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Job searching as a SAHD

I had a fantastic...long...interview yesterday to supervise a department at a large Chicago-area cultural non-profit. Seriously? Over an hour on the phone? I had to pee and my voice was giving out. (Plus this is just one stage before in-person interviews, background checks, etc.) It was partly my own fault for asking questions. But it was also a fair amount of those tedious human resources "scenario" questions and getting a detailed work history...despite the fact that they already asked all those questions on the application. The application I nearly quit filling out because it was so long and annoying. I'll save the side rant for another day about how businesses need to streamline hiring processes, take more chances on new employees, and quit being so picky.

Anyway, it was a great interview for more than just my ability to do this particular job though. I was fairly impressed that part of their normal process is giving time for me to explain my job search, what kind of opportunity I'm looking for, what is important to me in an employer and job situation, etc.. I wish all employers were so forward thinking. As a Stay At Home Dad thinking about joining the workforce again, it was key that I be able to get on the same page with them about why I've been home and what would motivate me to come to work.

It certainly put a few things in perspective for me because it's way beyond my being comfortable with the job role or finding it challenging enough. I'd have 10 people under me--give or take--and plenty of room to both learn a new system and improve it once I settled in. The pay is actually more salary than I was asking for so I can't complain about that. It would require many weekends but the upside of that is being able to have some flexibility in picking my other 3 days. I'd still be able to get the kids to school twice a week.

But the kids are definitely a major issue in all this, let's not pretend it's about me. I told the interviewer that I'm lucky enough to be in the position where I can be picky. I don't have to work. My kids aren't both going to be in school full time for almost 2 years. This is about me throwing some things to the wall and seeing what sticks. I can have long conversations about fit and time off and start to think carefully about juggling some form of childcare.

Luckily, my son will be in all-day kindergarten next year so after the summer there would only be after school care to think about. Getting my daughter to her (less than) half day program would be trickier. Not to mention that they've never been in daycare. I'm all they've known and they like spending days with me. It would be a major adjustment to end our arrangement...but that's also proof we've been doing it right and made the right choice with me staying home. The fact that not having daddy home with them would be difficult is the way it should be.

Of course, on the other hand, having extra cash in the family budget would be nice. Nothing comes without costs though. It's not free money despite our assumptions in society that work is the default. There are definitely trade-offs, consequences, and quality of life issues from being in the workforce. What--literally--in dollars--is it worth to completely alter our family's time together, routine, and structure?

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