Thursday, February 5, 2015
Time to Leap...
...and hope I have a smooth landing.
When I quit my job as an Executive Assistant at a Management Consulting firm ten years ago to stay home and look after my daughter (and then son, who came along a year and a half later), I had no idea it would be for this long or that it would be so hard, psychologically, to take the step of re-entering the workforce. But once our second child came along it made a lot of sense to save on childcare and try to struggle by on one income. It was important to both my husband and me to be the primary caregivers to our children. Now they are almost 8 and 11, extremely responsible and fairly self sufficient.
Our little family leads a humble yet comfortable existence. We own a small town-home in a good neighborhood. We have food to eat, a car to drive, and enough credit that we can purchase what we need, when we need it. With that credit, of course, comes increasing debt. A family of four in 2015 cannot really afford to live on one salary (I'll just say it's less than $100,000 and leave it at that, since it's not considered polite to talk about money). In our modern world there are necessary expenses that my parents didn't have to worry about - high-speed internet, cable, cell phones, computers. Sure, they are not technically "necessities", but they are "technical necessities". In order to keep up with the modern world, you have to have them. As my kids get older, it may be necessary to get them their own laptops and cell phones (although we will avoid this for as long as we can, lol). They also participate in activities throughout the year that are an added expense (on top of clothing, food and not a whole lot of entertainment). My son takes karate at the local community centre and my daughter usually takes a hip-hop class once a week. We also enroll them each in daycamps for one week each summer - to give them a break from each other and from me and for the experience itself.
All this adds up.
When my daughter was four years old and my son eighteen months, I had my second MS relapse. At the beginning of the ordeal I didn't know that's what it was. I didn't know WHAT it was, which was very scary. I was diagnosed with MS after the doctor took one look at an MRI image of my brain and watched me try to tie my shoes with fingers that would not obey the signals my brain was trying to send. For three weeks my parents had to come over and make lunches for the kids because I was unable to cut their food up for them. Luckily my hands recovered, and I went on to write several erotic short stories and a trilogy of erotic novels, all published. I had hoped that income from the books would supplement us enough to avoid looking for other work. Unfortunately, the little bit of money I do earn pretty much goes back into promotion and inventory.
It is nerve wracking to re-enter the workforce after an absence of ten years. It is doubly so when you have a chronic, unpredictable disease to deal with.
My MS has been fairly stable over the past six 1/2 years. I've only suffered one relapse in that time. However, when I did, it was invaluable to be able to essentially put my feet up and do nothing for a few weeks while my body regained it's sensory stability and strength. I just don't know what I'll do if/when I suffer a relapse while trying to hold down a job.
However, I realize that most people with Multiple Sclerosis have some kind of work life. Because of better treatment options, many people with MS lead much more normal lives. I sat down to have a talk with a woman who works at the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian MS Society and I confessed to her that I was scared that I'd have a serious relapse if I went back to work. She said that I could have a serious relapse even if I don't go back to work. And she's right. I can't live life worrying about what might happen.
It will probably make me a happier person to have a job at this point. Especially this time of year I do feel cooped up and bored at home, even when I've got a writing project on the go. I've decided to start with something part-time, either retail or reception, to ease my transition and give me an idea of my current energy levels since one of the MS symptoms I deal with is both body and brain fatigue. If that works out okay and I have enough leftover energy to continue writing and socialize occasionally, then great. I doubt I will ever return to full time work, but it is a possibility.
So, if anyone knows of any retail openings or reception positions in the Ottawa area, shoot me an email. I'm personable, reliable, functionally bilingual and sex positive. I'm also funny as hell and can write a mean sex scene ;)
And blogging. I'm okay at blogging.