Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Five steps back for womenkind...

So, as all 2 of you who read my blog regularly probably know - I am not completely satisfied with my job - well, engineering - that is. I love the work environment, I love my coworkers, I even love my bosses. But something about the work makes me want to kill myself.

I've been complaining to E. He suggested that I request to cut back my hours to 60% - 24 hrs a week instead of 40. They let the women who have kids do that. But they have a reason. I don't really have a reason. Well, my reason is: I don't like most of the work - I don't want to spend most of my waking hours doing something I don't like. Is that a good enough reason? E told me to tell them it's for 'personal' reasons. OK.

I waltzed into my boss's office yesterday afternoon. And asked him if I could cut back my hours to 60% for 'personal' reasons. He turned completely around to face me - looked me right in the eye and said "Ayana, are you not happy here?" - with a hurt expression on his face. I looked down and said, "No" - which really means yes - but you know what I mean.

He was really shocked and went on about how they really like my work and they had NO idea I wasn't happy. We also discussed the assignments that I DO like - the excel algorithm I created to model one of the systems and the automation I did in LabView. However these types of assignments are few and far between. The assignments that are bountiful are the writing of technical reports and memos. Then he said that he doesn't think that reducing my hours is going to help the situation because 4 hours of drudgery is not much different than 8 hours of drudgery - which is true for most people. So, we started discussing what could make my work better and what would I rather be doing. I think he suspected that I was going to work another job.

I told him that what I would rather be doing is laundry and cooking and cleaning - you know, getting my house together. I would also rather be crocheting and/or sewing something. Totally something out of the 1950's, right? But it's the truth.

So, he said that we should both mull over it and talk about it later on this week. The more I thought about it, the more I felt like - I am not the type of person who will want to work ANY job more than 3 days a week. I can barely sit still for more than an hour - which is the reason I bring yarn and a hook with me everywhere. I think I have ADD.

This morning, I had another meeting with my other boss - the one who supervises me directly. He said that he was shocked as well. But, he said that our company is pretty flexible when it comes to this type of stuff and if I REALLY want to - they will let me. I'm thinking, "YAY"!!! But he warned me that I will be less 'attractive' to project directors (including him, I guess) looking for people to work on assignments. So, it may be hard for me to find work. (We get paid here by charging to certain projects - so when the projects run out, so do our pay checks). I told him that I wanted to reduce my hours starting January 1st. He also said that he was depending on me for the next couple of months to help him with his projects - and he is not sure I can get it done if I am only working 60%. Well, maybe I should wait to reduce my hours till the end of February.

Or maybe I should work really hard to get the assignments done on time and prove that I can be productive at even 60%.

Although, I know that I would be much happier if I could reduce my hours, I feel kinda bad. My job is male dominated and I am in a position to prove that women are just as good as (if not better than, ha!) men - but instead, I am telling them that I would rather be home making brownies. But that's me.

So that's 1 big step for Ayana, and 5 steps back for womankind.


Anonymous said...

I liked your recent blog. I have been going through the same searching about my work, but it's slightly different. A person who was trying to get me fired was fired. That person infected our company for almost a year. I've been trying to recover, but some of the joy has gone out of me. I think "I'd rather be home writing, baking, cleaning–doing simple things". I love my work also. The love of my life is J, and he will support me in whatever I do. Reducing my hours is one option I'm considering.

Thanks for your blog.

Ayana said...

You are very welcome!

R Jaa said...

It's good that you were honest with your job but I also think it may bite you in the a** in the future. I'm also surprised that they had no idea that you weren't happy doing what you are doing. Lastly, I agree with you that it may be some steps back for women but hopefully they are not viewing what you are doing as a woman-thang but rather an Ayana-thang.

P.S. I think you have ADD too!! LOL ;)
P.P.S. Very well-written blog

Ayana said...

Thanx girl! You are right - it may come back to haunt me.

Kelly Malloy said...

I really don't think it is a step back to say that you don't enjoy something. There are just as many women who couldn't stand the thought of actually putting a pot on the stove. I think it is most important to do the things we love rather than worrying about what we should do. Congrats on taking a step closer to happiness (Something ALL women want!)