Trade Off

I keep thinking about trade offs.  Something always has to give, at least in my world.  I work in an industry in which I am immersed and surrounded by wealth and high earners.  Two and three homes, and not one moment’s attention paid to the balance in their accounts, except for how much more money is made.  I have mixed feelings about this.  1.  It is something to aspire to!  I now understand how wealth is built, how it is maintained and how to plan for the future.  I would love to never have to balance my checkbook again.  2. On the other hand, it sometimes feels extremely disconnected from reality because of that.  Many of these people are the “1%,” but the misconception is that they haven’t worked hard for it.  Everyone knows my feelings on hard work.  It’s just by chance that I ended up in this industry anyway.  How an English major who loves to read and talk about character development, dreams of teaching in another life (and living in academia forever), ended up with two very difficult licenses to trade securities… I don’t know.  For the short story, I’m a stock broker.  Not like Wall Street, however.  Just sitting quietly at a desk all day.  Ok sometimes quietly.  Sometimes I get rowdy.

It’s difficult sometimes not to get caught up in the race, and in my industry, and my position, they do a very good job of reeling you in slowly.  It’s sort of like drinking the koolaid if you follow me.  My heart’s happiness is found in writing, making things, working on my home, helping others in their planning, celebrating renovations, and of course, salvaging all things.  But (big ole’ BUT), I have a pretty good gig, and I’m so thankful for what that has enabled us to do as a family, and as a couple planning for our future one day.  I’ve learned more than the average person will ever know about retirement planning, estate planning, and saving saving saving money.  My senior partner always says he would rather have a Kansas City housewife, an electrician, or a plumber as a client above anyone else, because they are smart, tuned in, and oh-so-wise with their money.  People like that make our jobs easy, and they make it fun.  Being incredibly detail oriented has been a blessing in my career and at six years in, I can say I really am happy.  But there’s that trade off that keeps looming in my head.  And it’s guilt.

I’m not with my daughter during the day.  I miss moments with her that are mine to have.  What is the true cost of my career?  I’m not saying I know the answer to that.  I’m not saying it’s wrong of me or any other mother to work.  That’s what’s wrong with our position as mothers these day:  we are all too competitive and defensive about our decisions.  But how can we not be?  At every turn you have strong opinions, and good examples, of mothers doing it both ways.  Yesterday Aurelia pinched her brow and asked my Mom, “Mama?” “She’s at work!”… “Dada!?”  “He’s at work too!”  There’s a trade off.  And right now everything is beautiful and there is no impending doom, nothing is wrong and I’m not wringing my hands over our life, my position, and definitely not my daughter’s well-being.  Right now I weigh the trade off.  It is definitely something to ponder…

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