Jules and I were talking today about sabotage. You know, when someone does something to you to make sure your plans don’t work out. We wondered if it was possible to sabotage yourself.
Jules is a nurse. She has a Master’s degree. She works in Intensive Care. But since she’s had her kids she’s only been working part-time. She works two nights a week because it fits in with the schedules of the rest of the family.
She earns good money for those two nights but she has no responsibility and no chance of promotion. She has job satisfaction as a direct result of dealing with her patients but limited career fulfilment. She would like more but at the moment the logistics of her working full time in a demanding position are not manageable.
I find myself in the same boat. I am the typical jack-of-all-trades and master of none. I can teach, I can sing, I play piano and guitar, I can edit, I can write. I also do accounts and am not too bad at sales. Yet I can’t seem to find a permanent job that gives me satisfaction and the income I need.
I do a lot of freelance or casual work because it is the only way I can work the hours that I need to ensure Nick is not by himself for too long after school. I have found that Sydney is a very family unfriendly town and believe it or not, the teaching profession is the largest offender.
Jules and I both feel we don’t really have careers. We have jobs and odd ones at that because we have put our families before ourselves. Our situation got us wondering how many other women do it and if this constant juggling of children and jobs and housework and cooking and extra-curricular activities is what any woman really wants.
I also wonder if this chaotic, often stressful lifestyle is a direct result of the feminist push in the 60s and 70s. Is this the price we have paid for gender equality? And if it is, I really don’t feel all that equal, I just feel weary and disenchanted.
Modern life dictates that we just work and work and work. There are very little allowances made for children or accommodations made for things like people with medical conditions who might find it easier to work from home. We want it all but don’t realise that having it all is quite possibly unattainable.
Career, children, home, self. Are there enough hours in the day to factor all those variables equally into our lives? I don’t think there are. Something has to suffer. Jules and I feel that in seeking too much we are sabotaging ourselves. We are the agent saboteur in our own lives. Sometimes it is hard to imagine life being any different.