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Catching Up: Samantha's Job at the AAS

This is the second in a series of posts catching up from where I left off.

In April of 2010 Samantha started her job cataloging at the American Antiquarian Society. When she was offered the position, there was no small amount of agonizing over whether to accept. Pros: An excellent line to have on your resume if you're a rare book cataloger, excellent experience, and it was a job, and those can be hard to come by. Cons: crappy pay and benefits and a 90 minute commute one way. With only two years of cataloging on her resume, eventually the pros won out.

In the early days it was manageable. She worked a four-day-a-week schedule, which gave her Thursdays off in exchange for working until 8 pm on Wednesdays. Eventually I had choir rehearsal on Wednesday evenings so we didn't really miss each other. She befriended several of her colleagues. She learned a lot about rare book cataloging and became a valued member of her department. And she learned to really enjoy listening to NPR for hours everyday.

When our daughter arrived in December, she got two weeks paid leave. (Remember: crappy benefits?) She took ten weeks more unpaid and went back to work on a regular five-day-a-week schedule so she didn't get home quite so late. But this still required her to leave the house at 6:30 am and didn't get her back until 5:30 pm. And once I went back to work, things got even crazier.

This was manageable too, but only barely. Very quickly the meager amount of paid leave she received (both vacation and sick time) was exhausted and it was a headache trying to keep track of it and schedule our lives around it. We eventually realized that having Samantha on the road for 3 hours a day and the effects this had on everyone else was corroding our souls. We snapped at each other more. We didn't eat as well. We started dreading the beginning of every workday and living the the weekend, even if we'd just need to spend all weekend making preparations for the next week to start. She began seeing all the downsides to the position: a weird, insular workplace where she couldn't see herself making a lifelong career. Pretty soon the conclusion was clear.

She left the AAS in May of 2012 and has been out of work ever since. The money we saved on daycare, gas and car maintenance didn't quite make up the difference, so it's been tight. But we've been a lot less stressed.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 1, 2013 5:39 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Shame on You, Glee.

The next post in this blog is God's Work in the Westboro Baptist Church.

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