Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Prioritizing of Jobs

It's pretty well documented that couples model their marriage on their parent's marriages.
 Whether that be good or bad. 
For Adam and I, that's pretty good. 
While our parents are pretty different 
(super conservative republican vs very liberal democrat- I'll let you guess who is who), 
they both were very happy marriages. 
Even more similar, 
both our dads worked in the corporate world (in similar industries even!)
while our moms stayed home most of the time. 

Now, while the happy-marriage model is quite beneficial, 
neither of us has a good model for figuring out how to balance two working parents.

Adam and I started our careers completely equal. 
And I mean COMPLETELY equal. 
Same company. 
Same start date. 
Same pay. 

I left audit to go into corporate finance, 
and Adam left to go to law school. 
Certain aspects of law school were prioritized over my job, 
like exams and certain classes 
(although by his third year, Adam became pretty relaxed about his classes 
... did I ever mention he STILL graduated #1?), 
but in general, 
Adam was very similar to a "stay-at-home-spouse" while I was the "bread winner."

It wasn't until Adam started in Big Law Firm World 
that our job priorities completely flipped. 
Adam's job is the investment job. 
It's the career. 
It's what he's going to be doing until he retires. 
(Or well, along those lines, maybe not that exact company

Me on the other hand? 
Maybe someday I will try my hand at being a SAHM. 
Right now, I'm content at my position in my career 
and don't have any motivation to continue advancing up the corporate ladder. 

Inevitably, this leaves my job as the less prioritized job

When it comes to doctor visits, 
sick days home, 
and other obligations that come up, 
it's ME taking time off or working from home. 

Throwback to Aaron's first real sickness at 9 months old

Occasionally, Adam can catch a later train in the morning, 
but he's completely useless during the day, 
and we cannot count on him being home at any specific time at night. 
(As one new-mom lawyer told him, "You can only control when you show up")

Being the less prioritized job is difficult, to say the least. 
First of all, one needs an understanding boss. 
The ideal understanding boss is another dual-income family... or a single parent. 
Someone who understands both child and the enormous pressure of balancing both children and work. 
While Working Fathers do have sympathy regarding children's needs, 
I've found that Working-Fathers-with-Stay-at-home-wives can be as bad 
- and in some cases worse
than childless coworkers. 
Of course, I cannot stereotype any coworker. 
I've had working moms (I call these the "Power Moms") 
who couldn't care less about parental obligations.  
I've also met childless coworkers who will bend over backwards to help out. 
(And my many thanks to those that have!

I've also yet to meet ANYONE who can EQUALLY prioritize their job with their spouse. 
Some people can prioritize different times
Yes, finance/accounting is usually the worst in the first week of the month. 
Some jobs may have required 24-hour-shifts. 
etc. etc. 

But there comes a time where a decision has to be made. 
And there will always be one who has to make just a few more sacrifices than the other. 
Do you agree?

1 comment:

  1. I know we've talked about this before, but the tricky part for us is that we want Brian's job to be the priority, but right now, I'm still the breadwinner... and to top that off, his company is a lot more flexible than mine, so it's much easier for him to leave early, work from home, etc. With that said, we've actually kept it pretty even when the kids have been sick so I think the jobs have inadvertently been equally prioritized. I'm sure that will change eventually... or I hope so, anyway!