Finding Balance

I was on the “tenure”-lite track on a train towards continuing appointment, but in just a few weeks, I will be switching gears and starting a new adventure. Yes, that’s right, I’m putting my career “on hold” to focus on my family.

Why?

I was really lucky to land my first professional position. It really was perfect timing. Six years ago, I was almost done with my MLS and I landed my dream job — the opportunity to be a Chemistry Librarian. Fast forward 5 years (plus 2 kids): I had a really rewarding experience, because I was more than just a Chemistry Librarian (Information Literacy edutainer, online instructor, mega-meeting attender, and generally a wannabe flash mob participant in the library). As cheesy as it sounds, I loved connecting students and researchers to the information they are seeking. I was a former student (both undergrad and graduate) and researcher in Chemistry, I knew exactly what they are going through.

At the end of last year, I was struggling with juggling family and my career. I felt like I was struggling to keep it all together. Why am I trying to have it all? At the new year, I came back to work after an amazing holiday. I was renewed by the time off, new semester, and new possibilities. I was also burdened with the responsibilities associated with the new semester and new possibilities. I’m passionate about what I do, so I’m not going to say “no” when I have the chance to reach more students. As with most public institutions in today’s environment, we have been doing more with less. Fewer resources and fewer staff. It must have been that time of year because that topic came up a few times in the blogs I follow:

I tried different approaches: working from home, alternative schedules, and even working from a nearby campus. I said “no” to more committee responsibilities and I didn’t actively seek other opportunities. I still wasn’t gaining traction and I was still feeling overwhelmed. I also realized that I don’t compartmentalize work very well. My brain just doesn’t shut off.

We realized that we haven’t tried everything. So, should I quit my job? I flipped a coin. Best two out of three. Between each coin flip I thought about the opportunities that I would have with the kids at home. And it came up tails — or that I should stay at my job. And I was disappointed because some little coin told me to stay.

A month later, instead of being paralyzed by indecision, we made a choice. I’m going to focus my attention on my kiddos and family. It seems like change is in the air, as one of my favorite science/mom/shoe enthusiast bloggers is feeling the same way. It’s about our choices and where we decide to focus our efforts.

I don’t have romantic ideas of staying home, laying on the couch, while Anakin and Daisy keep the bonbons coming. Life will be filled with project management (tackling abandoned areas in the house, meal planning!). There will be schedule coordination. There will be lots of tears, including mine. This summer I’ll become Chief Household Officer of our family B&B – excited to spend time with family from all over the globe! Who knows, after a few months I may decide that this is not for me and I’ll be back on the job hunt. Maybe even going part time at the local community college if the opportunities are there at the right time.

Now, it’s time for me to focus on finishing up my work and then I can focus my energies on these two:

finding balance

I’ll be writing about my adventures in my quest for balance here, the “good” and the “bad” of it all. So yes, I’m slowing it down, catching my breath and letting it go, knowing that this is the best decision for all of us.

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