Friday, August 19, 2011

I am thinking about quitting my job.

I am thinking about quitting my day job. There I said it. That instantly makes it more real. It represents, in a small way, a commitment to follow through on something I have been thinking for months now. Over the last eight months, I've enjoyed phenomenal success at the business I started. I'm finally turning a livable profit after taxes, expenses, etc. and it looks sustainable. I have doubts, but I'm willing to ride it out and see where it goes.

Looking into the future has also prompted me to look at the past and how I got here. Sometimes I think it must seem a little weird to those who know I spent a good amount of my life energy in graduate school, toiling away to earn a PhD, to not be using it. Every once in a while someone makes a comment implying it's a waste. I understand where that notion comes from, but to me, it hasn't been a waste. I don't believe I have squandered my education because I'm not a professor, a practicing psychologist, or doing research somewhere.

The truth is, I've had opportunities to go down that path and I've decided not to take them. It's a matter of quality of life. I enjoyed teaching. I didn't enjoy preparing lectures or powerpoint slides. I really hated the rigamarole of publishing research. Conducting research had its excitement, but mostly it was complete drudgery. I enjoyed some grading, and some reading of papers, but I hated developing the tests and assessment measures. In the end, the overwhelming amount of work involved meant I had to make a lot of sacrifices. I sacrificed relaxation. I sacrificed spending time with my family. I sacrificed exercising. I sacrificed having friends. It was awful.

So by choosing to avoid academia, I made a decision to add all of those things back to my life and was successful, at least up until the start of the last 8 months. Along the way, I picked up a job working at a daily newspaper on deadline, designing and editing pages, writing headlines and cutlines. That work was *easy* money. Compared to what I had been doing, and the demands on my brain, ironically daily newspaper deadline work made me feel like a slacker. Right around the time I started doing that to bide my time while I searched for the *perfect academic position* <<<----doesn't exist, I started my papermaking business. When I found the wedding market, and the wedding market found me, things exploded. I started working 80 hour weeks again.

So now here I am 8 months later, right back where I was, working too many hours, losing sleep, not getting exercise, not spending quality time with my family.

I've come to realize that keeping the newspaper job I picked up has become incompatible with my life. So I am think I need to give my notice. Unfortunately this epiphany, if that's what it's called, will come at a really bad time for them. Another newsroom person who played a vital role gave his notice a week ago. Rather than hiring a replacement, they've decided to redistribute his work to other people in the department, and I am one of them. I think that has played a small role in the impetus to do something now rather than later. I just feel bad. Bad because they won't replace me, so my coworkers will e asked to do more work and they haven't been getting raises, benefits have been cut, etc. The newspaper industry is what it is. In a decline. You could say I am fleeing the sinking ship.

I've been working there 4 years now. I think it is one of the longest, if not the longest, times I have spent working for one place. So it's not easy to leave, and I don't really want to because there are some aspects of the job that are very rewarding. A) There is nothing like working on a deadline, day after day, every day. It keeps you sharp. There is no room for procrastination or slacking. It's good to stay practiced at that. B) I love having a mainline to current events. C) My husband and I get to work together.

At this point though, the costs exceed the benefits so my plan tomorrow after I have a long deserved spa day, is to go talk to my boss to let him know. I may do it before I got to the spa so I can decompress afterward.

The bottom line is, I have got to make a change. But also, I am not ready to just completely quit. My hope is that I can convince them to keep me on 1 day a week and then fill in 'on call' and when someone else in on vacation. I don't know if that's going to be feasible for them, but it would be a way for me to keep a foot in the door, keep the quality of life benefits of working there, and allow them to not have to immediately find a replacement or overwork who is left. Should be interesting.

Friday, August 05, 2011

I put the poop in the pot.

Toddler toilet training time....

On a recent well-child check-up, our pediatrician asked if Toddler FN has started toilet training yet. I said not really. We've got a pot. She can pull down her bottoms and pull them back up, knows when she needs to go, tells us most of the time, knows to sit on the pot, but so far has not made the connection about the order of things... He suggested I put the poop in her diaper into her pot so she could see and make the connection. Inside my head I cringed.

Yuck! Then I'll have to clean it. A bunch of times, until she makes the connection. I was thinking at least 6-8 months of toilet cleaning.

I am not enthused about that. But today, I decided upon seeing a solid poop staring me back that it's worth a whirl. Toddler FN was interested. I don't know if she made the connection or now thinks I'm some sort of idiot for adding extra steps to the process... why not just put the poop in the big toilet? Then at least I'd only have one toilet to clean.

The fact that I am writing several paragraphs about poop is evidence of how life has dramatically changed since four years ago when all I was concerned about was multiple regressions and making sure my research was defensible. I'm pretty sure at that time, I thought the rigamarole was crap too. At least I can say I know how to pile it high and deeper!

And, if any reader of this blog post knows how to toilet train with minimal messes and cleaning, please please please tell me.

I got her the chair shown above, on the advice of friends who recommended a kid's toilet that has a lift-out seat you can place over a real toilet, and that ones doubles as a stool when the lid is closed. (Can you tell I have an aversion to calling it a potty chair? Mr. Field Notes *abhors* the word potty so I've been trying really, really hard to never think it or use it...)

I looked at many other toilets and decided that one was the best value, but I didn't consider the splash guard. It seems to get in the way and my daughter doesn't like it. It's not removable either. And the lid closes on her when she leans back, and she does not like that either.

I thought about the Boon toilet, because it looks swanky and I like the TP storage area but the drop zone opening looks too small and you can't remove the seat to transition to the big pot.

The smart bet would be on just leaving the detachable seat from the kid toilet on the big toilet, but the lid doesn't shut and an adult's butt won't fit on it anyways, plus you're left with a place to store it if not in the kid's pot.

Given she doesn't seem to like the kid's pot, I am not really sure what to do, besides look online for one without a splash guard and without the falling down lid problem.

Like I need another thing to do.

What did our parents do? A lot more cleaning and a lot less second-guessing. I'll think I'll start there!