Sunday, September 20, 2009

mo babies mo money

Jiyoun* believes that the most direct path for me to turn writing into income is via blogging. it seems to me a long shot but no longer a shot than making cash by doing nothing, so here goes. let the writing begin:

hold on, first a few prefatory evocations:

O Self-Promotion! O Marginal Celebrity! O Privacy Asploded!
O Unseemly Invitations to an Online Audience that They Identify
with My Plein Air Narcissism!
O Hyperlink Highway to Nickel and Dime Fortunes!

We Embrace You!


on the issue of money: this evening Jiyoun read aloud a stat from the Times (i think it was) asserting that women permanently lose 10% of their earning potential for every two years spent at home with children. hmm, this seems very lazy of me. okay, i'll track down that article:

okay, i just read it and you shouldn't bother. just one more in the Times' ongoing coverage of how the recession is hard for rich people, including such notable pieces as "my banker boyfriend lost his job and so i dumped him" and "$500k really isn't *that* much, all things considered" and "law students no longer make six-figures after graduation." however, one noteworthy bit that you might want to look at is reader's comment #76 from TMJ of kent, ct. TMJ's argument, a rather sinuous but oddly familiar one (though in altered to form) to me and Jiyoun, is that highly educated, professional women who opt to stay home are enabling their "super-employee" husbands to forego any responsibilities outside of work and, by extension, also enabling the onerous, sexist and traditionally imbalanced institution of employment that makes work-life balance impossible. basically, no one can keep up with a married man whose wife takes care of children + everything else because even single people without kids still need time to maintain a life outside of work.

or in his words: "Even single, child-free people have trouble keeping up with married men, and single parents and (unless they've married extraordinarily enlightened men) working mothers can pretty much forget about it." (yay me! extraordinarily enlightened! whew, that takes a lot of weight off my shoulders!)

and further: "If these "opt out" gals had stayed in the workforce and fought for concessions, if they had refused to serve as the home support staff for their husbands, American employers would've been forced to grant concessions."

now, it’s been for a while clear to both Jiyoun and me that her previous 40% work schedule with two days a week at home with juniper was made possible largely by my being at home full-time. this because her 40% schedule was too unreliable on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis to accommodate regular daycare hours. the only way she could work whenever she needed to and still see juniper on the occasional day or half-day off was if i filled in the unexpected gaps. back then, staying at home seemed somehow purposeful. it at least gave one of us some work-life balance. and it also gave the other one of us work-life-4-hours-of-playing-fifa-manager-mode-with-sang-each-night balance.

but now that Jiyoun is back at work full time my excuse (is that what it is?) for not working - that at least one of us has a balanced life - no longer holds water**. what’s worse, if TMJ is to be believed, we’ve both just played directly into the hands of The Man now that Jiyoun is back to full-time super-employee status.


and yet . . . twist! Jiyoun will be rated at a 100% schedule when she goes on maternity leave come February! in exchange for putting in 7 months of full-time now, she’ll receive the 40% schedule equivalent of about 14 months paid maternity leave ((one month pre-due date disability + 4.5 months maternity leave) x 250% pay = 13.75 months).

which is to say that the Times statistic about 10% pay loss for women who stay home is totally wrong when applied to our household. assuming a hypothetical, 18 month birthing cycle (a somewhat quick “turnaround”, i admit, but by no means hurried), with 5.5 of every 18 months on paid leave, i calculate that Jiyoun earns, for each month at work, 144% of her ordinary, barren base salary. let’s extrapolate that a little further:

# of months between births % of base salary earned for time at work
36 months 118%

as you can see, if you really want to stick it to The Man you need to start the revolution from your bed. there's no better fiscal policy than being fertile.

* by the way, a happy coincidence: my spelling auto-correct turns "Jiyoun" into "joyous." except this only happens if Jiyoun is not capitalized, so all instances of "Jiyoun" must be capitalized lest, for example, that first sentence read "my spelling auto-correct turns 'joyous' into 'joyous'."

** and perhaps that excuse never stood tight to begin with since my constantly ornery, short-tempered unhappiness was spreading sourpuss water all over Jiyoun’s life scales on her days off anyway.

*** this is what domestic economists call “the golden ratio".


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