Wednesday, January 11, 2012


"Mom, I think you need to stop and reconsider: Why did you get a job in the first place?"

My teenage son was calling me up short. Giving me a reality check. Helping me focus. Teenagers are good at that!

An odd thing happened last week. During my shift at Wal-Mart, two different people came through my line and asked me if I'd be interested in applying for jobs elsewhere. One leaned over my counter and asked in a low voice, "Do you plan to work here at Wal-Mart indefinitely?"

"Um, no, I don't think so," I replied, befuddled. Seemed like an odd question, coming from a customer.

"Come by (a local business) this week and talk to me. We have an opening, and I think you'd be perfect for the job."

Two days later, another customer did almost the same thing.

Two opportunities, out of the blue. Both unsolicited. Both with respectable, well-established businesses. Both offer better pay, plus benefits. Both are full-time, day jobs.

If you've read this blog any length of time, you know how very much I dislike leaving home every evening to go to work as a cashier. I miss the family dinner and the conversation and interaction that comes at the end of the day. You know how very, very tired I am. Getting in bed at midnight after 5 1/2 hours at a cash register, then stumbling out of bed 6 hours later to start a new day of school, babysitting, and life is exhausting. So, what to do about the two job opportunities mentioned above? Seems like a No Brainer!

Except that things are never quite so simple for me - my brain makes everything uber complicated. Thus the conversation with the kids, in which my son made the above comment.

So why did I go to work at Wal-Mart in the first place? Well, the short answer is, We needed the money. Medical bills, and then school fees. Right now, everything I make goes to the local university to help cover tuition for five students (Does it sound like we are secretly trying to take over the campus with Kendalls?! And no, there's no "bulk rate" discount - I asked.) Okay, first reason: money.

So why Wal-Mart? Because it's the one local employer who hires part-time workers for other than days. I could work nights at a local factory, but I'd have to pull a full 8-hour shift...and I just don't think I could physically handle that workload. Why nights? Because it's important to me to be home during the day to school my kids and to oversee the running of the house. I'm just not ready to give up being Mom yet. So, second reason: I needed something part-time, evening or night.

Now, what reasons were NOT a part of my going to work? I did not go to work to make a load of money so that I could furnish my house or pay for a vacation. I did not go to work to secure benefits such as health insurance, although I think having health insurance would be totally awesome. I did not go to work to build a second career - I have no aspiration of being an assistant manager at Wal-Mart or anywhere else.

These two new opportunities would provide all the things on the second list, but both would also require me to work full-time, days - away from home, away from "school"/the kitchen table. What to do?

I like the people I work for and with at Wal-Mart, and I like the customers I service. I do not like always being so tired, and I miss evenings at home. Yes, I would like one day to be able to afford a vacation or a visit to the dentist. And, Yes, I would like someday to use my energy for something besides scanning groceries. (For example, I fantasize that one day, I will be a real Writer!)

But, if the opportunity requires that I give up my job as Mom, then - No, today is not that day.

Thanks to my son, and his pointed question, for bringing some clarity to the situation. Thanks for clearing the fog, so that I can say, "No, thank you" - with no regrets.

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