Major decision

I woke up this morning “hung over” with grief, wondering if I should call up my sister and ask for a valium. I almost blew off the pre-interview laboratory visit I had this afternoon, because I was barely functional.

But I didn’t blow it off.

And I went. Mostly to force myself out of my sadness. I didn’t even care to go, except I thought it might help distract me from the hurt. It did help, more than I thought it would.


At first, I was a little concerned by the fact that there was no one in the lab actually doing lab work today (Wednesday).

They have a VERY small staff.

One was out of town.

One had a day off.

One was the “chief financial officer”.

One was on the computer doing work.

And the last one was showing me around.

Strange. But they’ve only been operational at that facility for about a year.

They do microbiological validation studies, bioburden testing, disinfectant studies, environmental sampling and testing (not exactly exciting, but someone has to do it, and they are making themselves a good name doing it). Some of it would be taking a few steps backward in my training…at first.

But, they want to expand into DNA analysis, something I’ve done for 9 years. When one of the staff found out about my PCR experience, they were excited. But not as excited as I got just talking about it. I could feel myself come alive when I talked about what I did before.

They could use someone with my experience. I know I could do this job.

When I told the woman I used to work who had called me up in the first place, that I’d need to brush up on my skills, she said,”I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. Sometimes we have to do that as well”. They recently had to brush up on something they hadn’t done in years. And since they do project based work for other companies, they will have a variety of new things to do. It’s always something different (good for the person who enjoys novelty).

It seems like it would benefit us both. I could help them get their DNA technology on-line, and they could be the break I need.

And, it could be on a part-time/flex-time basis.

And it’s only 30 minutes away, in a town we’ve been considering moving to in the not so distant future.

One huge drawback?

Child care.

I have one in full day school, one in half day K, and one in preschool 2 hours a day, three days a week to make things more complicated.

Do I take a job that changes everything for them, just to give myself a chance to go back to the kind of career I found deeply satisfying?

I didn’t go looking for this. It literally came looking for me.

Out of the blue.

When I’m not quite ready.

Next year would be “more perfect”, when they would be in school all day long.

It’s so hard to find an on-ramp in the STEM field, and here is one handed to me.

No, this wasn’t even the official interview. Yes, there is a small chance I won’t get offered the job. But it’s not likely. They seem desperate.

And maybe I wouldn’t mope about so much if I had something else to do with my time.


So how do you decide when to take a risk or pass up an opportunity that knocks on your door?

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8 Responses to Major decision

  1. Leah says:

    Since you mentioned your mother-in-law and aunt-in-law are close by, if they would be willing and able to help provide good childcare and if the girls like them, that should work well.

    It is flexible part-time (which can be difficult to come by) to be able to easily work out the best childcare schedule, and they aren’t bothered by your time out of the field (which is also difficult to come by), and you presumably would be working in a lower-stress environment compared to the forensic lab.

    Unless a near-identical opportunity were to arise next year, it sounds to me like this opportunity is about as perfect as possible! 🙂

    And as for ‘this year vs next year’, keep in mind that even when the girls are in school more steadily, there will still be a lot of time in the summer when they aren’t, when you would presumably still want/need to continue doing some amount of work for the company, and so the childcare arrangements would still be needed then.

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks for helping me think this through.

    Yes, I’m definitely considering MIL/aunt-in-law. There’s still timing issues to work out with to/from school.

    Over the summer wouldn’t be as complicated because I can drop them all off somewhere – in-laws or even my sister who is a teacher and has summers off. That would be great! My kids and hers get along really well.

    Now the complex part about how to get them picked up from school and sent somewhere before work. If I could work 12-5, this would be most ideal. I’d have time to pick them up, drop two of them somewhere and get to work. Oldest daughter would stay in the “Adventure Club” after school. It’s a little chaotic there, but she’d enjoy the socialization aspect with her friends (we don’t do much after school with friends as it is).

    The way I figure things…this job opportunity came around for a definite reason, and if it’s meant to be, the childcare arrangements should fall into place, right?

    And if not, then it’s a clear sign it’s a no-go. I’m not going to compromise the quality of child-care for my own aspirations. As Dana Carvey would say imitating George Bush, “Not gonna do it”.

    Now…I gotta get Jennaviere to chime in because this is working in a lab with some bloodborne pathogens. Do I REALLLY want to get back into doing microbiology, knowing I might be working with nasty little buggers?


    Sorry, I’m getting a little loopy with what’s transpired this week.

  3. Heather says:

    Knowing that you are a Gentle Christian Mother, I would suggest that you pray about it, steadily. And pray that God would make it CLEAR whether or not you should take the job. He will open doors if you ask, and close them if it’s not “meant to be.” I think God will give you peace about it if it’s right. And if it IS going to happen, then I will be praising Him for giving you this terrific gift just at a time when you really needed it!

    At any rate, it is exciting news! And even if it doesn’t work out, it must be a great boost to know that you are still relevant in your field. I can’t wait to hear how things play out.


  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Heather –

    You are absolutely right. It’s not a decision I have to enter in “alone”.

    And if it doesn’t work out, it IS a boost to know I’m not the relic I think I am. If this isn’t the job that’s right for me and us as a family, my resume is updated, and ready to go for the job that is.

    Thank you


  5. doctorjohnsmith says:

    Well, I don’t believe in fate, and I don’t believe in God, so I’m coming from the pragmatic corner here.

    The conditions are never perfect. The stars are never aligned. Sometimes, we have to jump into the abyss and hope things will work out.

    It sounds like the ideal type of job to get back into it. Sure, next year might seem better, but I guarantee you that something else would happen next year that would make you want to postpone it even more.

    People always look for reasons not to embrace change. We’re programmed to enjoy safety.

  6. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Actually I LOVE the idea of going back to work. I actually am high novelty seeking too, so I don’t have a problem with change. I have actually had a problem with being stagnant in my development for the past 5.5 years.

    What I do have a problem with is with the logistics of carting around kids to potentially substandard day care if I can’t find trustworthy people to watch two of my girls.

    I know that in the past, things have worked out. Whether because of God, or fate, or pure dumb luck. I don’t rule any of those out.

    I do know if this is meant to happen, we will find a solution, and if not, something better is going to be coming down the pike.

  7. Good luck with your new career move.
    I’m like you and thrive on change. It gives me an energy and enthusiasm that I don’t have when things are always the same. Sure, there is a part of me that balks at the unknown, but the drive to explore new ground always wins out.
    Things really do just work out. Time after time I am amazed by the things that fall into place.
    Maintaining an internal sureness and firmly anchoring your hopes in something bigger than yourself allows you the freedom to stretch yourself, experiment and act on those great ideas that pop into your head when you are in the shower:)
    Enjoy your journey.

  8. raisingsmartgirls says:


    Thanks for the good luck. This all hinges on whether or not they actually call me back for the interview with the lab director. She was out of town last week.

    And of course, right now my littlest one has the sniffles and a cough, and complained her legs hurt. I’m hoping it’s just a cold and not the flu. This is the same one who had the ER visit. Poor thing can’t catch a break.

    I was studying up on my old notes from my microbiology job 17 years ago. I am glad I hung onto it because it sure comes in handy now.

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