Saturday, May 14, 2011


I thrive on change. Although it can often stress me out, I really enjoy meeting with new challenges as often as I can.

Sometimes, though, I find myself wishing for a little stability. I think back to my parent's generation - they got out of high school (with or without a diploma), maybe did one year of college/university, bummed around for a while in other countries, and then found a steady job that they kept until retirement. They had health benefits, perks (like sick days!), and now have a pension coming in.

My husband and I, on the other hand, work either contract or hourly-wage jobs, with no benefits, no sick days, no top-ups for maternity leave....and a pension? You must be dreaming!

I have not stayed in a job longer than 2 years, and each time my contract comes up for renewal, I feel a sense of panic. In exactly 3.5 months, I'm not sure if I'll have steady income coming in. At one point in my life, this was no problem. The worst that can happen when you don't pay your rent is that you get a notice of eviction and might need to find another place to live.

Now we have a house, mortgage, debt payments, life insurance, health coverage, RRSP monthly savings, RESP monthly savings...the number of transactions that are debited at the start of each month are staggering. And it would be nice to know that we will always have the ability to pay them.

I don't think I'm the only one feeling this kind of pressure, as more and more positions are contracts with no guarantee for renewal. Especially in my field, when I'm looking for jobs in non-profit organizations who don't have the means to offer their employees added benefits.

But I often wonder how the economy might be transformed if we started valuing our employees. Would absenteesim drop? Would innovation be encouraged? Would people be truly loyal to their organization, and make all efforts to do a good job? It's hard to get motivated when you don't ever feel appreciated for the work that you do. And as women, we are even more vulnerable, because we're sometimes forced to choose between a career and motherhood. Unless we're really lucky, many employers are not willing to support women in finding a balance between child rearing and dedication to the job.

This is why so many Moms find self-employment to be a viable option (though you have even less security than you would in a contract position). At least we know that we're doing a good job...because our lives depend on it! Although there is no accountability to a manager, you essentially learn to become accountable to yourself. And this is the decision I must make - do I venture into the world of full-time self employment and somehow create my own stability?

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