the wall. I do all of these things because I enjoy them, and me not working right now is the best for me and my family.

So why do you feel like you have to do these domestic tasks, even when you are overloaded with work and your special needs child?
Think about it seriously, where is that pressure coming from, and do you really want to be the type of woman who puts that patriarchal bullshit pressure on *herself*??? Even when your own husband isn't expecting it???

Instead, put pressure on yourself to be as healthy and present as possible for yourself and for your family. What does it take for you to be the healthiest you possible? There's absolutely no honour in this martyr bullshit where you run yourself into the ground. There is A LOT of honour in keeping yourself mentally and physically happy and capable, because no one else in this world can do that for you.

Don't let some nonsense you picked up as a child about what a wife should do drag you down. You and your family get to forge your own definitions of what your role should look like. If that's you being a happy housewife, then great. If that's you being a high earning professional and outsourcing tasks that you don't have energy to do, then great. If it's something else, then great.

Do what WORKS for you and your family, not what some bullshit internalized patriarchal pressure tells you that you should be able to do, even when you know you can't.