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Is your career your life?

December 8th, 2015 at 11:49 am

DH is starting to gain traction on his career choice. He's getting started on his bootcamp in Febraury and is excited. He was called for an interview from Linkedin in his old career and he refused. It would have been a promotion doing what he did but he said he mentally turned a corner and that's what he did. Now is his chance to do something different.

As for me I'm still wavering on what I want to do with my life. But the depressing part? My mom. Last night she tells me I need to get a career and accomplish something with my life. That staying at home raising kids not enough. That she's embarrassed to say I stay at home and do "nothing" when people/friends ask. I need to use my degrees and become "someone" and make something of myself. What am I contributing to this world? Being a housewife isn't enough even if I can do it financially.

I don't know what to write. I am not sure I am that person who wants to have an accomplished career. My DH made a comment the other night "our resumes read like type A personalities, but we're not type A people." That statement is probably why we are together. Neither of us could be with people who have similar degrees from the schools we went to. Instead we're pretty content right now sitting at home doing nothing together but raise our children and hang out. I feel embarrassed right now and I know my DH does too (now) that we aren't ambitious enough.

I guess that's part of the hesitation. Do I go back and get a certificate to jump into something similar to my degree and get a full time job? Or is it acceptable to find a part-time job in retail and work just the hours the kids are in school? Perhaps the problem is that both of us want our life to focus on our life and making money/career is secondary. We work to earn money to live so our jobs aren't important. He wants his job to be fulfilling so when he's looking at job he's adamant he won't take one for the money. Rather he's interested in finding something he wants to do. I support this because I've always said we can make any amount of money work and my DH agrees.

But should we have more ambition? I mean if we lived elsewhere we could retire with more than Mr Money Mustache did. We aren't ready to do that. But in 5 years if DH is unhappy and we continue on our previous saving trajectory % and we have enough is it wrong to leave the career and do nothing again?

Do people love their careers? Or their spouses love their careers? Do you work to accomplish or contribute? Do you work to not be bored? Or is it about the money? Did paying off your debts change why you work?

11 Responses to “Is your career your life?”

  1. Laura S. Says:

    I work both because I want to and because I have to do so. I won't work in a job I hate. I moved in the spring for a job in a new field. I left that job (full-time, good money, benefits) because I hated it, and it was literally making me sick. I am back to working from home (editing) and I love it. My husband isn't working and that is big point of stress in my marriage. There is no reason he can't be doing something. I don't care if it's in his career field or how much he makes, but it does bother me he isn't working at all. There is only one teen at home. I wish I hadn't been a single mom for several years, I would have liked to have worked part-time when my kids were younger. Don't ever be ashamed to stay home and raise the kids.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    You two have worked hard at your jobs AND at saving so that you can stay home (make a cross country move, and change careers). There is no shame in that! Teaching your children to be great human beings isn't nothing. Unfortunately American society is goal/success oriented. But we need all kinds of people in the world!

    I have been home for 16 year with our kids while my husband has worked. He has said he is a bit jealous. However, I know that he needs to be working for his own sanity. He does best when he is busy and feels productive.

    I wish I knew what to tell your mother...that one is the hardest part. But don't change what you are doing JUST so she isn't embarrassed!

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    Ugh, I don't know what to say about what your mom said, other than I can't imagine being embarrassed if one of my hugely smart daughters was a SAHM and happy about it. Ambition and career don't have to be there to prove their worth nor their intelligence.

    In response to your question, my career isn't my life, but a little over a year ago I finally moved into a position at my company that I enjoy more than I've ever enjoyed any job before. I never really minded working, and always thought I'd go kind of crazy without a job, but now I actually enjoy what I'm doing. It's not just busy work -- it's stimulating and fun as well. I never thought I'd have that feeling at work, so it's great. But since I've never before thought of my job as one of my preferred activities like I do now, I've always striven for work-life balance. That hasn't changed -- I can't imagine enjoying it as much if it took away from family and free time.

  4. Janelle Says:

    It's truly unfortunate your mom feels that way and strongly enough to say it out loud to you.

    DH and I always worked while the kids were young (we are presently empty nesters), but we both had jobs that offered flexibility and were able to be present for sports and extracurricular events. I have always worked and enjoyed what I do, but DH was not nearly so fortunate. Once we were completely out of debt, I began structuring our finances so we could live on my income and save DH's income. When his job was eliminated almost 6 years ago, we had been doing that for several years and decided DH should just "retire" at 52. It's worked great for us; I work full-time and am building a self-employment practice while we continue to save for retirement, work toward paying off our 15 year mortgage early (probably another 6 years), and plan/fund our annual home improvement project. While I could also quit my full-time job right now, our goal is to pay off the mortgage and then see where we are with things. It's not for everyone, but it works for us.

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    I am sorry your mom feels that way. Many people do. But it's hard when a parent feels that way.

    That said, it is amazing how much time changes things. My MIL has done a 180 over the years. (& she said something to me recently that tells me she still expects my dh to have great career ambitions - HA! BUT... I do honestly think she let it go and was supportive for several years because our kids were thriving so much). The older I get, the more amazed I am how much people change their opinions over time. Just a reminder that when you are true to yourself that other people eventually come around.

    My mom was always that person who was there for everyone in their hard times, because she wasn't working. I will never understand why people don't value those who don't have traditional jobs or who aren't making money. My takeaway is the opposite. We need more selfless people in this world and I have always greatly admired people like my mom or dh, who have very different strengths and talents. They are the ones with more patience to raise kids, to sit by sick bedsides, etc.

    As with anything, I am pretty moderate. I do enjoy my job and probably plan to work mostly forever. I thrive on a schedule. But I've never been ambitious or career-driven either. My current job is a great mix of high-pay and flexibility. Though I have a lot of responsibility in some respects, there is a LOT of responsibility that I don't take on. I've never had a big commute; I refuse to work crazy hours. I personally feel like I am winding down my career.

    I've thought about mostly not telling people when I retire or even when I switch down to part-time eventually. People just get weird about it. I tend to be a very honest person and I don't really want to hide it. But... I think it's one of those things not everyone needs to know. If it comes up, it comes up, but mostly is no one else's business.

  6. Carol Says:

    I was a SAHM and then I had a 20plus year career. Raising kids is a worthwhile occupation. However, when I read your blog, I am amazed that you self critique as having no ambition. You and your husband, but especially you, are one of the most planful people who writes here. You just have very personal, unique, non- traditional goals. I hope your mom comes to accept and value that.

  7. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I don't love my job, but I don't hate it either. I work because I have to. If I was in a position to NOT have to work, I can think of all sorts of things I'd do with my time. You aren't doing *nothing* - you are doing one of the most important jobs there is - raising your kids!

  8. Miz Pat Says:

    People who base their worth on their jobs die when they retire because they no longer have a reason to live.

    Do what you want - you are not hear to fulfil anyone's ambition even your mom. Raising children is more than honorable and incredibly important. I'm amazed.

    Take care.

  9. VS_ozgirl Says:

    To make your mother not embarrassed how much personal sacrifice would there be on your part? I'm guessing a lot. And I don't think it's worth your time trying to impress her. You've created a life that you're impressed with on the inside, you and your husband stand by your own rules. Your mother should be proud that you're happy with your life and are a good person! Keep doing what you love Smile

  10. PatientSaver Says:

    Try not to worry about what other people, including your mom, say or think about your life. What's important that YOU figure out what will make you happiest. If it's staying home with the kids, then do that. This is such a subjective issue that no one but you can make that decision for yourself.

    I'll add a different viewpoint to those above because I don't have kids, or a spouse for that matter, so I have always worked except for a number of involuntary breaks caused by job layoffs.

    I work because I have to. I have had many rewarding jobs and have learned a lot over the course of my career, but being an introvert, success in the workplace doesn't come naturally. Even as a writer, you're still required to collaborate, work with the team, attend endless time-wasting meetings and so on. So if i had my druthers, I would not be working full time as I have many interests and things I'd like to pursue (tracing my family tree, for instance) if only I had more time.

    This is why my long-term goal has been semi-early retirement at age 60. Not having to work for a living means freedom to me, freedom to make my own choices and decide how each day will be spent. Freedom from mind-numbing sameness, so much time wasted doing unproductive tasks and feeling a bit resentful doing things like driving 6 hours to attend a meeting. Yes, retirement can't come soon enough.

  11. Livingalmostlarge Says:

    Laura S, why is your husband working? Is he disabled? Unable to find work? Does he want to work? Or is it he needs new career training?

    CCF I think that staying at home the hardest part is not being acknowledge for doing "work". It's staying at home raising kid. There is no pay to acknowledge the work. It's even harder than making friends and not being lonely. That is an easier problem to solve.

    Ceejay, i guess it's the expectation that I would go to school and use my degree for something. To "become someone". Climb the corporate ladder or something and be "successful". I don't know how else to explain it.

    Janelle, sounds like a great work life balance you found for you and your spouse. I think it wonderful that he got to "retire" when it happened.

    MM I agree it's hard to tell people that you are scaling back or retiring early. I'm not even sure my DH will retire early but I could be wrong. He might enjoy work he'll do it. If not the plan is still to "retire" at 55.

    Carol what did you go back and do for 20 years after kid? What you did before or something different? Well I lack ambition and my DH too to climb the corporate ladder. To be "the VP or president." The job at the end of the day is a job to pay the bills and enjoy life.

    Frugaltexan there is a lot of pleasure in being with the kids right now. Some days not so pleasurable but others it's amazing.

    Ms Pat its I had heard that as well. I hope that's not true for people.

    VS_oz she's not embarrassed by who I am. But what I do. LOL. But it is hard to please her and I'm not sure that I even could.

    Patient Saver Thanks for the perspective. I think that if i were working I'd likely be dreaming of the day i could retire. What about train up the night before to Boston staying somewhere then taking the train back?

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