We’ve all had times in our lives when it’s easier to excuse ourselves than exercise our options.
Life’s issues often get in the way of the decision-making process. Time runs short, the gotta-do list never seems to get any shorter, so we keep making do, getting by and using what sounds like pretty good reasoning (at least at that moment) to move around making a much-needed major change.
I read and post on a few public boards, and there is a thread on one of them that’s got a few folks riled. The original poster (let’s call her “Raven”) was musing about the cost of daycare vs. her paycheck, and wondered if she would not be better off simply staying home, saving the costs of working and daycare. She also mentioned that her very active little boy was wearing out her parents (they babysit for him daily) and they needed a break. She says her house is dirty, because she never finds time to clean it. She’s received a fair amount of advice and outrage from many responders, reminding her of several issues with quitting her job:
- She was already in the hole money-wise, thanks to credit card debt and high living (fancy cellphone plane, cable, iPhone, nice cars). Not working meant not paying her outstanding bills.
- Not working meant she was not contributing to Social Security, a pension, a 401K or any other form of retirement savings.
- Not working meant she could easily fall behind in her field, and might not be able to find work again, since her skills would be outdated.
- Not working does not necessarily make for a cleaner house. Kids still make messes, and being at home all the time can produce boredom and complacency.
- Kids at home is not normally a forever situation. What will you do when they leave home, and you have no job skills?
- What happens if your husband dies or leaves? Few skills plus no savings plus no healthcare plus little or no money coming in equals a nightmare for you and your kids.
- Can your husband step up right now and make more money, plus cover healthcare expenses?
- Why is a source of your own income, and your own separate identity, suddenly no longer important?
- It always stinks to start at the bottom, but consistent job performance leads to more money, more perks and better job opportunities.
Raven had an excuse for every suggestion and every idea offered:
- I don’t want a career, the house and kids are too much for that.
- I’m not making enough at this job to make daycare worthwhile.
- I like where I live, even if the cost of living is really high.
- I need my phone, cable TV and a big, safe SUV, no matter how expensive it is to fill up.
- I need to pay a cleaning service, my husband is too busy to help.
- I don’t want to push the money issue with my husband, because I’m afraid he will get angry and leave.
All the excuses, lined up and ready to go. Basically, Raven does not want to make real changes. Keeping a sinking boat steady sometimes seems a whole lot easier than rowing your guts out to get to the next safe place and regrouping. Change hurts, but the most painful part of altering your life is to grab the suck-it-up broom and sweep away the excuses, confronting nothing more than the bare room of your conscience. It’s can be uplifting to look around and find the excuse enemy gone, and face the core of the problem – that recording in your head, constantly playing the same tired tune: I can’t, I won’t, I don’t, I wouldn’t, I shouldn’t, I’ll do it someday.