Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Housewife?

Looks like we got married just in time for me to officially become a housewife. While I truly respect women who are able to choose to be homemakers (and I totally envy families where this is financially possible), and while I would love to someday have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom, right now becoming a housewife was not my choice.  Right now being a housewife just seems to be a nicer way of saying that I'm unemployed.

Since my graduation in December, I have been working at one of the research centers at the law school as a research fellow. Regrettably, the research center recently lost its funding - and, as a result, I lost my job. So, yesterday afternoon I said goodbye to my boss about moved out of my office at the law school.

While my fellowship was never supposed to be a permanent career choice, we had been pretty certain that it would be solid enough to give me and APL some time to get on our feet as a married couple. Alas, that is not the case. Instead, less than two months into our marriage, I'm staying home everyday while APL goes out and brings home the bacon. Not that APL minds - I supported him when he got laid off two years ago, so he's happy to return the favor - but it just wasn't quite what we expected. 

Unfortunately, as I begin the search for a new job, I am also being forced to face some fears I was hoping to put off dealing with, at least for a little while longer: the issue of RA in the workplace. I was a student employee at the research center when I first got diagnosed with RA, and my (now former) boss was extremely supportive and considerate about my health situation right from the beginning. My RA was never a problem in this workplace. In fact, the fellowship was an almost perfect job for me - fascinating part time work with plenty of freedom and flexibility. I know it won't be easy to find another job that fits my situation so well.

This situation also raises a whole host of questions I hadn't begun to think about yet. For example, I've always felt that it is better for your boss to know that you are dealing with a chronic illness, but will that put me at a disadvantage compared to employees who are healthy? To tell or not to tell? And if you do tell, when is the best time? At the interview? After you are hired? When it first presents a problem? Never? And, can I even handle a full time job? Or will I have to settle for a part time job? And, if so, will I be able to find an interesting and fulfilling part time job? In this already broken economy, do I have any chance of being a competitive job applicant considering my health limitations? How will my body deal with all the new stress in my life? Will I crash at a critical moment?

Clearly I have a lot of thinking to do.

6 comments:

~kelly marie~ said...

I am so sorry that the research center lost its funding. I totally get all of your fears with searching for a new job. I felt the same ones! I personally decided not to say anything, but I also worked from home, so I was able to hide things or work less one day and double the next, etc.
To tell you the truth, one of the draws of now owning my own business is that I don't have to deal with anyone knowing about my autoimmune disease because I am the boss. I don't live in fear of people figuring it out or anything anymore, and even though I work 3 times more hours now that I used to, it is worth it to me to not have to answer to anyone when it comes to health stuff.
I'm not sure how much that all helps, but one thing I do know is that you will find the right job for you and you will kick ass at it :).
Sending hugs your way!

A said...

Oh BOY what a post. I clearly don't have much to contribute, RA-info wise, but I can tell you what's been shared with me at my company and what I've read:

Don't take a job that requires you to lift 50lbs when you know you need surgery without saying something.

IE, in you case, I think you'll end up telling your boss, but maybe not on your application cover letter? It's so hard!

I will say this-- enjoy being a housewife for now! I work from home, so I swing from happy to have lots of time in my own peaceful space to wondering how much background noise TNT I can stand before my brain turns to mush. :)

In other news, I miss you!

Melissa said...

Sorry you lost your job. :( Never fun times. I hope you're able to find something you like, that you're able to do without being in too much pain.

Yadu said...

I am sure you are tierd of hearing the word sorry because you seem so much of a gutsy person. Your blog made good reading and I wish you all the very best

~Mariah~ said...

KELLY MARIE: I'm so glad that you figured out a way to deal with "the work issue" - I'm still working on figuring it out. It is a bit scary!

A: I am trying to enjoy being a housewife - but I'm struggling with feeling unproductive (which is stupid because I'm doing some work for my dad AND finishing up work on the nutshell I'm co-authoring, so it's not like I do nothing all day.) Maybe unproductive is the wrong word - directionless might be better. And I'm thinking about taking the bar too - only trying to decide what state to do it in. Miserable!

MELISSA: Thanks! I hope so too!

YADU: Nice to "meet" you and glad you are enjoying the blog!~;o)

~kelly marie~ said...

I just know you will figure it out and do it with grace! :)