Or You Could Say “Congratulations”

“How are you going to manage that?”

“I’m sorry.”

“Are you going to be able to keep up with everything?”

“Maybe you should wait a couple of years.”

“Congratulations.”

Finally! Eventually I received a positive response on my increase in paid work hours.

I’ve been at a little over half time in my public library job for a number of years. And that’s been okay, as I was raising my kids, etc., etc. It’s hard to move beyond that hours-wise without a real library science degree. But there are a few opportunities here and there, on occasion. For quite a while, I’ve been watching for a chance to increase my hours, planning to pounce at the first opening.

My moment arrived a couple of months ago (hence the suspension of blogging activities.) Is this the perfect moment to add more to my workload? No. I still have two teens at home, and helping my mom is like having a second job, especially when it comes to dealing with Medicaid. But another opportunity might not occur for …who knows?

Has it been a big adjustment, and have others had to sacrifice? Yes on both counts. I’ve cut actual visits to my mom from three times per week to two. I’m not as available to help keep my son on track with his schoolwork (he has auditory processing difficulties and thus needs more parental involvement than some kids his age.) I don’t even pretend to try to make dinner before reporting for my twice-weekly evening shifts. I don’t write as much, and I panic a little more about whether I’m going to cover the essential tasks of keeping life running.

Was it the wrong decision? No. Could I have waited a couple of years? I’m not certain if another opportunity would come along. And we do certainly have uses for the money right now. My older child is attending community college, which is not free. One of our vehicles has 180,000+ miles on the engine. Our house is old and falling apart. And then there are the mid-life crisis and retirement fund issues.

Could I wait a couple of years? I’m not getting any younger. At some point I have to stop waiting to do things. And there are days when I feel as if I’ve waited away half my life already. Plus, seeing up close what happens  when you’re old and you run out of money has lit a fire under me to save as much as I can for retirement, starting immediately.

I did think things through. For the person who asked – do you know me at all? I have a well-deserved reputation for over-thinking decisions. How am I going to manage? The same way millions of people do. I’ll live with a little more dust and there will be nights I won’t sleep enough. I’ll hit the top priorities on my to-do list and the rest will slide.

I’ve worked hard to get one of the coveted more-hours-benefitted positions at my workplace. I’ve worked hard to be reliable and competent. I’ve pro-actively pursued training opportunities and volunteered for additional responsibilities. One of the hazards of working for pay part-time or not at all is the ease with which you can start to question your own value. Many days I wondered if I had lost the ability to support myself. Psychologically, getting this position was a big boost. My work has been noticed and valued. I’m not a complete loser.

I was happy, really happy, about this new development. Right up until I started telling people about it. I was unprepared for the number of folks in my inner circle who seemed ready to burst my bubble when I shared the news. You’re sorry to hear it? You’re sorry I have to take a promotion to more hours and better benefits? Ouch. This is the 21st century. Would you ever say that to a man? Even a man who had teenagers at home and was helping his elderly mother?

Or would you offer congratulations? Ponder it.

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