Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Empowered or Deluded?

I was just reading this extract from the NY times on women who choose to give up promising careers to stay at home with their families. I wonder whether it is empowered or deluded?

If you are interested, this is what the Becker-Posner Blog has to say about it. The subject has been discused in quite some detail, so I won't go into the economic and social arguments here. Just limiting myself to my own personal experience, my thoughts are these:

I wonder whether I am it's a great thing that my husband's career is interesting and provides for many oppourtunities for international travel, or that it is all terribly incompatible with my own land-locked career?

I work for much less money now than when I was a lawyer. But on the other hand I've ticked a lot more things on my "Life's to-do List" this year than I ever could have done working in a law firm, such as:
1) taken a crash course in economics (yep I finally understand Lagrangian multipliers!)
2) learned to make passable deserts (something which always confounded me)
2) speak enough Italian to kind of survive
3) Finished reading my French Lit books (which were otherwise gathering dust on the shelf)

The List of other things which I want to get around to doing whilst in Turin are:
1) get a driving licence (this is actually quite hard to do in Italian!!)
2) learn more about photography, art and art history
3) read more about Corp Fin, Econs and Sustainable Development (eclectic I know, but considering a career switch to microfinancing and development work)

Of course, I do wonder whether I could have done all those things whilst working as an in-house lawyer... I actually think it was possible, because I left work at 5pm almost everyday, but would have taken longer... However I think there is no need to torture myself with a whole bunch of "what ifs" and "maybes".

The point is, I've put my career temporarily on hold because this was the state of affairs Fabien and I agreed on for now. However, just as I look forward to starting full time work again (although I am not sure if I necessarily wish to go back to law) I also have learnt to enjoy the increased flexibility and the fulfilment with working free-lance light-weight academic - as opposed to my "heavy weight" academic friends who actually make a career out of university education.

Merry Merry Christmas and Peace and Goodwill to all!


Maridel said...

Sharon, I think you are on the right track to find the difficult balance between all important things in your life (carrier, family life, leisure activities, geographical mobility). It is really difficult to have them all at their highest level and unavoidably you have to make some sacrifices e.g. in terms of your carrier. Michele, that likes economic theories, used to remind me about 1 theory that says that happiness is maximised when we devote time and resources to all the variables of our utility function (e.g. carrier, entertainment, family) and NOT when we put all our time and resources on ONE single variable.

mini said...

empowered! for me it's easy to stick in a career and follow the defined path but it's actually tough to reevaluate what you actually want out of life, your interests and pursue that. it's more fulfilling that way. but it's all talk for now since I haven't done anything about it :)

clara said...

You define what you want and happiness is more a state of being content with what you have and do right now.

As far as your decision to work / stay at home, it doesn't matter so long as you and Fab agree on the state of affairs! :)

And yes... I can't imagine you doing all the stuff that you have ticked off whilst being a high powered lawyer (in house or not).