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The first time I wrote about having it all I wanted to add a voice I felt was missing–the married, childless (child-free, whatever phrase is hip now, I can’t keep up), woman. I felt like every bit of this discussion was about women who were career driven and had children. I don’t fall into these categories. I had written a post for International Women’s Day, (I’ve taken it down), and I realized in re-reading it that I was really just trying to explain away some painful situations I was living through, trying to justify the “alls” I had chased down. In reality, I don’t find the phrase “all” helpful. I don’t think it furthers our conversation in what a good life means, or that it helps us becoming better humans, lovers, communicators, etc.

What exactly does “having it all” mean? I’m not entirely sure. I usually hear the phrase in conjunction with kids and career, but I don’t feel like that is a wide enough conversation for all women (or all people) to participate in. And what about men? Do men not have these concerns?  My husband, when faced with the question, said “I really don’t understand what you are asking me. I don’t think it’s a question for men. If it’s seriously a question, it ought to be a question not based on gender. Women are expected to figure out the kid thing, it’s a lurking premise when women ask the question of each other.” What we should be asking, he argues, is about having a good life. I happen to agree.

Initially I had no life plans or goals. The few dreams I had I pushed aside for more “realistic” pursuits. I went to college, selected a major only because I thought it was interesting, got married at 21, graduated, and moved with no plan or jobs lined up. (Life lesson #1: not always wise to move without income lined up.) I changed jobs a few times before I figured that getting a master’s degree in my field might equal more income. And I knew I wanted to move to a different city. Now I had what I thought was an “all” goal: move, buy a house (cheaper than renting for where we were), do the grad school thing, get some better job. No real plan as to what that job would be. We did all of that and I took the first solid offer I had after grad school: a teaching gig at a small private college. It was my safest option at the time. (more…)

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Last year I was teaching full time at a community college (CC). It was my first (and last) year at that school largely because I was not prepared to have someone in power hire me and then work so hard against me.

Some background: I was hired to add diversity to the program–as in diversity to the course offerings. The courses I was supposed to be creating/teaching are pretty common at comparable colleges, and students have expressed a growing interest in these courses. I had the background, I enjoyed my interview experience and I thought it was a good fit. Shortly after I started I began to sense seom hostility from one woman, let’s call her Dora, for simplicity’s sake. Dora was on the search committee and enthusiastic about my hire, initially. When it became clear that I fully intended on doing what I was hired to do–work on adding to the program under my specialization, we started to but heads. She thought I was “smarter than that.” (Apparently I wasn’t, as I moved 6 hours from home for what I thought was the “perfect job”.) (more…)

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