So I came across an article about how there were too many K-5 teachers & not enough teaching positions and the question arose in my mind: Why study something that you know will not pay off?
I remember when I was applying to college (many moons ago) my father always warned me to not major in underwater basket weaving. Yes, because it’s not a real major but also because it’s a profession that isn’t highly valued in this society. So in the same respect if you know that philosophy isn’t a highly valued field why major in it?
Yes, there are plenty of majors that were popular 20-30 years ago that may not be as relevant now (think archaeology, library science, etc.) but back then people knew that there would a job waiting for them. Right now the unemployment/under-employment rate for fresh college graduates is over 50%. I mean, let’s face it – the economy has been in the toilet since at least 2008. And everyone knows that bad economies don’t just turn around overnight. So those who are just now graduating (who entered college around 2008) must have known that when they graduate they might not have a job waiting for them in their field. And those who entered college after 2008 have had time to change majors to something more relevant. Of course no can tell the future or when the job market will pick up. But until it does, wouldn’t it be fair to say you should secure your future by majoring in something more mainstream instead?
Sure, it’s great to follow your passion but if your passion can’t pay the bills when you graduate, then maybe you should consider pursuing something that will instead.
So my girlfriend called me crying because the man she was dating doesn’t make enough money. I know what you’re thinking – who complains about how much money a man brings to the table unless they’re superficial? Well, when you have aspirations of being a stay at home wife & mother and you’re with someone whose finances can’t support that you’re not being superficial at all. You’re being realistic.
So how much money did this man make? I asked my friend exactly how low this man’s salary was and she told me that he only made $150,000 a year. Yes, only $150,000. At first I laughed (at my friend) for being so ridiculous. But then I really thought about it. To a lot of people, that may seem like a lot of money. And considering that the median household income in this country is around $50,000, a $150,000 salary is a lot. But is it enough?
You see my friend is a highly educated, attractive, down-to-earth woman with a career of her own. Her dream has always been to build her career but slow things down after getting married. She has wants to trade her briefcase for an apron after settling down. She has also maintained that she does not want a life where she has to “settle” or sacrifice just to be a stay-at-home mother. With that said, it is very important that she find someone who can support her current lifestyle and still have enough income to raise a family. Not to mention that she lives in Los Angeles where the cost of living is extraordinarily high (the average house costs over $400,000 – and that is just for an small to average size home). And while $150,000 may seem like a hefty salary, once they purchase a home & have a few children, it’s really not that much money after all.
Is my friend wrong for complaining about his salary? Is she wrong for wanting to maintain the lifestyle that she has already developed for herself? Is she wrong for relying on his salary to support their future family? Or is she just wrong for questioning when that salary just isn’t enough?
After all, sometimes even a lot just isn’t enough.
A woman I know recently decided to go from working full time to part time so that she could stay home & spend more time with her family. Not wanting to completely be a stay-at-home mom, she decided that the only way to sustain her career would be to keep one foot in the working world and one foot at home. I’m sure her husband is glad to have her around the house more & her children will benefit from increased attention, but where does that leave her career?
Currently, the unemployment rate is hovering right around 8%. Depending on what part of the country you live in that percentage may be significantly higher. After working long & hard to build a solid career and then starting a family, you are now willing to possibly through that away? It’s one thing to start working part-time after not working at all, because of a company mandate, or if you have special circumstances (disability, spouse is deployed to another country, etc.). But to purposely cut back your working hours and your household income right when you might need it the most? Some of the women who do this are the same women who complain about not moving up in their careers. Of course, returning to full time employment is always an option but they should be glad to even have a job, given that so many people (with families) are still looking for work.
Family should always come first, but is it worth sacrificing your career as a woman? Especially in such an unstable economy? People are being laid off left & right and pink slips are becoming more popular than pay slips, so why risk providing less for your family, or at the very least why risk not being able to provide at all?
It’s so ironic to me that decades & decades after women fighting to work outside the home and earn equal pay (although we’re still not quite there), we now have women who are fighting to stay at home and NOT work at all. I can’t say that I agree with this woman’s decision. I think that she should continue to work full time and raise her family at the same time.
I’m not saying it will be easy but if she doesn’t really want her job someone else will.