I am a 31-year-old female. I am married and I have a two-year-old. I think I am probably an INFP, but never shelled out for the proper test. My marriage is very strong and satisfying.

I have a job I love. I volunteered for 5 years and have worked there for 5 more. I am a youth worker for an innovative organization whose principles allow me to do very, very good youth work (which is rare – youth work, like education, is mostly terrible).  My mentor/supervisor is a genius and I am incredibly lucky to work with and learn from him every day. Before I had my child I believed I would work at this place for the rest of my life. My work is fantastic, ie I love to do my job. I am also very good at it. I think this is the most important thing to say: my job has become part of my identity. I am a wife, a mother, and a youth worker. Everything else is secondary

My job is not perfect: before maternity leave I made just under 30K a year (working about 50 hours a week plus being on call 24/7/365), usually office relations are good, but every few months something flares up and I spend hours listening to people complain and being recruited to take sides, and my boss has an inconsistent management style that is often frustrating to watch and is occasionally hurtful to me.

As you have probably already predicted, I had a kid and everything changed. I do not want to ever go back to work full-time. I want to have at least one more kid. I would like to homeschool my children. I want to move an hour outside of the city I live in to raise my kids in the country (my husband has already found his dream job there and splits his time between the city and the country). I love being home with my kid. For real.

When my child was 3 months old I went back to work part-time (6 hours a week) and I am now up to about 15 hours a week. As part of my job, I am on call 24/7 to every youth I work with (about 60 kids) so the number of hours I work is a little hard to judge because in one sense I am always working.

I like the current arrangement, but I could stand to work even fewer hours. I only really care about the part of my job that involves the kids, running my twice-a-week three-hour program and being on call. That would take about 8-10 hours a week. Currently, I also run two school-based lunch-time programs a week and I mentor/manage four junior youth workers, plus I have to write reports and go to staff meetings and take calls from disgruntled staff.

Here’s the problem: the things that used to be just shitty parts of the job (low pay, inconsistent and erratic management, often discordant/antagonistic office relations) are now major problems. I resent all the of things I used to cheerfully tolerate (because they are just time/energy away from my family). On top of that, my status has changed: I have gone from being a valued member of a small team to a side note (due to my part-time status). My bonus is smaller, I don’t have a say over things that I used to have a say in, and my boss has allowed a new and junior youth worker to be chronically rude to and disrespectful of me (“he’s rude to everyone if that makes you feel better”). My job satisfaction has swiftly declined. However, my job is such a massive part of who I am. My mentor and the youth I serve mean so much to me. I cannot imagine not doing this job. I can also not justify it – it would feel like a betrayal to people I love.

I COULD imagine leaving to do one of two things: start an alternative school or start a program for young mothers. Two problems there: I lack confidence in my ability to achieve these things (not in my ability to run a excellent school or program, but the actual starting of them) and both of those things would take up more time than 15 hours a week and I DO NOT want to work full-time.

My job allows me to do work I love, it is my community. I can work and be home with my kid most days (ie live the dream). It is even feasible for me to move to the country and do the hour-long commute two or three days a week. I contribute financially to my family, however modestly. The price I pay is frustration at the crap parts of my job and the indignity of a low status despite my high competence and result (I am really good at my job!!).

WWPTD?

(What Would Penelope Trunk Do?)