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Beginning of Another Era?

I’ve been thinking about going back to work. Seriously. With both kids at school 5 days/week, I can do more things outside the house. Publishing my own novel is still something I dream about, but if I could return to work with steady income in the meantime, why not?

This new development, of me not feeling satisfied at home, caught myself by surprise. I thought with kids outside the house, I would be more productive in writing. However, at this stage my ‘writing career’ does not go as I expected. I came to realize that either I write fiction in Indonesian language with theme and mindset based on the mainstream market to publish them in Indonesia, or I write it in English for international audience. Either way needs loads of efforts and a much longer time to come true. With that bitter truth in mind,  the abundance of me-time turned into a torture. Instead of brushing up my writing craft, I became counter productive.

Some gender books, sisterhood sessions, tears and angers later, the conclusion was: I need to do something else to make myself feel good again. After all, kids are growing, husband’s career is already on the right track and I’ve been a trailing wife for 7 years. If we ever move again, it will only happen in 4-5 years from now. It’s very normal then for me to be willing to return to the labour market, with a job that promises a clear career track and regular salary, beside being ‘just’ a mommy, a wannabe writer and trailing wife :D.

For several weeks, I did some thinking on jobs I would enjoy. Shall I return to the corporate world, to work as a lawyer in a law firm or bank? What about teaching piano? Or becoming a language instructor?

With law degrees from Indonesia and the Netherlands, and my last corporate job being in Amsterdam, from which I resigned in 2004, I could imagine it would be tough for me to rejoin a legal team. Even if a bank or law firm hires me, I guess it would be a round-the-clock job with pressure to get the local license asap. With two young kids in tow, I don’t think I would want to do that to myself, although based on the job search I did on the net, the salary could be tempting.

Another option is teaching piano. I used to teach children at a music school when in college. Besides, I’ve been teaching my own kids since 4 years ago so I’m still up-to-date with the methodology. If I want to build a teaching career, I need to practice at least 5-6 hours daily on my own, to be able to pass the Australian teaching certificate exam. Appealing. I save this option for future needs.

Language instructor. A couple of moms from my kids’ school did courses on teaching English for foreigners and/or teaching other languages to Australians/foreigners. One of them now teaches here and there, with manageable schedule so she can still pick up her kids from school. I can imagine myself doing that. It goes hand-in-hand with my interests and would be valuable for my own kids if mommy knows the current teaching trends (applicable to their multilingualism, school work, everything). I’m willing to become a student again to get the Australian teaching certificate. The course coordinator ensures me, that my English teaching certificate from Indonesia and brief experience of teaching English to adults (also during my university years) in combination with a current teaching education, would be a good restarting point. Thus, my plan is to follow the full-time teaching course in October.

After some weeks feeling confused with this I-wanna-do-something-else fever (and, honestly, I belittled myself quite often lately), the energy and self-appreciation return. I was earning my own income since in college with steady and money-earning careers of 9 years (until my husband’s job moved us from Holland to the USA). Then I chose to become a homemaker, trailing my husband’s job for 7 years where I’ve been digging my interests in raising multilingual kids, teaching my kids piano, research and publication, in 4 different countries. I should give myself some credits to those 9 and 7 years.

Once more I'm assessing the right  to choose what I want to do with my life.  I will become a studying mom in a couple of months, and hopefully soon after, a working mom. I guess this new era will become equally (if not more) satisfying and challenging.

1. “Off-Ramps and On-Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success”. By Sylvia Ann Hewlett;
2. “The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued”. By Ann Crittenden
3. “Wifework: What Marriage Really Means for Women”. By Susan Maushart.
4. “The Seasons of a Woman’s Life: A Fascinating Explorations of the Events, Thoughts and Life Experiences that All Women Share”. By Daniel J. Levinson.
5. “Gender, Migration and the Dual Career Household”. By E. Hardill.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 26th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)

Good luck!!! I hope this new path of self-discovery leads you to a job you enjoy! Oh, and I'll definitely be checking out some of those books. Thank you! :)

May. 26th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)
Thank you. I find books numbers 2 and 3 the most useful. I wish I read them before I got married :D!!
May. 26th, 2011 02:57 am (UTC)
Exciting! Is there a potential career that appeals the most to you (it looks like teaching English to me, but I'm not sure)?

I can relate with the I-wanna-do-something fever. I've been unemployed for a while, and although I'm making the best of my time (lost ~50 pounds, trained for a half marathon, took Spanish classes, taking time to learn French and Italian), I'd really like to have more income and interaction with people. Is it hard to find work in Australia right now? The job market is America is pretty break, especially for young adults.
May. 26th, 2011 03:16 am (UTC)
Gosh .. you lost 50 pounds, marathon, Spanish and other language classes? Congratulations, those are big achievements!

But yes, after a while, we need more to actualize ourselves.
I haven't started looking for a job yet. Based on those career websites and numbers of moms at school returning to work, it seems the chance is quite big in OZ.

For young adults/fresh graduates, it's tough everywhere as most companies still ask for some work experience. Still, from another website, I read lots of youngsters take some volunteering jobs to create a longer list on their CVs.
May. 26th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
So glad that you finally see yourself again, San! With everything that you've already gained in the past, reaching your new goal(s) would not be something difficult. I agree, you belittled yourself too much. It's time to embrace a new beginning. I'm sure you will have so much fun!

-Shiu Ching-
May. 26th, 2011 03:23 am (UTC)
Thank you for being there as a fellow writer and sistuh :D!
May. 26th, 2011 03:15 am (UTC)
Elo masih sempet baca buku segitu banyak, San ? Hebat...
May. 26th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
You know lah, gw pan demennya riset hehehe. Tanpa buku2 itu, mungkin gw ngga akan 'kembali' secepet ini.
May. 26th, 2011 03:48 am (UTC)
Way to go San, that is very good and I think it is very rewarding to become a teacher and especially you have some experience. I thought about going to teacher's college and teach French in an immersion school for the little ones when I was contemplating about doing other things last year. I am still interested in doing so but I wanna make sure that my French is up there first. Still working on my French now, I had a classmate at Alliance Francais who was already teaching at a school and I think my French is better than her:):). Garile
May. 26th, 2011 03:58 am (UTC)
Aaaah go for it, Garile. Do you want to get a certification for that? It will serve as an insurance for your prospective client that you are qualified both in language and teaching skill to teach French. The advantage of you teaching will be for yourself and your twins .. how great that is!
May. 26th, 2011 04:50 am (UTC)
I'm so happy to hear that you've found your way to get the balance in your life. Family, career, self.. they all fit in your future program. So happy to hear that:) I wish you happiness and success in every step you'll take.

May. 26th, 2011 06:12 am (UTC)
Thank you, Dian. A mother/woman goes through many turns in her life. I come to understand it's up to her to get the most on each turn,
May. 26th, 2011 05:00 am (UTC)
career switch
Looks like a good choice,Santi. You were great, you are great and you will be great. Would like to be in your class :).

May. 26th, 2011 06:12 am (UTC)
Re: career switch
Thanks, Jerry, your class for being wise is also something to admire :D.
May. 28th, 2011 02:10 pm (UTC)
Hi! Salam kenal. I've been following your blog for quite a while. I understand your situation very well. I am from Indonesia and also a mother of two. My husband is from Germany. But there's a little difference between us. We don't travel like you. We stay in Germany. And our kids are only bilingual, not trilingual :) My English is not as good as yours. I speak German to my husband and Indonesian to the kids. Every time I read your post, I am always amazed. You always sound positive. I know very well what you mean by "not feeling satisfied at home". And I admire your way of always looking for a way out. I really would like to correspond with you via email? Is there any address I could send you some emails? I would appreciate it.
May. 28th, 2011 10:51 pm (UTC)
Re: email
Halloo ... congrats for choosing to raise your kids in Indonesian! It's rewarding, isn't it? Where do you live in Germany? We used to live in Muenchen and loved every beat of it. Thank you for your compliments. My e mail: sdharmaputra at yahoo dot com.
Jun. 11th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh! I have not visited your journal in ages because for a while ( like a year back? Ha, go me.) you stopped posting so... um...
if you still remember me, hello again! :) If not, let me know if I need to re-introduce myself.

Urgh. Getting back on the employment ladder. Never very nice or easy at first. Good luck with it!

While both language and piano teaching sound good, what about starting your own law firm? If one might not hire you?

Jun. 15th, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC)
Ziggy .. can't forget another fellow TCK here :D! Do you still live in the UK?

I know .. i've been posting rather rarely since moving to Australia. The novel writing takes too much of my energy.

Lawyering isn't a moveable career as legal system differs from one country to another. If I want to work here in OZ, I should get back to law school and take the bar exam and I'm not interested in doing that.

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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