The Penski File

After my “why don’t you apply for a promotion” post here, and all the mum barriers I discussed in this post, the universe opened a can of whoop ass.

I was headhunted.

Not by a hidden tribe of new Guinean tribesmen, no no. But worse. A recruitment consultant.

Anyhoo, he found me on Linked in.

He messaged me.

I may have ignored him.

He messaged me again.

I may have given a non committal reply.

He asked could he ring me.

I said yes.

He asked when.

I didn’t reply.

He rang.
He talked. I listened. And my “yeah yeah yeah, you’re recruiting for some dodgy private registered training organisation” shifted when I heard the employers name. In my industry, it’s a pretty important name.

And I stood on the lawn outside my office, sipping a cup of tea, and he mentioned the money and I snorted tea out of my nose.

But I can’t.
I can’t do it.
I have a two year old.
I have a two year old I almost lost. Five times. My two year old who almost never was.
I can’t do it.
I’m not good enough.
It’s too big.

Just agree to a conversation, he said.

He’s clever, this guy.
Just a chat, he said. (he read me well. Softly, softly catchee monkey).

So I met with him. He told me about the role.
Just have a chat with them, he said. You’d be great.
So I suited up, and bothered about my hair, and hub-in-boots took a day off, and I met with them. It wasn’t really an interview. It was pretty relaxed. I was pretty relaxed. Because I have a job. And I wasn’t thinking of moving. So it didn’t really matter what they thought of me.

Here I am, I said. I’m a mum first, I said. I wasn’t thinking of leaving, I said.
Can you do this part of the role?
Honestly? I think I’d be rubbish at that part, until I was up to speed.
How about this part?
Yes, well I was thinking in the future you need to do x,y,z and think about changes to a, b and c.
Tell us what you’ve done that is similar?

So I told them. About lecturing, about working to improve students’ writing, about conference papers I’ve written on education. About textbook materials I’ve written (after telling the publisher how rubbish their book was and they gave me a contract). About future plans. About problem based learning. About bringing the real world into the classroom.

Come back and meet another member of the team, they said.

So I did.
And I didn’t try that hard.

Have a tele conference with staff in Melbourne.
So I did.
And I didn’t try that hard.

Have the job, they said. Oh and here’s another $10k on what you thought we were offering. So…..that’s a 50% pay rise.

I don’t want it, I thought. Nothing is worth the loss in flexibility. Nothing is worth the loss of time with jman. It will be like old corporate. I’ll be overworked. I’ll turn into a nasty person. I’ll be stressed. I won’t see my husband or my child. It will be too hard. I’ll be trapped. I don’t want to have to suit up every day.

I don’t want to get the ferry to work on Sydney harbour and stop at the nice coffee shop in the 200m from ferry to office. No no no.

Playgroup, going to playgroup, factored in my decision. Because at present I’m in the office 3 days (one huge day) and work at home 2 days with a lot of flexibility around when things get done.

I had another conversation with my potential boss. She said she arrives at 9:30, after dropping 3 kids at school. She leaves at 4:30, then logs back on about 8pm to do work at home. She comes in four days a week and works the other one at home. Every other person in the team is a mum with small children that does some work from home. Every. Other. Person.
It isn’t all doom and gloom.

If playgroup made the decision, it would be costing $700 a session. Or maybe $400 for play group and $300 for another play date.
Which seems pretty stupid.
You can’t put a price on family time. Or can you?

But I’d still have family time.

You’ve never proven yourself in a new job, whilst being a mum.
You’re not good enough, technically.
You’ll never manage. You’ll look ahead and see the sameness of weeks stretching before you and freak. The hell. Out.
Your kid will hate you and you’ll get a divorce.

You’ll never get this opportunity again.
If this opportunity appeared out of thin air once, It can appear again.
My current workplace is firmly in decline. Less students, more teaching hours, bigger classes. Possible loss of office, parking and campus in future. Possible difficulties when EVERY SIX MONTHS I have to renegotiate my whole existence, my whole timetable, all childcare arrangements. I could be asked to teach any time between 9am and 10pm, five days a week, and only have a bit of wriggle room.
I don’t want it.
I could do it.
I have tenure. Tenure is like gold.
Tenure is like a handcuff.
Money. Money. Money.

In the new job, there are Professional colleagues. All professional colleagues. With money to throw at problems, not stupid policy restrictions and budget restrictions and nepotism to rival any industry. Not like here, with mysoginists three deep stuck in 1975 versions of gender. Not here, where the incompetent / lazy get rewarded, and stay, and the rest of us stand around and fix up their mistakes.

I ignore the things that annoy me in this role, mostly. Because there’s a point. There’s a point. I am bringing home good money, it is not stressful (mostly), and I can be a mum. Whatever I don’t like is irrelevant. Because I am doing it for a reason.
I am a happier person when I leave my ambitious self sitting quietly in a corner.
But I’m older now.

Maybe I could bring her out, for the ride, but not let her take over and turn into a stressed out egomaniac. Because I’m not really insecure anymore. Mostly. Even though I have doubts about my abilities. I look at them and go “Oh! There’s you being silly having doubts again. Oh well, just be quiet, doubts, and get on with doing the best job you can. Nope! Not perfect. Oh well. That’s ok too.”

So. Yes. Big decision time.

We’d need an extra day’s day care. Not available in current family daycare.

Hub-in-boots would swap to earlier shifts, to do pick ups, so I could just take it easy getting home. It is possible he could swap from a Monday-Friday week to a half day Sunday-Thursday week. It is possible.
I could do more online grocery shops.

Decision time.

I am wavering. I have wavered. And both times, I’ve decided no.

Then something has happened at work that made me go “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? SAY YES!”

I am living liminally, on the threshold of leaving, on the threshold of staying, and I’m STUCK.

The universe opened a can of whoop ass.

And I’ve said yes.

Is the job beyond my skills set?  Is the job going to ruin our finely balanced quality of life? If you’re looking for me, I’ll be working on the Penski file.


5 thoughts on “The Penski File

  1. Ahhh! This sounds like a fantastic opportunity. Professional fulfillment in an environment where your boss and coworkers are also working mums who GET IT and work to find that balance as well? Wow. I hope you look back at this post in a year and think THANK GOD I didn’t let fear hold me back, this was the best change EVER!!

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