Forget the job hunt. Have a baby instead.

Here's an idea for what women should do if they’re unemployed: Have a baby. Your first reaction is probably that this is a throwback to the 1950s. But it's not. This is the most up-to-date career advice you're going to get for dealing with a down-in-the-dumps job market.

Here's why a stint of unemployment is a great time to have a baby:

1) The escapism that people engage in during a bad economy is pathetic.
First-choice escape from reality: Grad school,which is almost always a waste of time and money. There is a huge uptick in the number of grad school applications during a recession, but grad school is a lame way to dodge a recession. In a recession, people fear they're wasting time. And they want to continue developing skills even though they are not employed. The problem is that grad school costs money, and in most cases, it does not make you more valuable in the workforce. There are very few available jobs that require a graduate degree. And if you pay for the degree and don't use it, you start to look like a rudderless ship to employers. (Also please don't tell me you are in grad school because you love to learn. You don't need to get a degree to learn. Do it at home, after work.)

Second-choice escape from reality: Travel, which is not as valuable to your personal development as holding down a job. Yes, you see new things, and try new things. But you've been doing that your whole life. The hardest thing to do in adult life is (in this order): raise kids, stay married, and hunt for a job. You can get away with not doing the first two. But everyone needs to work. So you may as well get good at doing it. Travel is a procrastination method with quickly diminishing returns.

2) For women, a baby always decreases relative earning power.
This data should surprise no one; it's not because women with babies don't work hard. It's because there is a basic difference between having work at the top of your mind and having baby and work at the top of your mind. You can tell me about the exceptions all night long, but the bottom line is that men and women with the same education and the same work experience earn roughly the same salary until kids enter the picture. Then women voluntarily downshift. Some downshift a lot – like dropping out – and some downshift just a little – like turning down extra travel because of cumulative sleep deprivation. Whatever the reason, unemployment early in a career hurts women more than men.

Most women will take some time out of the workforce to have children. In general, women move in and out of the workforce more often than men, which accounts, in a large part, for the long-term decreased earning power of women. Unemployment may be the only interruption for men, and, in general, men have less of a pull than women do to leave the workforce for children. I am not passing judgment here. It’s just statistical fact. So if women have a child during their stint unemployed, then they lessen the hit to their earning power.

3) The biological clock trumps career aspirations.
Look at the numbers and it becomes clear that women are better off having a baby than struggling to figure out what to do with their lives. Look. You have until you are 35 to have kids. After that, your eggs go downhill fast. Your chance of having a baby with compromised health increases tenfold after age 35. In order to have two kids before age 35, you need to start when you’re about 30. If you are unemployed at age 27, and struggling to establish yourself, why bother? You’ll establish yourself and then mess everything up by getting pregnant. Just get pregnant now, and figure out the career later.

This reminds me of the advice someone gave me about losing the baby weight after my first son. People told me, wait for the second so you don’t have to lose the weight twice. The same is true of careers. Figure out your professional identity after the kids, so you don’t have to struggle through unemployment twice.

Many people will tell me that I’m a flat-out lunatic for this advice. But here’s something to consider: It is so clear that women need to manage their career choices differently than men because of their biological constraints, that Harvard and Wharton accept women into MBA programs at a younger age than men.

Men and women are not identical. So they need to manage kids differently, and MBAs differently and unemployment differently. So here’s to a productive (and fertile) economic slump for all!

Posted in Job hunt, No image, Women
63 comments on “Forget the job hunt. Have a baby instead.
  1. Ask a Manager says:

    Could you maybe restate this to say “if you’re planning to have a baby anyway, now might be a good time to do it”? I’m quite sure that you’re not recommending that people have kids if they aren’t already 100% convinced that they want them regardless of their job search troubles, right?

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      Yes. Of course. But I actually think it’s insulting to women to have to say this. I mean, when I write resume advice I don’t say “only take this advice if you want to have a resume.” It’s implied. The fact that some women choose not to have kids should not need to be stated.

      And, at this point, I think the majority of times I write about having kids on this blog I add something about how there is absolutely no research that having kids makes people happy. But that’s the mystery of the human race: people want kids so much they don’t care that kids won’t bring them any more happiness.

      Penelope

  2. Maggie McGary says:

    I think this is actually decent advice. There is a lot to be said for “Figure out your professional identity after the kids.” I had my first baby at 28 and quit working. Had the second 2 years later. Once the youngest was in first grade I went back to working in a “real” office (as opposed to sporadic freelancing). Yes, it took a LONG time to build my career back up…but I think it would have been way harder to have worked my way up the ladder until I was 35 or 40, been making a bunch of money, THEN have to choose whether or not to stay home or have a baby or whatever. Also, I think it’s a lot easier to “on-ramp” when you’re 35 than when you’re 50.

  3. Nathaniel says:

    If going to grad school is ludicrous because it’s expensive and doesn’t actually benefit your career, how is having a baby not ludicrous for the same reason? In a USDA study "Expenditures on Children by Families" widely reported in the media, the US government estimated that a middle-income, two-parent family that gave birth to a baby in 2009 will spend $11,650-$13,530 annually until the child is 17 years old (it doesn’t include sending them to college). (Link: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2009.pdf) That’s more than $200,000 over 17 years, which sounds a lot like repaying a loan on a hefty graduate degree. I’ll readily agree that there is no good time to have a baby, but surely there are especially bad times to have a baby, and having no income at all must be one of them?

  4. barbi says:

    I had my first baby at 40 then twins at 44 ( no in-vitro, nothing wrong with my eggs), during a successful career as a fashion designer. I started in London in the slump of the eighties but still managed fine with very little money or opportunity. Three months after I arrived in the US there was a crash and a recession, still I found great jobs. I wonder, is there really one blanket solution for women in this situation? Is a woman who is itching to get her career going really ready for kids instead? I dont think the two are interchangeable, like they’re different hormones. I think either you are ambitious (progesterone) and want to work to make a professional impression, (now is the time to be more creative about how and what you do), or you want to start a family (estrogen), in which case, if you can afford it, go for it… But switching a baby for a career is not exactly like shopping and switching a suit for a dress, both take huge emotional commitments…. besides you need the right guy, which took me 34 years to find….
    http://barbidoesmiami.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/20-a-love-story/

  5. ResuMAYDAY says:

    Actually, in terms of career growth a woman is better off having a baby later in life, after she has established herself in her career. It’s easier to jump in (albeit perhaps at a lower level) after taking time off if you have more experience and a stronger network in your hip pocket. If you’re just starting to develop your career but are still at or slightly above entry-level, you’ll be competing at that same entry-level against people who didn’t take time off, and are now younger than you.

    • EAC says:

      This is the obvious rebuttal. Please address it, Penelope! It is why I am slogging through working part time as an attorney even though my baby is only 3.5 months old, and why I plan to keep it up even after we have more kids (God willing). Why would someone pick a 38 year old with no experience over a 28 year old with no experience? The 28 year old is going to have fresher skills!

  6. Sam says:

    Penelope, I think you are spot on with not going to grad school as a career move. It’s great advice, because grad school is a really really stupid thing to attend if all you want to do is further your career. I will refrain from commenting on what general employers see, you are far more qualified to comment on that too.

    What I do object to is your ignorance about research and reasonable conditions for advancing human knowledge. Take a look inside some department at Harvard or Oxford: lots and lots of bright people with fancy degrees working incredibly hard in really good research environments. Think about this: what are the odds that someone holding a full time job, without proper training, in their spare time, in a vacuum, can out-do the top researchers in the world?

  7. Ann says:

    I am currently a grad student and I am doing this because there was no way I could find a job after getting laid off, and wanting to leverage my chances for a career change. So you generalizing that grad school is not the way to go is totally wrong. Ever since grad school, I’ve been able to get a higher pay in paid internships than I ever did doing the hum-drum admin work I used to do for a company that wouldn’t give me much growth. So, I would say you should address the grad school being a bad idea topic in a separate entry and consider the situations in which a person needs to go to grad school to amp their career. Don’t over generalize, it’s unfair to those who need guidance.

    • KateNonymous says:

      Ann, overgeneralization is fairly common here. As in other parts (too many, IMO) of society, controversy often trumps content.

    • Jim C. says:

      You made a sizable investment of time and money in grad school. If all it got you was a paid internship rather than a real job, that really was a waste of time and money.

      • Ann says:

        That’s really judgmental of you- thanks Jim. I am still in grad school, so it was a paid internship for the summer. You don’t know my life, so like I said, the situation determines the judgment.

    • Casual Surfer says:

      I’m confused – grad school means you have a 4 year degree in something. But you were doing “admin work”? As in … answering phones, filing, setting up meetings?

      It sounds like you weren’t working in your field of study to begin with … did you change fields to something that was in demand? I don’t understand how grad school opened doors for you …

  8. KateNonymous says:

    Having just taken almost six months of maternity leave, I am about to return to my job. I’m prepared for many, many things about how I work to be different, and I’m trying not to anticipate what will be different, and how. I’m too likely to get it wrong, and therefore less likely to be able to react and adjust appropriately as I discover those changes.

    But part of why we can afford to have this baby is because I have a job to go back to. Before, when I was freelancing, we could just barely support two on a single salary. Three would not have been feasible, and that’s part of why we waited until I had a job to start trying.

    So I would say that this is an idea to explore, based on your particular situation. But it’s not good blanket advice, because there’s a (theoretical) baby involved.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      I think it’s dangerous territory to talk about not having enough money to have a baby. I had two kids when I was unemployed and so was my spouse. Yes, it was hard and scary, but I think every couple with a new baby says it’s hard and scary. And no one ever feels like they have enough money to raise their kids.

      Most pregnant women can get free health care and so can their baby.

      No one is ever ready to have a baby. No one ever has enough money. Every parent worries insanely about their kids. It’s part of parenting. It has nothing to do with employment.

      Penelope

      • KateNonymous says:

        I just don’t think you can make blanket statements. Well, clearly you can. We all can. But it’s often not wise. People should consider their circumstances and decide what’s best for them. There isn’t just once answer. There are way too many people for that to be the case.

        We made the best decision we could based on our particular circumstances. Other people might make a different decision. That doesn’t make them wrong. It also doesn’t make us wrong.

        Most of what’s hard and scary about having a baby has nothing to do with money. That’s true. But that doesn’t mean that money isn’t an issue. It just means that there are multiple issues.

      • Molly says:

        Kate, to make for an interesting read, I believe the writer has to take a side and make blanket statements. PT’s target audience does not require everything be spelled out.

      • Liza says:

        While I am glad that women and children have the availability of health care at no cost to them if they need it, it isn’t free. Someone pays for it. And that shouldn’t be an acceptable reason to just have a baby anyways….

      • Pirate Jo says:

        If it would require you to go on public assistance, you should not have a baby. That’s the benchmark, because that’s the point at which your choices begin to infringe upon others.

      • KateNonymous says:

        Personally, Molly, I find nuance more interesting. YMMV.

  9. Joselle says:

    I think this is very sound advice for many people and I wish I could follow it now but my fiance doesn’t want us to have kids until we’re more financially stable. I disagree and think this is a good time to do it. Well, a time to do it–don’t know if it’s good or bad but I’m sure we’d make it good.

    But he doesn’t want to so we don’t. This actually isn’t a huge issue for us (yet). I respect and even partly agree with him. I don’t push a point now because I’m willing to wait another year or so. And I understand his own shakiness because I’m not working, he’s totally supporting us while working full-time and going to school and I went back to school to do something I can only do with this degree–being a nurse-midwife. Ironically enough, I’m putting off having a baby so I can help other people have babies while banking on the hope that that will help me convince my partner that we can now afford to have our own.

    • Jim C. says:

      I detect a bigger issue. You talk about your partner being unwilling to have children, at least not yet. You shouldn’t even be conceiving children with a “partner” who isn’t man enough to marry you.
      Get married to someone who can make a life commitment, then have children.

      • Joselle says:

        I wrote that he’s my fiance. We’re getting married next month. But I don’t believe getting married is a prerequisite for having kids. I believe being prepared to parent is.

  10. Gwenn Aspen says:

    I like this advice. It may not be P.C. but it brings up good points that should be discussed. I am a professional person who opted to have babies early in life, and stay home. I did this with the intention that most of my career would be after the baby stage. I have questioned this choice since NONE of my close friends have done the same, but I think ultimately it has been a good decision for me.

  11. Jane says:

    Penelope, topic aside, your straight-talking sense and logic is always refreshing and thought-provoking. I read this on BNet and saw all the comments, and I admire the spirit it takes to say something unPC and get a bunch of critical responses. Cheering for you.

  12. pfj says:

    I know a woman who finished law school, then (deliberately) got pregnant. She said, “Well, this may not be a good time. But there will never be a good time.” She was right. They were divorced within 2 or 3 years.

    I know another woman, she married someone who already had twins by a previous marriage. When the twins were 9 or so, they had a little girl. They are helicopter parents to the max, about this child; dote incredibly on her; the older children are being neglected in both households now.

    I know a woman whose parents live in the U.S. But she married someone from a Scandinavian country, so she lives there. They young couple had a baby. But they want to be free spirits and see the world. They’ve dragged this baby, not yet 1 1/2, on road trips. All around the U.S. plus various European and African countries. And they seem bewildered that the baby doesn’t settle down, that she cries, that she is not ‘content.’

    If you want to be a parent, try to grow up yourself before subjecting them to these various kinds of things. Don’t have a baby just because other possibilities are less appealing. Think about what kind of life that kid will have, too.

  13. coco says:

    This is just ridiculous. I just unsubscribed to your stupid blog. You are a sick person. Do you know how many kids are on welfare and grow up poor? I happen to have grown up in a shitty environment because my dad left and my mom was poor and worked 24/7. Do you know how hard it is? Obviously you have been privileged all your life and don’t know what it is like to struggle. You look down on your readers and by the way you write, you think you are WAY above them. Do you know why you tell people not to go to graduate school? Because you don’t want anyone to be better than you. You failed at graduate school. You had kids, you screwed up your career, so now you are justifying that by advising others to do the same? Too bad its never going to fix your failures. I can see right through this crap.

    • Jan says:

      Ignoring the anger at the end of the above post, it’s true that people living in poverty only make their lives much, much harder by having kids. If you worry about making rent and buying food, like many people do, it is a bad time to have kids.

  14. Bea Fields says:

    Penelope,

    I love your blog. I love your career advice. It is so refreshing and so off the edge that it makes us all think.

    On this post, I do have to speak out. At age 29, I had identical twins (age 2 1/2) and a son who was 9 months old. By the time I turned 30, unfortunately, one of my twins was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia, which is a 3 year very expensive process.

    My husband and I are higher earners, and we had great insurance, but we still had to come out of pocket A GREAT AMOUNT to pay for our daughter’s treatment. We would have NEVER considered doing anything else. But, it did put a dent in our savings.

    Today’s college grads are coming out of college with a huge amount of student debt. Imagine if one took your advice and was born with a child with cancer or downs syndrome or something like spina bifida. It could literally bankrupt a young adult. So, while it sounds like a very novel idea, this one time, I have to disagree with you.

    I truly believe that young adults have been coddled to death, and they need to first learn to stand on their own 2 feet and start making some financial decisions to get them ready for having children (my twins graduated from Duke and the University of NC and they are taking jobs that are not their dream jobs but they know they have to start building credit and saving for the future).

    At the end of the day, it sounds so heavenly to have that small babe in your arms and to raise a child (and it IS!) But, you never know the cards you will be dealt. When you walk into an oncologist’s office to hear that your 2-year old has cancer, your world changes. Our family has grown stronger, but it does change life, career and finances.

    Thank you for always giving us ideas off the edge…they make us all think and comment on your blogs.

  15. Jennifer Lane says:

    There are lots of welfare moms following this advice, so you may be into something here.

  16. Edelbar says:

    With deference to gross exaggeration, edgy creative confrontation and bold expression of divergent choices, I think your latest blog is incredibly irresponsible … Having a child is (consciously or not) a choice, a joy, a lifelong commitment … anything less is adolescent and foolish…

    ps… I love your blog anyway!

  17. Marie says:

    I’m in my 30s and have one child and thinking about having another one. I may just quit the work force altogether, if I have another child. My business of four years is starting to pick up. Insurance and utilities should be know problem considering we will soon pay the house off

  18. Margaret Goerig says:

    In case you didn’t read this already, it’s from yesterday:
    http://bit.ly/dez4FP

  19. GenerationXpert says:

    I didn’t do this on purpose, but I did start having my kids at 30 – the economy wasn’t so much in the toilet, but my career wasn’t really that rockin’. I worked part time for five years and then went back to full time work and things have taken off. So I agree what you’re saying works. For me, the kids gave me an excuse to downshift during what I thought was an awkward age to be in careerwise (that’s not WHY I did it, but it did help). For me, my early 30s kind of sucked because I wasn’t the recent grad and I didn’t want to do the schlepping. But as an Xer, there really were a lot of Boomers in my way up the ladder. When I hit 36 and went back to full time work, I spring boarded.

    So although the economy was not the challenge at that time (it was lack of advancement opportunities), the mommy track did work for my career as well as my kids.

  20. Kathy B says:

    When I had my 1st child, I delivered a month early, one day after my husband had emergency surgery. He was not able to return to work for a month. In the years we’ve been married, he’s has also had 2 knee replacements & had heart surgery twice. We had a 2nd child & adopted a 3rd in that time. Neither one of us made great money & we’ve never taken a handout. My point is, if you want a child bad enough, “where there is a will, there is a way. As to those of you who don’t want a child, I’m taking a wild guess here that Penelope is not really referring to you.

  21. hodgie says:

    Gah. The re-jigging of old posts and calling them new posts is getting tired.

  22. Michael says:

    Outstanding post.

    I think the point we miss, as a society, is that having a baby IS A JOB. Nobody pays you for it, we don’t value it, and we don’t account for it, but it is.

    Personally, I don’t care if the man or the woman is the primary care giver-in 2010, it doesn’t, or shouldn’t, matter.

    Problem is, for economic reasons, increasingly neither person can devote themselves to this job-so both partners now have a second job, and everyone suffers.

  23. Jim C. says:

    @ Ann: My bad. The way I read your post, I thought you said you had gone through grad school and all you could get was an internship. If you are still a grad student, then a paying internship is a good step.

  24. Therese says:

    Having a kid would be the perfect excuse/distraction for me in my current stalled career. If only I actually wanted to be a mother. I wonder how many people do it even though they are not necessarily jazzed about being mommies? There have to be a few…I know many of my fellow law school graduates have had babies during this recession. Both babies and graduate degrees cost money, just depends on what you want. Not everything can be measured in dollars and sense, but a lot of things can.

  25. Sujatha Mohanram says:

    Woman, mother, nurturer, instinctive moderation of roles of human has been preserved over many evolutions even before Darwinism. A women at job is no different from the woman at her instinctive role. Then why shouldn’t woman not take advantage of sluggish job market? Are woman not indirectly helping men to excel by making room for more men to have greater opportunities than if they were not to adopt such an instinctive strategy? I would like to think woman have greater strategic sense of life and that is why they use all the possible avenues to cash on by being at the right place at the right time.

  26. laura says:

    I’m 32, stalled in my career and having a baby in early 2011. I wouldn’t say my decisions around career and baby are directly related – in fact, though I want a kid, I feel a little trapped – but I’m looking at this as an opportunity to reorganize my priorities and shift my professional focus a bit.

    Penelope, you’re brave for having kids without insurance, but I know I wouldn’t be anywhere near the family way unless I was gainfully employed/insured. Money has got to be an issue for so many families who might otherwise expand. The US birth rate is actually decreasing in this recession, right? (http://pewsocialtrends.org/pubs/753/american-birth-rate-decline-linked-to-recession).

  27. amy says:

    Sorry, Penelope, that’s just fucking stupid. Take it from a 40something single mom.

    Yes, babies are wonderful if you’re hitched to Prince Charming and his six-figure income, and he’s not the divorcing kind. But if you want to see what happens to divorced mothers in their 20s without a solid resume, go have a look at, say, Mothering’s single-mom area. You’ll find all kinds of really nifty and impoverished BA-holders on food stamps, desperate for public housing or a room at Mom’s, because they can’t jobhunt with the baby in tow and can’t afford childcare without the job. Nor can they relocate easily for a job. Nor can they take shift work that doesn’t have childcare coverage. Nor….

    Do you feel me, here? HAVING A BABY MAKES YOU LESS MOBILE. LESS ABLE TO WORK TO SUIT THE JOB. FOR YEARS AND YEARS. Having a baby means that if you have to choose between job and sick baby, the sick baby wins. And by the time the kid’s old enough to stay home alone? Whatever career you were imagining is gone, gone, gone, and the earning power with it.

    It’s not just that “baby” shares mindspace with “job”. It’s that “baby” is a living creature requiring physical care, which takes time, and can’t be scheduled. And the baby will come first. Women lose jobs, lose earning power, because the daycare is closing and they have to leave. Not because they’re all a-twitter about what’s for supper.

    Bottom line: Until you’re solid enough — careerwise, propertywise — to support a child reasonably well on your own, if necessary, don’t freaking have a baby.

  28. amy says:

    I would heartily recommend, btw, that anyone considering Penelope’s advice hang out for a couple of weeks with a single 20something mom. Or a married unemployed 20something mom with a so-so working husband and no parents subsidizing the play-household. Or the same mom with a bum of a husband.

    I think the hell you’ll witness will scare you straight. Worked for me.

  29. Gargi says:

    This sounds good in theory, but may not be so practical for all women. The first is the money issue, the second as someone pointed out is the career taking a backseat once the baby arrives. As it is, returning to work after a gap (for whatever reason) is difficult enough. But a woman returning to work after an extended period and having a small baby at home, I think it'll be even harder to find a job.

  30. Chris says:

    Thanks so much for a great post! I went on to read the rest of it and was particularly impressed with the logic that a 27-yr-old (that’s me) struggling to establish herself (again, me) should take advantage of involuntary unemployment by accomplishing a goal that would necessitate voluntary unemployment at some point. I love that I always get a truly fresh take on professionalism when I visit your blog. Thanks again.

  31. Lilli says:

    Have You actually thought about possible consequences of your advice on women, who are consious of biological clock ticking? I wish you a life of the same emotions like you caused. You claim a wish to be nice to the people. You aren’t.

    • mary says:

      Im pretty sure she doesn’t care. All this lady wants is publicity which = $$$ for her. I feel sorry for anyone who actually follows her horrible advice.

  32. Casual Surfer says:

    Actually, I think your advice about grad school is dead-on. “Hiding” from a recession by going back to school is not a good plan. Full time grad school is roughly 2 years for a Master’s degree, and many recessions last longer than that. The last thing you want to do is become the job candidate with little experience and an expensive education (that implies you require a more expensive salary package).

    Better to have real world experience in something, anything remotely close to what you really want to be doing. Who knows, sometimes people find that “menial” temp jobs open their eyes to careers they never knew about, but absolutely love. It happened to my husband!

  33. amy says:

    Casual Surfer is right. Can’t find a career-type job? Be poor. You have no idea what a valuable education poverty is outside the protection of the university. I went through it once. What it taught me is serving me well as a single 40something mother, who saw what having kids before you’re financially equipped can do, and waited till her mid-30s to spring one. One, mind, because that’s what I can afford.

  34. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot says:

    Ah, that made me laugh. So naughty and ballsy I love it. The only problem is that the babies take 40 weeks to materialise by which time you may have a job. Plus if you haven’t got a man handy that needs sorting out too. What women need are babies on demand. It’s impossible to line up the man, the career, the age so they all work out. If you want a baby you just have to go for it regardless, keep your fingers crossed and hope it will all work out.

    At least if the career thing doesn’t work out you’ll have a kid to look after you when you’re old. Lol! I know I’m just being naughty too. It’s so good to think about these baby/career things even though what you plan and expect to happen rarely does.

  35. IMK says:

    I totally agree :). One of my friends has been out of the job market for almost two years due to layoffs, and this is what I’ve been telling her all along while she was getting frustrated trying to find a job. But she wouldn’t listen. She just started a new job, and it will probably take her at least another year to start thinking about another child.

  36. utangac says:

    That’s really judgmental of you- thanks Jim. I am still in grad school, so it was a paid internship for the summer. You don’t know my life, so like I said, the situation determines the judgment.

  37. Stephen says:

    Ms. Trunk often forgets a huge segment of the working population – government jobs. For us, our wives having children does not decrease earning power (it’s all pre-determined), a graduate degree does equal more earning power (while low compared to many, my wife went from 42K to 50K the minute she got her MS). I would like to see an article that doesn’t focus on the constant-pressure world of business but the overlooked world that millions of people work in.

  38. CJ says:

    Hypocrisy! You have a graduate degree.

  39. Vaibhavi says:

    This woman sounds so vain with her regressive “advices”. I agree with her views about Graduate School but her views about women in particular are outdated and prejudiced. It’s because of women like Penelope, people underestimate women at work. This woman seems to have come from an unhappy family background that has resulted in shaping her views about “women” this way.

  40. Kira Gardner- Marshall says:

    I am thirty-five and was planning on getting pregnant in August. I say was because I was fired yesterday. Fired- for not meeting performance standards. Here’s a little background on my situation:
    I had been working in non-profit management for over a decade and always put having a child on the back burner because of my career- long hours, not great insurance, travel for work…etc. With the economic downturn, I decided to get out of non-profit work. I found a great job with a software company, with great benefits, great hours, everything I need to start my family. But this job was TOTALLY different from anything I had ever done before. I thought I could learn different skills- and so did the person that hired me. I don’t know what happened but I began to have performance issues and was placed on probation and then fired yesterday. the first thing i thought of when i walked out the door of my office was: I have just blown any chance of having a family. I thought of how long it will take to find another job, then how long it will take me to work at that job long enough to qualify for family leave. Then factor in the time it will take to actually get pregnant and give birth. I’m then looking at 37 or 38.
    When I read your blog just now it made me feel torn. I see your point—- but right now I just feel like my world is spiraling out of control. Yes, I can get unemployment. But that is not going to be anywhere near what I was making. I think of the enormous expense of a baby and I can not even imagine the stress of handling that while unemployed. I have a lot of thinking to do.

  41. Kiran says:

    I actually agree with the writer’s comments. I am 32 years old and was in a horrible and highly stressful job. Children were on my mind: on one hand my biological clock was ticking but on the other hand I wanted a career. I quit to finish the last few courses of my MBA, thinking ill then get a better job. Two weeks after I quit I got pregnant (first try). I am so grateful to God for giving me this blessing so easily. Yes I will be unemployed and not get maternity pay but I’ll probably be happier, less stressed and enjoy my baby. I will use the time to carefully plan my next career move.
    I would say I am privileged – well educated with lots of experience and a hubby who will look after us. I would recommend the same to any other woman who can afford it and has the degrees to fall back on. We have a right to be happy and raise our kids in a happy way.

  42. Sujatha Mohanram says:

    Hi Dear,

    I just can not understand the concept that one would relate having a baby to career.
    If you are educated enough and you can secure a decent job, then why look for alternative professions? That is if you consider being a mom as alternative profession.
    This does go with out saying that if you get a job when you are tired of having babies then will you throw away your babies ?

    Hope this helps the person who wrote this…this person seems to have my name…..

    Sujatha Mohanram

  43. KC says:

    I’m 23, I got a degree, with no job to show for it. Now I’m BACK in school for another degree, suffering through the self-esteem killing environment of college again and still, with no job to show for it.

    My husband and I really want to have kids. We’ve been married over 2 years, and I want to have kids once he gets out of the army (we’ll have been married over three years by then). However, I’m terrified that we won’t be able to make it.

    He assures me that the job opportunities in his field will make 80k a year, but he is unwilling to do the certifications and such that he needs to do in order to get those jobs, and I don’t think he’d ever get a college degree. That’s just not him, he’s not a classroom kind of guy. So I went back to school in the hopes that maybe I’d get a career and help support us. But I’m MISERABLE being back in school. I hate it. I already did this once and I feel cheated because it never paid off, after working my butt off for four school years and three summers.

    Once my student loans kick back in, it’ll be 350 a month. At 20,000 dollars I’ll be paying these things off for the rest of my life probably. I feel like I’m wasting my life being back in school. I forgot how pointless and mind numbing it is, and how little actual learning is done. But I don’t feel like I can count on my husband to support us after the army. I’m stressed beyond belief and I feel like a failure every day.

    Add to this both of us desperately wanting to have kids, but me being the type to plan ahead and not jump into things.

    My husband is the type who doesn’t think about consequences and just assumes everything’s always going to be okay. That’s hard for me to do because I’ve been burned a lot the past few years. Going to college and getting in debt for nothing, buying our first home and then finding out we had to move a month later, every decision I make leads to heartbreak.

    I would LOVE to take your advice and just start our family. I feel like I’ve entered adulthood in a world with no options. I don’t feel like a career type of person. I ace every job interview I’ve ever gotten, but now companies won’t grant interviews even for entry level jobs. I know I would be happy being a mom. I know it’s not easy but I know I’d be happy. But I’m so worried about finances. What’s a young couple to do in this hopeless world?

  44. KC says:

    On a more positive note, another point that should be made in this article is the fact that you don’t have to put your baby in daycare and risk them getting sick or hurt or whatever and waste thousands on daycare AND commute each day. That is a huge advantage for me!

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