Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On Sacrifice

My friend Victoria did a post recently that I could have written (well except that I'm not an attorney).  I have said her exact words over and over throughout the last year since having Allie, I feel mediocre at everything.  As much as I'd like to think I have figured out balance in my life, I have to admit that never truly feel like I am giving 100% to any part of my life anymore, which is incredibly frustrating.  It's the age old debate about whether a woman can have it all, and in my experience, the answer is kind of no.  Even though I do pretty much have everything I could ask for, I feel like all the tanks are sort of half full because I can't dedicate my full energy or time to any one area.  If I am excelling at one thing, it might be at the expense of something else.  I feel that constantly.  Certain areas are definitely lacking because sacrifices were made.

In my mid 20's, while living in the DC area, I got hired at a place where it seemed that there were unlimited possibilities in which direction I could go with my career and only six months after I started, I was promoted, so this reinforced to me the notion that I would love working at this place and would have plenty of growth opportunity.  Then my husband's career took a nose dive (no aviation pun intended) and we decided to relocate to Charlotte.  I actually fought the move for the very reason that I knew it would probably hurt my career and any growth opportunity I had hoped for, but in the end I caved and agreed to it, feeling that it was a sacrifice I would have to make for US, and our future family.  I dreamed of our future kids, being closer distance to my parents, getting out of the DC traffic and "rat race" and decided it was worth the sacrifice when I weighed it all.

When I got to Charlotte, I did a lot to try to position myself to move up, but with few opportunities and a hiring freeze, I kind of had to just coast where I was, I didn't really have a choice for a while.  I got focused on having a baby and cultivating my life outside of work, and things just kind of stayed as they were with my career and I found a way to be okay with that.  Now I've been in my current job seven years, the longest I've been in any job, and while I like it, I am thinking long term and know that I'd like to do something else in my life and don't see myself retiring in this same job- the thought of that bothers the ambitious 20 something girl I used to be.  I want to feel like I'm utilizing more of myself and learning new things, and not just stagnant.

Recently, out of nowhere, an opportunity came up at work for a job I have been interested in for a while.  I spent over a week reworking my resume to apply before the job closed, talked to people about the job, and all the sudden it was something I really wanted, which is something I didn't see coming since I've been more focused on my growing family more than work for the past couple years.  The resume re-working paid off.  I got an interview.  The interview was something I did NOT adequately prepare for though, and found myself fumbling through it.  I did not get the job and I really have to stop myself from slapping myself upside the head, because I really think I could have gotten the job if my interview had gone better.  I can't blame my family, or Allie, or anyone but myself, but at the same time, I know if I didn't have so much going on, I think I would have been able to focus better on preparing for the interview.  I also think I would have been more focused on career in general.

It's stuff like this that makes you question what you are doing.  Like, should I bother working if I'm not even doing what I really am capable of, but don't have the energy/time to put towards getting promoted since I'm so busy with my family and don't have time for further schooling/learning, etc..?  If I'm not getting further with my career anyway, should I just be staying home with my daughter?  It's hard to know.  I know that I do feel like I was right when I thought I should go back to work because I would need the "break" I get when I go to work, since I am the only parent with my daughter for days at a time because of my husband being away.  Even though it makes life busy, I feel like it's good for Allie and I to have that time apart.  Allie is already so dependent on me, since I'm the parent that's there every day, that if we spent even more time together with no other people around, I feel like she'd freak out when she was left with anyone.  So in that respect, I know daycare is good for her, to get used to other caregivers and have interaction with other kids.  And likewise, I need the adult interaction and different challenges I get at work.  But back to my point.  I just feel like if I don't feel like I'm really excelling at my career, it makes all this feel like a little bit of a waste, which sucks.

The other day though, I was talking to someone about what happened with this job.  It's been said to me many times lately in conversations about it, that I could get promoted if I were willing to move.  I know that's true.  And actually, I know Greg would move if it's what I really wanted, because we're not in the place we were in 8 years ago when we felt like we needed to move mainly for financial reasons.  There are a couple places we could move where he could commute as easily from or we could even move to Houston if an opportunity came up for me there, but when I weigh everything I'd have to sacrifice FOR my career, I realize it's not worth it to me.  Even though I sacrificed my career to be in Charlotte, have a family, live somewhere with a lower cost of living, be near my parents...  these things are all more important to me than a promotion.  I imagine moving for a job and starting over making friends, being far away from my parents, missing Charlotte and the life I created here, and I know it wouldn't be worth it if I were in a different job if I were unhappy with the rest of my life outside of work, which is a definite possibility if we moved.  So basically it's worth it for me to be here, where I am now in life, but it doesn't mean that I don't ache when I don't get a promotion and think that if I hadn't had to make certain sacrifices, I could be further along in my career.

Also, read this.  I feel like this reinforces why it's worth it.


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