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As you all probably know - my Father passed away on 6/3/05 from cancer - and I still care for my Mother who is a chronic schziophrenic with breast cancer and heart disease.

Prior to being a full time care giver and working from home - I had a very good career in the Mortgage Industry. The company I worked for 11 years - closed due to bankruptcy - but I was kept on (and still am) - to work from home and finish the "close out" of the company. Everything happens for a reason - so they say - and I do so believe it - without this I could have NEVER financially been able to stay home and care for my parents like I have. Prior to working from home and moving my parents in with me 4 1/2 years ago - I would go over their house before work - at lunch and after work - to help them with what they need. They didn't need full time care - but some assistance.

Anyway - thru my parents issues - I have been offered some jobs - that some were really good but I turned down - because I knew I couldn't pull it off. Again ANOTHER job offer came and landed in my lap. A wonderful job as a Vice President - again here I go being tempted by this job.

I currently have it out on the table to the owner of this 3,000 person company - can I work a 4 day work week - he is considering it. Then I wonder if I am really insane!!!!! Work was such a HUGE part of my life prior to 5 years ago - it was WORK, my parents and my daughter that was it - so I think I am migrating back to what I know and what is comfortable. I get tingles when I think of being in an office again - working for a company that is actually making money - and just getting back into the hussle and bussle of business - and getting dressed up everyday!!!!! LOL!!! I think this may be just what I need - instead of sitting home everyday - crying and moping around at the loss of my Father. It would keep my mind occupied.

But in the same breath - I wonder if I am INSANE - my Mother would need care while I worked -which I guess could be done -but she fires everyone LOL!!! Plus her sleepliness nights would be much harder to take if I had to go to an office the next day - instead of sitting around the house. Then I think she does have breast cancer - heart disease and is 82 years old - what I am thinking by going back to a career - when one day physically she may need the same help my Father did. So I am just torn as to what to do. How can I really leave her? But how can I really not? At this point I would never put her in a facility - but I would need to get care-givers. On the days that I would work - I would probably only see her 2-3 hours a day - that would be a shock in itself. I really sit here and think WHAT AM I THINKING?????? I just am falling back into what was comfortable and who I used to be.

I continue to have a paycheck coming in by working from home - but that job should be over by the end of the year - maybe early spring of 2006 - I don't know - they say its gonna be over soon for the last 2 years - so I can't really even bank on that. I have enough in savings that after my work from home job is over that I could probably take off 6-12 months - but then what????? Will she even still be with us? Will she require even more care?

I am just really torn and all over the place. The other thing is - I don't feel as guilty going to work - as I do - meeting a friend for dinner - movie - show or a night out - so that is always a plus LOL!!! I have about 10 close friends who work at this company as well. I feel I will end up at that place someday - but is now really the someday?????? but again when the someday comes will such a GREAT offer be on the table.

All thoughts are appreciated. Keep in mind my Father died - 54 days ago - and I have a hard enough time doing dishes & laundry - I can't imagine really having to "work" - but maybe that is just what I need to snap me out of my funk - can you tell I am just ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!!

Thanks for listening!!!

Janet
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Hi Janet:

Sometimes it is so hard to make decisions when there are so many other issues to consider. But, you have to think of yourself first and foremost. In a situation like this, I always fall back on the "list". I mean, by that, to sit down and list the pros and cons. Try to look at your decision in an objective fashion.

Does the job offer the flexible schedule that you need? Does the employer understand your eldercare issues? How about health benefits/retirement for you? Work can be good for recovery.

I have been caregiving and going to school part-time for four and a half years myself. If I did not have school, I would have gone nuts! Now, because my son is available to fill in and my 88-year old dad is actually improving instead of deteriorating (in some ways), I have started to work part time also. I think it is a good decision for me.

You know, Janet, what do you have to lose? It may be worthwhile to give it a shot. It might be that you are "all over the board" because since your Dad's passing, you have lost your "anchor". Ultimately, it is your decision and only you know if this would be something you can handle now or not at this point. But, I think it is easier to try at something new, even if it doesn't work out, then to perpetually regret that you didn't.

Hope this helps, Glenda
Thanks for your input. Yes - you are right if it doesn't work out then I can quit - however its not all that simple.

I currently have a job working from home - probably til the end of the year - spring time - so once I give that up it is gone.

Then 2nd thing is - is I know these people at the place that is offering me the job VERY well. I worked with a lot of them for years - and they are WELL aware of my situation. However, they would be flexible but only to a point - its a business and being a Vice President - well it wouldn't look good if they were always making exceptions for me. So I guess my point is -I don't want to take a job - have it work out and burn some bridges.

I figured what I would do is put some BIG stipulations out to them - they offered 5 day work week - 2 weeks vacation - with a start date of August 15th. I put out there - 4 day work week - 4 weeks vacation with a start date of September 12th. So I think my demands are pretty unreasonable and they don't believe in the 4 day work week thing - but they said they would consider it. My thought is - if this is meant to be then they will agree to everything - if not - then - that bridge was not burned (cause the demands are based on my situation) - and when the time is right - maybe something else will be available.

I think what bothers me - is that I can see myself becoming "the person" I used to be. Business/Career oriented. I don't know if that is a bad thing - but it is so far from who I am today. I guess most people have to work - and I still don't know what my dream is to be when I grow up (i'm 37 - so I guess I should figure that out sooner than later) -

You said you were going to school p/t - what are you studying? what made you decide to do that? You also said you got a p/t job - what is that doing and what did you used to do prior to going back to school and being a care-giver? I am just curious if I am heading down the road that is "comfortable" instead of what is "right"

Thanks for all your input!!!!

Janet

[This message has been edited by jmw0913 (edited 07-27-2005).]
Hi Janet:

I decided to go to school to learn about the computer after I had moved home to care for dad when villains broke his hip. I realized that a job was out of the question at that point and so signed up to learn new business skills. I am taking BIS (Business Information Systems) and learning a lot. The business world has changed immensely in the last decade or so.

Prior to care-giving, I worked for an architectural firm doing residential design work which translates to drafting floor plans, working drawings and building permit applications. Luckily it is a very flexible job and I don�t have to punch a time clock. I have a drawing board in our home, but find it too distracting to accomplish much. So, I decided (due to financial concerns) to go back into the office once or twice a week as needed for a few hours at a time and do permit applications when needed or draw up plans. So, I guess the �comfortable� road is the road I have taken for now (beats the �uncomfortable� road LOL).

In your situation, you say that they are well aware of it, but do they really understand the demands, pressure and guilt issues that surround care-giving? Perhaps when you look objectively at pros and cons, look at your co-workers too. Examine where they are at in life and evaluate their experience with the reality of what we experience as care-givers. You are truly sensitive to the issues of eldercare and have been there for your parents when others would have been inattentive. I often wonder how we can fit back into the real world after our experiences. It is not wrong to be career-oriented since that is what the business world thrives on and, in addition, there are financial and fulfillment issues that benefit you.

I would recommend going to school if you can or so desire if your VP position doesn�t materialize. It is a great way to avoid feeling trapped in the care-giving role and still enhance your job options in the future. You are still young at 37 years old so do not stress over your age and career options because you feel you are getting �older�. I am over 50 myself and oftentimes think that I am batty to be going to school at this age. Yet, it is the best decision that I made for myself during this time. I find many people at school in my age group who are not there voluntarily. The job market has forced them to update their skills.

Barb summed it up well when she said �look at it objectively and pray�. This opportunity has come to you because you are obviously a valuable asset in the business world. May God bless you either way! You have a good outlook with regards to this opportunity. If it happens, give it your best shot and if it doesn�t, think about other options that will prepare you for future opportunities.

Good Luck and God Bless, Glenda
Janet,

I hope you will find the answer to your question and find peace in it. I can't suggest anything because right now I'm thinking about something Glenda wrote. "I often wonder how we can fit back into the real world after our experiences." Boy oh boy, is this ever true.

Things aren't the same for me after returning to work. I'm beginning to wonder why I'm even there. I'm sure I'll find the answer very soon and then I will decide what to do.

I know you will find the answer, too, Janet.

~Jane

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