American Blend #3

It’s been called the sandwich generation – those of us who are old enough to have children and elderly parents at the same time.  When duty calls at home what do you do?  Do you leave work behind and take care of the home or are you lucky enough financially and employment wise to have outside help at home assisting your kids or parents?  All sorts of ethnic backgrounds in the United States find themselves in this predicament, no one seems immune.  I myself being of Dutch, Irish, English and Polish decent, which I call American Blend #3, (Anglo-Saxon protestant with a dash of eastern European ) have been placed in the predicament of helping out with elderly and ill parents far away from my work routine and  domain.  I have no children of my own so this seemed feasible to many.  I moved a couple of hours away from where I loved living and had a social life and work life.  It was thought that the work life would be able to thrive still two hours away from the hustle and bustle that I was used to.  It did not.   I was consulting but couldn’t keep up with the phone calls, in person meetings that were far and away and needed all my time to materialize and come to fruition.  Not to mention the increased costs involved with such meetings.  Social life disappeared all together which was even harder in many ways.  I couldn’t just meet up with friends and get away from new issues at home.  I  had to move to an area known as a “beautiful get-away” for many metro New Yorker’s.  If you are single and looking, moving to a mostly married place with a strong group of senior citizens and low number of college educated professional males who are single can be a sad reality.  Home duties call, who is going home? If you have to do it in your hometown, that is still stressfull but not as stressfull as having to move yourself and supporting life.
And, when you are ready to go back to work fulltime and the elderly relatives, or your children are somewhat stabilized do you find work right away?  Not in this economy. Not in most years.  Once you take a year or two away from fulltime work you are not seen on the same caliber you once were.  Women more than men seem to have this pull of two worlds affect them more.  For many years college educated, and in some cases well employed women gave up their corporate work for home work.  After years away many women want to come back to the corporate entity and are met with curiosity and sometimes disdain. Many people are contracting or consulting at will in order to make some money.   By all accounts this is not an easy choice either.  Do your high level skills disappear for the time you aren’t working fulltime?  No.  American’s of all blends will find themselves in this scenario in one way or another.  Companies and contractors need to understand that the work/life balance isn’t always balanced and some flexibility and compassion are called for to help them work again and keep companies working and the home fires burning bright and healthy.

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