Monday, April 27, 2009

Sha-na-na-na-nah . . . Get a Job?

As I mentioned in my recent panicky post, we have less than three months till we put all our stuff in a truck and head east to become cemetery dwellers.

People ask me if I'm excited and I just don't know what to say. I was, and I think I am. I know I will be. But so much must be done first, and right now I don't quite know what I'm supposed to be looking forward to because so much is still unknown, particularly for me. Life in Michigan is in many ways a big, mitten-shaped, blank canvas.

We know where we're living (seminary townhouse), and I think being part of the seminary community will be interesting and good for us. But what does my actual day-to-day life look like? I do not know if I'm (a) getting up and editing two hours in my pajamas before taking my girl for a leisurely walk to the park to smell tulips before lunch, or (b) getting up and putting on stiff clothes I don't currently own and driving 45 minutes to spend 8 hours in a cube at some sort of Evil Spamway Corporation. There is a really big difference between the two.

Freelancing has its, ahem, prose and cons.

I would like to continue the freelance life, but I've never done it full time so I'm nervous about my ability to win enough bread (because health insurance/care will require a lot of extra bread). Yet a job would most likely have to have benefits to be worthwhile since it raises the issues of cars, commutes, clothes, and child care. But in our situation, with "preexisting" health issues, group health insurance is almost priceless, so I might have to take what I can find--if there are any jobs left in Michigan to find.

Another option would be for me move into a Starbucks and simply move from one side of the counter to the other depending on whether I'm working there or freelancing or sleeping. But I might build up an immunity to caffeine, and then I couldn't be a freelancer anymore. It's a rule. (Actually, though, I've heard Starbucks offers benefits and $4000 adoption grants. Hmmmm.)

There is some sort of break-even or tipping point between freelancing and a regular job. Freelancing is a better hourly rate, so a part-time job probably really doesn't make sense, although freelancing does require paying payroll taxes (which has never bothered me since we just had extra tax withheld from Aaron's pay to cover mine, but I'll have to pay quarterly again). But a job with benefits would be a different story. Maybe. Now we'd have child care and commuting costs to consider. So a lot depends on the particulars, but as I'm poking around online, I don't see any tailor-made publishing jobs just begging to be filled. Ten thousand new English major soon-to-be grads, plus half the auto industry, will probably see to that.

What do you think is the tipping point, dear readers? At what point is going back to a "real job" worth it--financially, emotionally, practically? What am I forgetting to consider?

Freelance and work-at-home friends in particular, what are your "wish I'd known that" secrets to making it work well enough to carry the financial load? If you've gone from job to freelance or vice versa, what have been the pros and cons for you?

Most importantly: which would make the best blog fodder?


Anonymous said...

That's so easy!! The Office!! It's already a whole Dilbert gone-sitcom!
But spending quality time with Anna, priceless! :)

K Leclercq said...

So much going on for you! Good luck with everything! Jobs are so overrated...

Anonymous said...

I've done them both, and the freelancing is pretty great. For me, it was too isolating. But you have your family and the kid thing brings with it lots of chances for interaction and getting out of the house. I say go for it.

Bree said...

well, you've got free child watching from aaron's old youth group kid here at Hope (ME!) i'm sure that whatever you do, God will bless it abundantly. i look forward to seeing you guys and meeting Anna (finally!)

Amy said...

I always go for the emotional need, and figure everything else will take care of itself (with God, of course!). Amazingly, there always seems to be enough money to pay the bills, but not always do I feel emotionally satisfied.

If I may be so bold, I get the sense that a full-time job would not please you. And also consider Anna - not ever having daycare, is she an easy adjuster? Or is it time for her to interact with kids?

Ren said...

I would also consider this...if you are planning/thinking/considering having another child, will having 2 kids in daycare/preschool be affordable anyway, even working a full time job away from both of them.

I totally planned on returning to work after having our first, but when we calculated the costs for 2, it just didn't make sense. Now, I wouldn't give it up for anything.

Last year I tried eBay for the first time and made my first real income in 4 years. Working from home has been a blessing...

Go with your gut-how will you and your family benefit the most, and not just financially of course.