Boy, this work decision is tough

Yes, believe it or not, nothing in my world can be ever simple.

Take for instance the interview I had yesterday. Two and a half hours long, with four people asking me questions. I suppose I could have given more succinct answers, but I found myself bringing up points I thought were relevant to their queries and asking questions of my own.

I’ve testified in court for less time than that (typically less than two hours).

But…when was all said and done…

  • I can work 5 days a week 12-5 and occasionally over the weekend if need be. In fact, since they had another part timer who works mornings, it would work out great…
  • The 5.5 year absence makes no matter. They aren’t going to throw me on the bench with no preparation. I’ll work with someone until I’m confident to work on my own. I’ll spend my training time between learning the SOPs and working lab work.
  • The work is project based, so there is always something new and different to do, depending on what the clients’ needs are
  • As far as the new technologies they have, they intend for someone to “become” expert in that particular instrument, but be able to do all the testing so that anyone could fill in on projects, because often part of the staff is called out of town to do consulting work on site for the client.
  • They gave me three names for daycare options  – one in my town, and two in the town the work is located in.

Oh, and yeah, by the way, you know the old question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I’m not so sure laughing and saying, “oh, I expect to be running the lab by then” was such a good idea. (But honestly, that kind of popped out from nowhere). But I quickly clarified and said, “well, really, I’d never want to be a lab director, knowing the stress my old boss was under, but supervising was a great role for me”.

So, after it was all over, I felt like I was a nervous wreck.  This talkative, introverted, anxious, slightly desperate stay at home mom/former molecular genetics lab supervisor wants a job but is extremely afraid of the upheaval to her quiet boring life and extremely worried she doesn’t have what it takes to be good on the bench anymore. Then after calling around for daycare prices, I was really stressed out and I actually broke out a LARGE glass of wine from the bottle I borrowed from my friends the day before (because I was stressed about the interview on Sunday and you can’t buy alcohol on Sundays ’round here).

Not that I have any reason to be, they don’t have any other applicants.  They never even put an ad in the paper for the position.  My former colleague simply thought I was a potential while they were in the beginning stages of decision-making for their company.

We didn’t talk salary, and mostly because I still was needing to find out daycare options.  I don’t know how much money they’ve budgeted for a part time position, nor did I want to underestimate how much day care cost.  At the same time, I have no idea what I’m worth.  No seriously.  I have been known to accept less than I should because the work was more important to me than the salary.  Not that I hadn’t asked for more, but was told that this was all they had been able to give me.

Apparently a microbiology lab technologist salary is approximately $48-$66,000 according to this website. I was actually making slightly less than the lowest pay on the scale 5 years ago at a (not for profit) university hospital lab.

Sheesh. Shows how much I actually know the value of anything. Part of me just cares that I make enough to cover daycare costs, but I can’t sell myself short. The position is actually worth quite a lot. The only hinky thing is that they are a small, newly started microbiological consulting company. If they don’t get the clients, the money doesn’t come in.

For daycare costs, I’d be spending $8450 for six months (2 kids in part time day care and one child in after school program at school). I have no idea about summer arrangements and have to figure that out as I go (but two kids can go to science camp for half day, but I’m not sure about after school care). I have already decided (for the most part, I go to see it tomorrow) on a Catholic based day care where they will feed the kids lunch, and my 6 year old will do a few hours of kindergarten work (math and science) after lunch and rest time (which she needs anyway). I think the younger one would be in a play-based class which would suit her just fine. So actually for them, I think they’ll be happy enough. We’ll find out how well my formerly selectively mute child does in the daycare setting. If she talks, we know it works. If she doesn’t we’ll have to revisit all the processes we’ve done before. But at least she’s still has her IEP at school and I might be able to get them to consult with the daycare about her needs should she revert to mutism.

How do you working mamas figure out how above and beyond your daycare needs and gas expenses is enough? Is $5,000? $10,000 enough, or is $15,000 or more before you feel you are making enough to be worth it?

And I guess I can’t complain…6 months of daycare is certainly better than 5 years of daycare needs, right? They’ll survive 6 months without mama around all the time. I’ll still see my littlest one until 11:30 2 days a week. So even she still gets time with me a couple of days a week.

No, I don’t quite know what to do about summer. I hope my family members would be able to help, but I can’t be sure they will.

This would be a total no-brainer if this was next year.

Oh, and no, they haven’t officially offered me a job. They will make their decision perhaps by Monday. I say perhaps, because it took them 2 weeks longer than I anticipated for them to get me an interview in the first place.

On the bright side, even if I don’t get this job, I have updated my resume, my salary history, and have broken down what my take home pay minus daycare costs if I was making $35,000, $40,000 and $45,000 a year. So even if this isn’t the job for me, I’m fairly prepared for the next potential one.

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12 Responses to Boy, this work decision is tough

  1. el burro says:

    Way to go!! Who knows what’ll happen, but whatever does, you can take credit for your active part in it.

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks el burro.

    One thing I’ve noticed, I get lazy when I’m not busy enough using the skills I like using (communication, analysis, minor calculations, and planning when there is something to plan for).

    When I have more to do, I am much more efficient, organized and driven. When I don’t have enough to do, I goof off way too much. I think I’m the type that needs structure and deadlines in order to thrive.

  3. el burro says:

    I can relate to that. I remember some old saying that went something like ” if you want something done, give it to a busy person to do”. Too much time on my hands and I waste it with dithering. Tons to do and I’m Miss Efficiency complete with schedule.

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Huh. I never knew that about you. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who is like this.

    Now I suppose I ought to get back to getting some things done.

  5. Leah says:

    If you’re a person who doesn’t mind providing your salary history (I’m not), I recommend you provide it in inflation-adjusted amounts (“2009 dollars” currently), for the most recent year available on the Inflation Calculator at the time of sharing it with a prospective employer. Companies typically don’t think about the equivalent present value of someone’s past salary, just the number right in front of them, so it’s selling yourself short.

    For example, if you earned $45,000 in 2004, that is equivalent to earning $51,500 in 2009 dollars.

  6. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks Leah. Thanks for calculating that adjustment for me. That makes a lot of sense. But what if they want to check with your former employer to verify it?

    Right now, I have no clue where I stand. I have no idea how much they had budgeted for the position. Given the current economic problems, I am not sure how much to really negotiate for.

    I keep hearing people online and in real life having to deal with budget cuts or lay-offs. It may come down to the fact they don’t have the money to pay me what I’m worth (particularly for part time work). Eh. Well see. I got nothing to lose right now.

  7. Leah says:

    Yeah, you can’t really not give them the original dollars amounts if you provide a salary history at all, since who knows if they will pry into it further by calling around to verify. But you can emphasize what it really means in current dollars.

    You can make the list something like this, with the part in parentheses in a smaller font size:

    Senior Laboratory Technologist, Employer A — $51,500 current real value ($45,000 nominal)

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      Leah – thanks. That would work! Thanks for the tip. We’ll see if I hear back from them this week. Knowing how things went last time, I know not to worry if they don’t get back to me when they say they will.

  8. Jennaviere says:

    I think your “running the lab” answer was classic! It shows ambition and determination, lady!

    This is really cool, Mama. I hope it works out in just the way you want it to, whatever that ends up being.

    I’ve been away too long, I have lots of catching up to do on your blog.

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      Hey, Jennaviere –

      So far you have the only smiling avatar (yes, they are all weird looking).

      I kept thinking of you because I know you really like what you are doing in school. I am going to have to share some of the neat things I found online as I’m trying to research and review my old microbiology concepts and learn the new technology. I’ll be totally nerdy later and post about the instruments I might be using.

      • raisingsmartgirls says:

        Oh, and I’ve missed ya girlfriend. I know it’s hard to keep up. Life happens. I hope all is well in your neck of the world!

  9. Pingback: Well, things are looking up. | Raising Smart Girls

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