Friday, February 17, 2006

Working Girl

by Amy's Blinkies

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have rejoined the ranks of the employed. It's all very unexpected (even for me), and really quite surreal.

Tuesday morning, I was checking my email while Luke was munching his morning Cheerios. I spot an email from a former boss, the woman who hired me to the only job I've had (besides mommy) since graduating from college in 1998. I haven't actually worked for her since 2000, but we've kept in touch. Anyway, the email is titled "Any interest in doing some IE work?" (IE: Industrial Engineering, which is what my degree is in) Hmmm, that seems curious. I haven't sent out any resumes, I haven't called any old contacts to check into work. In fact, except to a *very* tiny group of people, I've hardly mentioned even thinking of going back to work any time soon. What on earth prompted her to contact me?

Wait. Lots of her "old group" was laid off about the time I was. She pretty much hand-selected 6 of us straight out of Georgia Tech to come and work for her, and I know that she has a special place in her heart for all of us. I bet she had some work open up and is extending the offer to all of us. It is now about 9 AM, and if it is first come, first served, on the offer, then I'm out. Besides, unless the pay is *really* good, it's just not worth the added expense of daycare. I wouldn't net enough to make it worthwhile. I'll read it, I'll check it out, but I doubt it will work out.

The email's opening line is: Hey Momma Erin! Okay, now you have my undivided attention. The email has been send *specifically* to me, and she is acknowledging the fact that I am still at home, and I know she knows me well enough to know that it is most likely by my own choice. Where on earth can she possibly be going with this?

"I have taken over the [edit] project and I'm up to my eyeballs in work - I need some one who can maintain project schedule documents and do some arts and charts for my Leadership Reviews. The good news is that you could work out of your commute!! Let me know if you have any interest and I'll tell ya more. Hope to hear from you!!!"

You have got to be kidding me. Real work, in my field, working with someone I know and greatly enjoy working both with and for, completely from home, just falling out of the sky and into my lap (or my inbox). I'm trying desperately not to get excited. I absolutely cannot work from home if I am expected to work any kind of "normal" business hours and keep Luke home with me. He won't allow me to *type* if he's awake; he has to be under my feet pitching a fit or in my lap banging on the keyboard, neither of which is conducive to accomplishing work. I try to suppress the hope, but ask for more information, just in case. If nothing else, I consider it a great honor and compliment that she thinks highly enough of me and my work to seek me out and ask me to work for her, even though I haven't worked for her in over 5 years. At the very least, it should definitely mean that she'd give me a good recommendation/referral if and when I do decide to go back to work.

I express my interest, and receive a response. It boils down to this: they need someone to maintain documentation and schedules, and perform major data manipulation, including what she likes to call "arts and charts" (giggle) for presentations to upper muck-a-mucks. I would not actually be working for my old company; I would be hired by a contracting firm and then 100% assigned to her group. And being a contract position, while I get no benefits (fine, as I have medical through my husband's job, and I can handle retirement on my own), I would get paid overtime should the need arise (faint). She knew I had the skills, she knew I had the discipline necessary to work 100% virtual office (contract company providing computer, business phone, printer, etc), and she knew I was probably available. She just didn't know if I had any interest in working again right now.

When Luke went down for his nap, I called her with my concerns. Given the pay range she listed, it was not nearly enough to make it worthwhile for me to work and send Luke to daycare. My time at home with him is much more important than the small increase in monthly income this job plus daycare cost would provide, particularly when we are not hurting for money. (We don't have much spare, but we pay all our bills in full and on time, and we eat just fine.) What hours would she expect me to be available?

I simply could not believe her response. As long as I got in my 40 hours and I can meet her deadlines (which will be set, to a certain extent, with my limitations in mind), the time was almost completely flex time. She would expect me to return phone calls and some emails at least once or twice a day (can you say "Luke's nap time"?), but that she understood that the bulk of my work would be done during "business off hours." Again, that was part of what made her think of me, because she realized that it would be the perfect kind of job for someone who only had odd hours to work. As long as the documentation is kept current, and the data and/or charts arrive in her inbox the morning we agree on, she doesn't really care when I actually do it.

One last hurdle: Jacob's graduation. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but my brother is graduating with his PhD from the University of Miami in May. I had literally just purchased my plane tickets the night before, and NO job is worth me missing that. There were also already plans to attend spring training again this year, but I was willing to cancel that if absolutely necessary (though I knew DH would not be happy about it in the slightest). "Not to worry, we can work around that."

So, let me get this straight. Without me even looking or asking or hinting, an old friend contacts me out of the blue, asking me if I would like a job, in my field, making somewhat close to my old salary, working completely from home for a boss I know and love, with total flex time to also stay at home and take care of my son during the day, and without affecting any vacation-type plans already in place. There is no interview, there are presently no other contenders for the job. I don't have to find a sitter, or a daycare service, or a new professional wardrobe, or drive in traffic, or pay for parking. I don't even have to send her a resume. All I have to do is say yes.

So I did. I start March 1. They say good goes around. I guess it was finally my turn to be on the receiving end.

Currently feeling: amazed


  1. Wow thats brilliant news hon :) What more of a perfect job could you ask for :)

    Congratulations :)


  2. Congratulations Erin!! Sounds like the perfect job for you.

  3. That is awesome!!! Congrats!

  4. That is really great Erin! Having recently re-entered the job market myself, I'm so jealous!

  5. The job sounds PERFECT! CONGRATS!

  6. OMG!!!! How fabulous!!! Congrats!! It sounds like a perfect situation for you! :D

  7. Congrats! I'm so happy for you.

  8. That's wonderful! Congratulations!

  9. That is so fabulous! Congratulations!

  10. OMG Erin this is absolutely positively PERFECT!!! Congrats to you and a big woohooo to former/future boss for thinking of you!

  11. Wow Erin, that's awesome!! Sometimes things just work out, don't they?

  12. That rocks, Erin!!!!!!!!!

  13. Fantastic news, Erin, what an opportunity :)

  14. That's SO great, Erin! Congratulations and welcome to the world of working at HOME moms!!!

  15. Wow, the job sounds perfect! Congratulations!


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