I’d love to find something that I can put all my time and energy into, but I’m scared I will lose interest in whatever I choose. I’ve never stuck with anything long enough to get good at it and my interests can change drastically within a short amount of time. I wouldn’t feel that this is such a problem if I weren’t already in my early-mid twenties, without a college degree (because I couldn’t commit to a program I thought I’d lose interest in), and little experience in anything other than low end jobs. Basically, with anything I pick, I’ll be starting from scratch. This makes my decision feel all the more crucial as I don’t feel I can waste anymore time at my age. Clearly there are some flaws in the way I am approaching the decision making process.

My husband and I will both finish graduate school this year — he in [high-earning field], me in law. I have a job lined up to clerk next year, but after that, I’d like to have kids, and I’d like to stay home — either full or part time — to raise them.

My problem is this: I’m fine with sacrificing the lost income (and the years worked toward a promotion, the raises that I’d earn, and the subsequent raises that follow after that, the retirement contributions, health insurance, etc. etc.) but I’m not okay with bearing the brunt of our choice for me to stay at home in case of a divorce. It doesn’t seem fair to me that if I take five years off to have kids, we could later get divorced, and he will continue making six figures after he has enjoyed the benefit of having a stay at home wife, while the statistics — both about the legal field and about women — show that I will have a hard time getting a job, let alone a well paying one. And this will be because I took the time off to raise our kids.

Maybe the distinction I’m making between the lost income and the shared cost of childbearing is nebulous — in the case of divorce, I wouldn’t want my husband to have to pay me whatever I would have earned as a working lawyer in those years — I/we already chose to sacrifice that. Instead, I want him to share with me the financial burden I will bear for having made that choice. I don’t know how to calculate that cost — maybe I’ll have to hire a mathematician.

I’ve heard some suggest that women in my position should make a legal contract that would dictate how assets will be divided in case of divorce, that would somehow equalize partners’ positions. Do you know anything about this, or have any links to any such sample contracts? Do you know how to calculate the shared cost of the decision to stay home? I’m having a VERY hard time finding any good information about this online.

I started a Ph.D. in chemistry last year at a prestigious university, in a productive and friendly lab. I think my project is a fairly good one, and will yield data for good articles. That is, if I ever manage to put in the work to acquire data.

I find I’ve been doing anything but actual benchwork for the last many months – helping others write grants, reading papers about science outside my field, attending seminars, hiding in the bathroom reading blogs about productivity and cooking. I know I am not doing what I should be, but I cannot convince myself to start something that will most likely not work.

I like my coworkers and my boss (who is sending me to a fancy conference to help give me additional motivation) – but I am not getting my research done.

Am I in the wrong field, or doing the wrong job? Am I thinking about this problem in an unhelpful way?

I am a 34 year old woman with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Said bachelor’s degree has landed me several low-level clerical positions. I don’t think I’ll ever rise above these low-level clerical positions and have no desire to spend $50,000 on a Master’s degree. My dad is an electrician, and for the last two years I’ve begged and pleaded with my mom and dad to let me join the small electrician business my dad owns. Neither one of them will allow it, but I think that

1. I’m probably going to get fired sometime for my bad attitude because I’m stuck in low-level clerical positions.

2. I’d really like to be an electrician and 3. I should have studied a trade instead of liberal arts – I do LOVE anthropology but learning a skilled trade seems like it would have been the wiser investment at this point.

Should I be an electrician? I thought maybe if you said yes I could tell them that you said yes and maybe they’d finally listen to me.