Thursday, May 06, 2004

When your desk becomes your primary residence, it may be time to re-evaluate your goals.

Maybe it's because I'm turning 30. Or maybe I'm just tired. But lately, I've been wondering what my career plans are.

I never wanted to be a project manager. I wanted to be a journalist. I wanted to write personal interests stories. Now, I work in the healthcare IS industry
and have steadily pushed for a senior status for the last two years. Now, I know my performance warrants the position. I know the company knows this but I've
been told budget constraints prohibit it.

Now, if I was in my early and mid 20's, I'd probably have moved on already. In fact, I've had several head hunters call me and offer me interesting jobs.
But I've turned several down. Why?

To be honest, I believe I'm afraid I'll be like my father. His life was so consumed by his career that his family took a back seat. Not that my dad was a
bad father. I love my dad and would never have changed our relationship. Ok, I would have been nicer during my pre-teen years. :-)

My dad was a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. An OMD or something like that. And he counseled and held symposiums on the use of Eastern medicine to combat the
side effects associated with the Western medical cocktails AIDS and HIV patients took. I am proud of my father's work.

But I also knew that work consumed him. On weekdays he would spend all night studying and researching and meeting with patients. He'd rarely sleep. To make
up for it, the weekends were devoted to us. He'd drive us up the eastern coast for holidays. He'd come home exhausted on Sunday and get right back into the
grind Monday.

I don't want my life to be like that. But I know my work ethics come from my dad. Whenever I'm put on a new assignment, I work above and beyond the call. On
my wedding day, I was on the phone with a vendor hashing out a data extraction. I will always be like this. In home life and work life. It makes me the anal
retentive, obsessive compulsive person that I am.

But lately, with the help of a lack of financial advancement, I've been wondering, is this worth it? My enthusiasm and adrenalin rush have lowered. The
sense of adventure and challenge are gone from my new projects. I am working. I am doing my job but not at that 120% that I usually give. My job has become a

Then why didn't I take those career advancement opportunities? I'm no longer thrilled at the possibility of becoming director. The idea seems less than

Maybe it's because I'm now married. Maybe it's as my brother has put it, I'm starting to nest.

Why should I bust my ass to get to a position that would require more time at work and less time at home? Now, I'm not saying this is the breaker, but
finances are a heavy part of this. Compensation would be nice. And it hurts me to say that because I've never thought of myself as a money type of person. Sure
I love my shoes and my Coach bag but that's not everything to me.

What's everything to me right now is to be able to live a full life. A full life is a balance of work and home. And I'm afraid if I move further up my
career path, I will sacrifice my home for work.

There were times when I had to work because of my OCD that I felt terrible calling my hubby and telling him to order dinner or what not. I've felt terrible
sitting at home working on my laptop while my husband is sick in bed and I can't give him the attention he craves. [Rub my chest. Massage my head.]

If I feel that way now, what will I feel like when I have children?

Women definitely get a heavier burden regarding work and home life. The choices we have to make are heavy. Either choice has guilt.

Some women are the superwomen who "have-it-all". They are supermom and superemployee. I'm sure I could be that. But right now, I don't think it's
attractive. Now, I'm not saying I want to be a stay at home mom. My OCD would not allow that. I still want to work. And I don't want a nanny raising my child.

This is the first time in my life, I've felt like I need to make a decision that will ultimately effect someone else. I know it's not a decision you make
lightly or in one day. In fact, I'm sure I will continue to question and change my answer to this decision. For now, I'm just going to wish that in my next
life, I'm a man.