Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I feel as if I have come to a crossroads with my career here at the Casa de Insurance...

In just a few days, I will mark my 10 year anniversary with this company. That’s the longest I’ve ever stayed at one job. On the one hand, considering I have probably (ahem) 20 – 25 years until retirement, 10 years doesn’t seem like all that long. On the other hand, I come from the generation that’s expected to change jobs 172 times before they die, which makes 10 years feel like a lifetime.

Those of us that are lucky enough to be employed by the Casa de Insurance are asked, two to three times per year, to fill out an employee satisfaction survey. The frequency of the surveys seems like overkill to me, but I just work here. The questions are always the same, and include such favorites as:

• I have a best friend at work.
• I have the opportunity to have fun at work.
• I have the tools I need to do my job (guess how I scored this one a few weeks ago, considering they just took our printers away from us!).
• In the last two weeks, I have been recognized for doing good work.

Questions are scored from 1 (completely disagree) to 5 (completely agree)... You always know a survey’s coming when the bosses start having meets to discuss the questions, to make sure we understand the questions, and the company’s intention behind the questions, because heaven knows they wouldn’t want us to misinterpret anything. And, predictably, while they don’t actually come out and say they want us to give everything a 5, you’d have to be pretty stupid not to know that’s what they’re driving at.

The most recent survey was just a few weeks ago, at the end of June. At one of the pre-survey meetings towards the middle of June, one of the department managers was moved by the spirit to stand up and give us a short testimony on how thankful she is right now to have a job, how she thinks about this every morning when she gets up and looks in the mirror, and how she, personally, felt we should all remember that when we were taking the survey this time around. I found this a little offensive and inappropriate, but it did get a few ‘amens’ from the crowd.

Now, just stay with me, because I promise I’ll be at the crux of all this very soon...

Had you asked me ten years ago if I’d ever want to be a stay-at-home mom/homemaker/reincarnation of June Cleaver, I’d have laughed heartily and said, “Of course not! I’d be bored if I stayed home all day, folding laundry and cleaning toilets!” Had you asked me seven years ago, after I’d gone through a miscarriage and diagnosis of type II Diabetes in a two-week time span, if I even wanted to be a parent, period, I would’ve laughed and said, “Absolutely not!” Not to be too dramatic, but for me that miscarriage was a real glimpse at how truly heartbreaking the whole business of being a parent can be.

Yet here I am, 5 ½ years later, gearing up for this exquisite creature that is my son to start kindergarten in a few months (and if you know me really well, you know that a large part of my excitement in all this is the shopping for school supplies... you know the unexplainable relationship I have with office supplies...). I swear to you, I can physically feel my heart swell with love each time I look at him, or even just a picture of him... and I feel humbled to have been so blessed.

How are these things related? Well I’ll tell you...

It’s likely that the boy will be in an extended day (i.e. full school day) kindergarten program, because of delays in his fine motor skills that have been identified (which is a whole post on its own). We’ll find out for sure on this toward the end of August, when school actually starts. If he’s in the extended day program, he’ll be in school from 8:45 am – 3:15 pm. With that, the husband and I were hoping to arrange our work schedules so that we can eliminate the need for daycare, period, thus saving us the equivalent of an extra mortgage payment every month.

On the Casa de Insurance employee website, there are several pages devoted to topics like ‘work-life balance’, and ‘alternative work arrangements’... so I went to my boss with the question what would the possibility of me working a little bit different schedule be, longer days two days a week (on the days the husband doesn’t work) so I can leave a little earlier 3 days a week (on the days the husband does work) to pick the boy up from school...

And the answer I got was, “I’ll check, but don’t count on it, because the new head of our department ‘isn’t hip’ on alternative work arrangements.” Not that it’s not available, or that there’s some legitimate business reason why I couldn’t do it... to be honest, there’s no part of my job that I couldn’t do from home... but that the big boss “isn’t hip” on those kinds of schedules.

Well, let me tell you... I’m not hip on being made to feel as if I have to choose between my family and my source of a paycheck. I haven’t gotten to official ‘no’ yet, so we’ll see. I’m weighing the possibility of going to Human Resources if I’m turned down... and weighing my other options as well.


Pax Romano said...

Slip them a copy of this book (at link)

Not that they'll read it...sigh, I feel your pain, sister. Since I work for a behemoth, multi-armed, bureaucratic monster state agency, it all depends what office you work in to tap into those special benifts. Since my office is in "the colonies" we don't get any of those work from home perks, that those in the belly of the beast use often.

Hang in there, I was going to quit my job a zillion times, but now with the prospect of retirement just four years away, I am glad I stayed.

Ruth said...

Well, I think I'll have to order a few copies of that to pass around as Christmas presents!

It just chaps my ass that there's no consistency. But really I should be used to it by now. Silly me.

T. Paulina said...

I'm just about the same place... do I stay or do I go... I think next year... I go... to another school of course... but with the changes they've made... I want to teach music.. not put up with bull shit.