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?

Recently I applied for a position with a tech start up company based in Portland. I have no experience in their particular industry. However I love start ups and I want to move from my current job in customer service at a retail chain to a career track I think I would truly enjoy. This is an entry level position, but one I am afraid I will be battling with several hundred applicants if not more. Can you give me tips on how to have a successful interview?

I am a very shy person. I hardly say a word in the public. I have just been appointed the head of the marketing department. What should I do?

I quit my job to be home with my kids. I loved my job but the type of law I practiced required my full focus and long hours, and I am not good at juggling home and work responsibilities. So now I am home, things are less hectic, my kids are getting the time and focus they deserve, and…I often miss my career. To be clear, I would not change any decision I have made about my career or my kids. But my question for you is, do these feelings of career longing go away eventually? As you devote greater amounts of time to educating your own kids at home, do you ever feel that you are leaving something behind, or do you just assure yourself that you are doing the right thing and get on with it?

I’m in a job now that’s 70% mind-numbingly boring/frustrating and 30% great; I’ve been here for almost 5 years. Almost a year ago, I had a daughter and have been able to stay at home with her on Fridays (for a pay cut). I couldn’t be happier with my home life situation, but my job is really wearing on me. I’m now being recruited for a few opportunities, both inside and outside of my company, most of which would be more interesting and with more pay, but none would allow for this 80% work schedule. So my home life would surely suffer. I guess the question is how do I advance in my career while also being happy at home? Is this even possible?

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.

Is it ok to email the manager of a department about a job opening in his department? I got his name by doing some research, but I don’t know him at all.

I have a great job. It pays well, I work with a great team, I have been given many great opportunities, and I am learning a lot and developing my skills. I am currently working on a very high-profile project that, over the next 2 years will provide me with valuable experience and exposure.

The problem is that I’m bored out of my skull. I’m an underutilized resource. While the work is good, the pace is excruciatingly slow, and I could do so much more. Yes, I have asked for more work, but considering I am fully funded and am promised to our client as full time, I am not permitted to take on other work as well.

The question is, do I stick it out for a couple years to gain the experience and make me more valuable to my next employer, or do I jump ship now because the day to day is less than ideal?

I am getting a job offer imminently. How I can negotiate salary when I’ve already given them a minimum? (I know, I know I’m not supposed to do that, but the job ad asked for it with my initial application!) I did some research, and I think the minimum salary I gave them was too low. I suggested 10% more than I was making at my old job, and seemed amazing until I found out more about the position. The title sounds lower level than my old job, but at this company, which is global and much larger than my old company, the position has a lot of responsibility, need for insight, and 10-hour days are not uncommon there. All that makes me think I should have gone higher. What can I do now? Is it too late?