Monday, May 13, 2013


Nothing newsy happening at work right now. I’m getting closer and closer to the end of my study tome for the certification exam, but with every day that goes by with just a few more dense, jargon-riddled pages consumed (and hopefully comprehended and committed to memory) I find myself struggling to keep under control a growing feeling of GAH GAH GAH JUST LET ME TAKE THE TEST ALREADY. I might very well get a passing grade, even without slogging through the last 20% of the book! I do very well on standardized tests! It’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to coast this far in life as it is!

But of course this is a terrible idea. The mature, responsible and professional thing to do is to keep at with the self-study until I’m truly prepared, and then have my employer pony up the cash for the exam, knowing that I did everything I could to prepare myself and reasonably assure an optimal outcome. Winging it with some combination of my real-world job experience and my innate ability to spot the best answer on multiple-choice tests is appealing, but that’s only because it’s a diabolical trap my ego has set for me. One which I’m far better off avoiding.

Speaking of traps and also of careers (go with me on this one), my wife has officially returned to work, with a half-day shift this past Friday and another one on Saturday. She’s back doing clinical veterinary practice and also back at a feline-only clinic, which allows her a certain amount of specialization which she prefers. And so far the new boss seems non-crazy and the support staff seems nice and competent, so all in all it’s a good setup for her. I was home with all the kids on Saturday morning, but on Friday we had our first experience with in-home care for the two youngest (the little guy is continuing to go to daycare until the end of May) and that went well, also.

The trap element in this case is money, it must sadly but truly be said. Not too long ago I was talking to an old college friend/former colleague who is getting married this fall and is planning on starting a family within the next couple years. My friend asked me what the monthly expense for daycare in the area were like, and I had to break it to him that quality daycare is outrageously expensive. My wife and I find it a considerable strain on our budget, and that’s with my wife sticking to a non-traditional schedule that allows her to be home some days when I’m at the office and working others, so our kids have never required fulltime five-day-a-week care. I kind of summed things up for my friend by opining that one reason why there are so many college-educated women who are more than competent in their chosen fields who choose to become stay-at-home moms is because if they did work but also paid for fulltime daycare, they’d end up losing money every month.

But the reason why this is a trap rather than a no-brainer, especially in my wife’s case, is because her career requires a certain amount of upkeep. Maybe she could take a few years off while the kids are very small, and then go back to work when the kids are in public (aka covered by taxes) school and only need a modicum of before-and-after care that we’d pay for out of pocket. On a strict number-crunching level that might add up, but during those years she wasn’t working my wife would be falling behind on medical and technological advances in her field, and he resume would have a gap on it that employers tend to view with a negatively biased eye, and those are difficult challenges to overcome.

So we suck it up and break even on the source of income versus expense of daycare calculation, because it avoids certain problems that might otherwise crop up further down the road. And we play the lottery when it gets up to the triple-digit-millions, because man, that would obliterate certain budgetary traps in a highly satisfying way.

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