Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sweatpants and Genes

Yesterday I did a favor for my husband, to which he said "For doing this, I will never ask you to get a job again." No, no, get your mind out of the gutter.  It wasn't that type of favor-- although I'm sure that type of favor done more often would get a similar reaction.  It was a work-related favor that I won't go into detail about in case down the road I somehow get famous, the media gets a hold of my blog, and it somehow falls into the hands of his upper management and they discover that I (not technically his secretary) did the work for him.  

Now, we all know that at some point he's going to forget this promise-- but I won't.  The thing is, I don't mind getting a job, I just mind him bugging me about it.  I actually liked working and can't wait to be back in my career again.  Oh, sure, it's a relief not to have to get up early every morning, shower, dress, and then try to maneuver four kids into clothes, breakfast, lunch, backpacks, coats, and out the door- all on a strict time schedule; but I did enjoy wearing something other than sweatpants, and discussing something other than how much we like the new Fresh Beats song and whether to have peanut butter and jelly or bologna and cheese for lunch. These days, I actually put on makeup and jewelry to go the library and the grocery store, since those are my only opportunities to dress up.  But you've got to live the life you have, and my life right now does not include "a job". (And before you start justifying and trying to make me feel better by saying "you DO have a job- taking care of your family", you know what I mean.  Sure, being a stay-at-home mom doesn't mean I get to eat ice cream and watch soap operas all day, but it also is not the same as being 40 hours a week high-energy, political face on, desperate to draw a bigger paycheck at your next performance evaluation.  The only performance evaluation I'm going to get is when my husband chooses my Alzheimer's Home (see prior post:  The Morning After)

But, having not worked full-time in three years and not worked part-time for the last six months, I am ready to get back into the swing of things- outside my home.  My husband is ready for it too, although we have different motivations.  He wants the extra income.  I want an excuse to not do laundry and to hire a maid.  Plus, the Fresh Beats don't come out with songs often enough to keep me entertained on a daily basis.  

The problem with re-entering the work force is, well, the re-entering part.  Sure, economics are tough these days... but I've also got a very specific list.  In order to afford daycare full-time for two children and part-time for two more, I've got a financial requirement.  Then, because I insist on enjoying my job if it's going to take me away from the children all day, that narrows down the pot even more.  And then, well, say I find that job that I love and that pays what I want (most of the jobs I want do not pay what I want, by the way), then I have to convince that employer to hire me.  And there comes a problem, because, as you may know, I have a big problem.  At the risk of offending some of you out there, I'm going to say it anyway.  I am a DeMeritt.  (capital "M", one "R" and two "T"s- or, as my Grandma would say-- "a rump and two ti##ies".)

Now, to clarify, being a DeMeritt is not a problem for most DeMeritts.  In fact, the DeMeritt men have a strong history of career success, as do most DeMeritt women (although there are fewer DeMeritt women), but it is a problem for me.  You see, there is this "thing", coined by people who have married into the family and are therefore DeMeritts in name, not blood, which they call "the DeMeritt gene".  The DeMeritt gene, normally said with an eye roll by some wife of a DeMeritt man, is code for "they think they are smarter than everyone else.  And they think they are always right".  

Well, these in-laws (or "out-laws" as they've also coined-- the people we DeMeritts marry are big on coining code phrases) are wrong.  The DeMeritt gene is not that we think we are smarter than everyone else or that we think we are always right.  The DeMeritt gene is that we KNOW we are smarter than everyone else and that we KNOW we are always right.  And this is not to be confused with "knowing everything".  Most of the DeMeritts I know are open to admitting when they don't know something.  Of course, that ignorance seldom lasts for longer than it takes to find a dictionary or encyclopedia (although, in the last decade these books have been exchanged for Google).  We just know that when we DO know something, we are right about what we know- because we are more intelligent.  Other people may call this being stubborn, obstinate, know-it-all, conceited, etc.  But those words only apply to when you think you are right and you are wrong, in my opinion.  We DeMeritts are actually always right.  Granted, this leads to some very interesting family get-togethers, since we don't all agree on major things like, oh, religion and politics-- and since none of us are wrong... well, hey.  Obviously the gene is stronger in some than in others.  You can tell who has the weaker gene by, say, who voted for Obama?  (kidding! :-)

You may now be wondering what this gene has to do with my career?  Well, you see... my problem is compounded by also having the Benner gene-- not a phrase that has been coined, but one to which I must refer.  The DeMeritts are very intelligent and are always right.  And the Benners like to talk.  Which puts me in a position in the work place of having a strong tendency to tell my employers (most often my direct managers who are no where near as smart as I) that they are wrong and that I am right.  And what I have learned is that even when I AM right (which I always am) and even when I have proof to back that up (which I always do, since I'm too smart to go into a fight unprepared), managers (especially the higher up in the organizational chain they are) don't like to be told they are wrong by their subordinates.  It's a shame my big-mouth Benner gene is stronger than my smart DeMeritt gene that reminds me it would be smart to keep my mouth shut sometimes- especially when dealing with upper management.

Side Note:  This is why I take to parenting so well-- I can tell my kids how smart and right I am all day and they can't do a thing about it.  This is also why my husband just rolls his eyes and says "can you try being political?"  He's too smart to tell me to just shut up.  Of course he is, I'm too smart to marry a stupid man. 

So, what it comes down to is that both my husband and I know that when I do get a job, I'm going to be excited. I'm going to do great.  I'm going to be at the top of my game.  I'm going to have a three inch file folder full of printed-out emails from various people within the organization saying I'm the best XXX they've ever seen and I've turned the department around, etc. (this is all true, actually, if I must toot my own horn.  I am very good at what I do, which is not surprising, considering how smart I am)... and then, one day, maybe 6, 8 months, a year down the road, I'm going to be forced to tell my boss that what he/ she is doing is wrong, unethical, illegal, okay.. stupid... and I'm going to be out of a job once again.  

So, if anyone out there knows someone who is willing to pay a good salary (and flexible hours would be nice) to a super smart employee who is right about everything....the good news is, I've got plenty of time. My husband has promised to never again tell me to get a job.

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