Monday, August 28, 2006

My new boss is two foot two

As a general rule, I don’t blog about work. This is for several reasons. One is for privacy and semi-anonymity. But mainly, my work is usually not very interesting. (I work at a large institution doing some very specific technical things.) But also, the occasional anecdotes that seem really interesting or important might annoy co-workers (who may or may not still be reading this blog) if I take the time to write them down. Then they’d feel like they’re under a microscope. I think it’s unprofessional. That being said, I really wish I had blogged about the weird Jamaican guy who had the wrong number and kept repeatedly calling me trying to get me to tell him how he could become a doctor. (My job has nothing whatsoever to do with medical doctors nor admittance) I wanted to tell him “look, there is no way you’re even going to get your bachelors’ degree, you are a complete idiot!” but anyway, my boss finally talked to him for me and after we determined he was not a friend playing a joke on us, her conclusion was the guy was completely high or mentally ill. The last time he called, he threatened to write a letter to the president of the United States about me for not answering his questions about who he needed to talk to let him in the school. No, I’m not kidding.

But I digress…the one thing I wanted to post about is that in 4 days I will start working from home at 50% time. I have to go in to the office on Thursday afternoons but other than that, I will be working from a work laptop from home. I only get 50% pay so that is the bad part, but it will be offset somewhat by no parking (well except for the 1 day a week but that’s cheaper than monthly permit), less gas, and no childcare bills. Those would have been $1300 a month or so, had she gotten in to daycare. That is another whole long post which I intend to someday write, but for now the gist of it is that I got on 3 different waiting lists at my employer’s different daycares when I first got pregnant, last year, but they STILL do not have a place for Lauren. I had to pay $50 to be on these lists and they were not open and honest about the slim chances I’d have for getting her in, they just took my $50 and they made it seem like a fair system when in fact it is not. But anyway, that is another whole long story which you don’t want to get me going on…

So, after it became clear to us that I would not be able to, as I planned, simply drive Lauren in to daycare, go to work and visit and feed her at lunch, and then drive home with her, we started looking into other options. Of course, by now since I didn’t have her on any outsidelists, I lost out on some chances for other good daycare places. We didn’t want to hire an illegal alien nanny, which seems to be what a lot of people around here do, and we didn’t know how we could really trust someone in a small home daycare system. (Mainly our distrust comes from watching our neighbors who have (had?) an illegal daycare operation running where kids were playing in a pool unsupervised, etc.) The institutional daycare appealed to us because of the level of oversight. No one would really get a chance to molest or beat or neglect our child with the sheer number of employees and parents coming and going. Some of them even have webcams for parents to watch their child at any time. But big institutional daycare centers have long waiting lists so they were out of the picture. I did not really want to stay home with Lauren and be a stay-at-home mom because well, frankly, we need the money and I value the company of other adults who compensate me monetarily in appreciation for my work! (In other words I would be bored at home all day and can’t imagine not having a paycheck.)

After much soul-searching on the matter, we decided that if I had to, I would take a leave of absence from work until we could get her in to a good daycare program. We have her on a list for a co-op daycare which starts at age 2. It really appeals to us for the level of involvement parents have. All parents have to volunteer one afternoon a month and one Saturday a quarter (cleaning on Saturdays) Another program was recommended to me with an even longer list but I learned the insider tips for getting Lauren in (sign up for every list they have, even the ones for only one or two days a week, then get in for one day a week, and from there you have a better chance of getting in full-time. Demonstrate that she is “gifted” and that we are willing to volunteer and commit to the program long-term). A friend with a baby offered to watch Lauren but she lives completely on the other side of town and it would be too long of a commute. Anyway, I wanted to give my boss as much notice as possible about possibly not working, so I had a talk with her about it and she said that rather than lose me as an employee, she would try to come up with some way I could work part-time from home. The main component of my job that I am the only one here who really knows how to do, I can do from anywhere on my laptop. So starting on Friday, I go to the new plan!

I’m very grateful that my boss has given me this chance to work and still spend time with Lauren and not have to worry about her. The loss of 50% of my salary is downright scary but we would have had to start paying almost that much for infant care anyway very soon. My mother is watching her at the moment but she is a teacher and her school year is starting. Plus, she has her own life and needs to get back to it. My “telecommuting agreement” is that I will do this for September, October, and November. In November, my boss has the option to review it and see if she wants to extend it or recall me back to full-time office duties. I’m banking on Lauren continuing her long afternoon naps, and if not, then I’ll have to do the work in the evenings when Ryan is home. I have a feeling it will end up adding up to more than 20 hours if I am constantly checking email to see what I’m missing. But on the other hand, I will be able to focus more on technical things without all of the interruptions I get now from people constantly wandering in lost, calling on the phone, or just coming in to chat. In fact, I should get back to some of that work right now; I’m interrupting myself by writing this!


Kelly said...

It sounds like a good plan, and the best of both worlds:-)

stud-horse said...

God bless you for not hiring an illegal alien nanny! If you did, you have to conspire with someone who is in the country illegally, and who is using someone else's social security number (yours? mine?). There are about 5 billion people who'd like to live in the US illegally, thanks for not being someone who encourages them.