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Work Sucks

6 March 2007

I have entered the phase where I feel like I need to start figuring out what will happen after I actually bring this child in to the world. My boss has known that I am pregnant for about three weeks now — as sick and tired as I was at work, I couldn’t have her thinking I was just out partying all night. Plus, if something had happened that required me to take time off, I wanted her to be able to know where I was coming from.

Thus far, she has been very supportive. Or as supportive as a married but non-procreating female in her 50’s can be. Interesting tidbit: out of the six women in my department, where I am the sole possessor of a functioning reproductive system, only one other woman has ever had any kids… whereas every single one of the four males has. I guess that’s the sacrifice women are expected to make to have a career. A point driven home even harder by the crappy benefits that pass for maternity leave in this country. But I digress…

Today, my boss (“W”, not as in G. Bush), came to talk to me about my plans for post-delivery work arrangements. I found out that they cover maternity leave under the short-term disability plan which, after seven days of vacation, kicks in to pay 66 2/3% of your weekly salary for up to 26 weeks. Sounds great, right? Except they gloss over the fact that it only covers you while you’re deemed medically unable to work, which for a standard birth is just six weeks.

I’m sure anyone who has had a child can attest to the fact that, at six weeks post-partum, you are just barely beginning to regain some semblance of order to a world that has been turned upside down. Add to that the fact that Tim will be either preparing to deploy or deployed at that point and you must be out of your ever-loving mind if you think I’m going back to work at week seven.

In my favor, I work in a job that can mostly be done via phone or over the Internet. Not in my favor, I work in a company that thinks telecommuting is what AT&T employees do when they drive to the office. So I was surprised and a bit hopeful when W. actually brought up the possibility of me being able to do some work from home after my initial six week stint. But it sounds like they would only be willing to do that long enough to get me through the holidays, or about 12 weeks, which was what I was aiming for to begin with at a minimum.

Ultimately, I think I am going to have to find a way to become self-employed or find a company that embraces the concept of alternative work arrangements. I don’t love this job enough to come to the office 40+ hours a week. I’m open to ideas, suggestions, and stories on what you did when you or your spouse had children. Am I being silly and unrealistic to want to can a perfectly good, stable job for the sake of staying at home?

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