Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A resignation

A few weeks ago I put in my resignation at the Aquarium. For all of those who read my post "Tools of my Aquarist trade" you might be surprised. This is a job I love and have wanted since I was about three years old. I mean, where else can you get paid to play with jellyfish? Go SCUBA diving on work time? Care for endangered shorebirds? Be a superstar to little kids as they see you swim with sharks and barracudas?

You can imagine it was one of the hardest decisions of my entire life. I have worked there for twelve years, the animals I feed I care about almost as much as my dear cat. My coworkers are my second family. When our Head Vet heard the news of my resignation he approvingly made this cartoon for me and emailed it to the entire institution. The other "creatures" are my fellow West Wing Gallery co-workers.

There are many many reasons why I am leaving my career. Each one of them I could probably deal with and manage to work through. But when you add them all up anyone would say "wait, WHY are you working?"

The biggest reason is I work Sundays and I want them back. My husband, my little girl and I have one day all together, Saturday, and that's just not enough. Then there's the issue that we want to give Lizzie a sibling, and soon. She was a preemie and my pregnancies are high risk because I have Crohn's Disease, my doctors have gently suggested that I don't work through a second pregnancy. And then there's the issue that I work for a non-profit. Basically I'd be working just to cover day care.

The obvious solution is to take some time off from my career and be a mom, which is a noble profession in itself. And, I can tell you, a day at home with Lizzie is much more exhausting than spending a day hauling gravel in and out of the bird exhibit and carrying large animals up and down the stairs.

A funny side note is what happened when I told my bosses. Before I even managed to tell them why they both immediately went into a discussion of how they can keep me on payroll as a per diem worker. Then I could come back if I changed my mind, or temp a day here and there. I am flattered, but come on, can't I just quit? I mean, look at this face, this alone should be my one and only reason:

I would much rather spend my Sundays teaching my child about the ocean world that I love so much.

They grow so fast, there will be time one day to go back to work and pick up where I left off.


  1. In reading this I can feel it was a difficult decision for you. I think you are to be commended for taking your role as a mother so seriously. And of course you must put your health and the health of your unborn baby first should you become pregnant. As you say, you can always return to your career. I respect you for your decision and I wish you the very best.

  2. It is very flattering to be asked to stay and encouraged to return. But you're right: the decision, hard as it was, gives you back those precious days you wouldn't have otherwise. And I wish you and your family prosperous times ahead, with increase if it happens... thanks for the thoughtful post.

  3. That beautiful smile and bright eyed look on your baby girl is a sufficient enough answer. You will never regret spending time with your precious little one. You are building a foundation for her and that is hard to do if you aren't there. I applaud your decision. She is a lucky girl to have such a wonderful mommy.

  4. Collin was very early, Kate. We never attempted another pregnancy - there are times I wish we had & times I'm glad we didn't.
    I got to stay home with Collin for the first 18 months and reluctantly went back to work part time.
    Sometime your children will have their own interests and friends - perhaps then you can go back to work. However, even if they are in high school the young ones still want their mommy accessible as much as possible.
    I don't think that umbilical cord ever gets cut...

  5. Knowing how much you enjoyed your work it had to be a difficult decision. But then one look at that adorable, smiling face would have wiped out all doubts. Life is short and childhood is shorter. Take care of yourself and enjoy your family.

  6. Thank you all for your comments, how did I know I'd find such support here? ;) thanks for reading! -kate

  7. I applaud you and I admire you immensely.
    Your priorities are indeed in tact and I wish you well and much peace in your decision.

    Enjoy your Mommy time--as you know, it goes by quite fast....I blogged just today about my very honest relationship with my own grown daughter, in which I then received some very nasty remarks.

    Child rearing rarely goes how we think or expect and the best way I've heard it described is by a line in a film: "As hard as you think it's going to be, you end up wishing it was that easy".

    I, myself, was young and ill prepared. I make no excuses, however.

    With your careful planning and prioritizing, you are paving as smooth of a road as possible--for all of your sakes.

    Admirable decision--one I envy. Oh, were I to be able to turn back the hands of time....

    Bless you.

    Peace, love and happiness,
    "Diary Of A Sad Housewife"

  8. Kate,

    I know how you feel when you were deciding about this situation. You are a very brave woman in leaving you're post in exchange with your family, I admire you for choosing your family rather than your career, Lizzie will be proud of you and will love you more. Great Mom!


  9. I like the way you sound so sure about this - and that makes the future so exciting.

  10. No one on their deathbed ever says " You know, I really should have spent more time at the office".

  11. Job change is very hard. But so too is managing children and a house.

    Better to stay home and raise your kids than pay a minimum-wage person who doesn't give a cr*p to do it for you.

    Good luck, courage, and well done. All the best.

  12. JO: thank you for your words and for following my blog. I doubt I will regret my decision one minute.

    AL: I thought Lizzie would love growing up with a mom with a cool job, but then I realized she'd rather grow up with a mom who's around. you're right!

    Lulu: it took some time but I am 100% sure now!

    matthew: that's about the best line of support I've received. I'm going to quote you if you don't mind :)

    Cow: we're fortunate that we really like our daycare provider and we bring Lizzie to her home. BUT, you're right, I'd still rather watch her myself.

    thanks again for all your support! it will be a tiring transition I'm sure. -kate


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