Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Healthy or Unhealthy?

I've mentioned before that despite working steadily since age 15, I've never actually had a full-time job.  After finishing with my second masters, and with the economy squarely in the toilet, one of my friends was panicking and applying for ten jobs a day while working temporarily in an office.  I was sitting at home, wallowing, clipping coupons and looking for the job that I really wanted.  Eventually, she landed a full-time job, and I got a part-time one.

A year and a half later, she hates her job, and I'm pretty content with mine, which brings me to my point.  When the two of us were looking for work, she only wanted full time, she applied for everything that she was remotely qualified for, while I was a bit pickier in that I was looking for the right job--full-time or part-time.  I honestly can't decide if that makes me smart or dumb when it comes to job hunting.  Since I've never had a full-time job, I'm a bit intimidated at the notion.  I'm afraid to put all my eggs in one basket, to commit to 40 hours a week somewhere without really knowing what I'm getting into, especially if taking a full-time job means settling for something I'm less enthusiastic about.  

What if I hate it?  What if my co-workers are deranged?  What if it's just a miserable place to work?  At least if I have two part-time jobs, I can leave one and still have some income.  Of course, my friend has been making more money than me all along, so she could leave her job and have a healthier savings account than me.  And she has health insurance, so she's not running the risk of some kind of medical emergency that wipes out her savings.

I honestly go back and forth about this and whether my attitude of wanting to find a job where I first like the people that I work with is more important than the actual job is a healthy one or not.  The problem with my profession, librarianship, is that some libraries are just miserable places to work.  Librarians can be catty, deceptive, lazy, miserable and mean and I would rather not get stuck with a situation like that.  On the flip side, librarians can also be hilarious, brilliant, generous and just wonderful overall--clearly those are the people I'd like to work with.

So which comes first, the good job, or the benefits?  What makes a job good in the first place?  Maybe working full-time at a job that's only ok is just part of being a grownup--the part that escapes me so far.  I honestly don't know, but I would love some feedback on this.


  1. No feedback but understand your conundrum, as I'm a freelancer, an independent writer. I work for myself, no benefits, and I always think about these things when work is at its minimum.

  2. I've worked full time since I graduated from University (7 years now) and I can't really imagine not working full time- as much as I'd love to. If you can make ends meet and are happy then why work full time if you don't need to ? I'm trying to be careful with my money so hopefully I can cut down my hours when I have a family. Good luck with yr job, whether full or part time

  3. In my case, unfortunately, I'm working two part-time jobs which means two days off a month and no benefits of any kind. It's full-time hours without full-time benefits, but the benefit of more variety.

    I really like the people I work with, but I don't know how much longer I can keep this up. So I waffle back and forth between loving my situation, or feeling like I need to and hating the fact that I can't go to the dentist. So it seems like the grown-up thing to do is to just get a full-time job for all of the things that come with it, but again, I don't want a full-time job that I don't like.

    I'm too picky!