Wednesday, April 8, 2009
note: smarty pants posts are my responses and reflections on current events, and the questions they stir up.
Will the stay-at-home lifestyle become an inevitable casualty of the recession? This is the question I asked myself when I read a recent article in Time Magazine about women scrambling to get back into the workforce after leaving it to raise children.
It is a fair question. Other fair questions include: is it foolish to be home right now? should women try to get jobs before it gets too late? is staying home during a recession a financially irresponsible choice?
The answers to those questions, of course, are relative. What might be responsible for one person would be unwise for another. Nevertheless, I think that there are some themes and trends worth pondering about stay-at-home living and the current recession:
* Fear influences our perspective and decisions. For many of us, this recession is scary. The notion that the “window is closing” for employment might cause some of us to pursue a conventional job even when we don’t want or need one, usually for fear that someday we might.
* Furthermore, staying home--a choice that on its own incites cultural resistance--becomes even harder when the focus on dollars and cents is intensified. The day-to-day activities that don’t generate income, or generate small income, are more tempting to eschew in favor of traditional work and payment.
* There are ways that you can be proactive about work while staying home. Many women manage to launch small companies from their homes that provide either living or supplemental incomes for their families. Furthermore, women staying home can prepare themselves to enter the workforce if needed by taking steps to heighten their employability now. Read below under “previous posts” for more information.
* Also, working and income are not the only safeguards during this recession; home management helps too. Strong community ties, disciplined budgeting, creative resourcefulness, and the like can all fortify a family against the throngs of recession. Paychecks are not the only solution.
Certainly I would never council someone to stay home if they weren’t making ends meet at the end of the month. But I do think that home-based lifestyles are particularly vulnerable during recessions, and I find myself wanting to defend them. Not just because I work from home, but also because I think they provide tangible (dare I say quantifiable?) value.
What are your thoughts? Are you staying home and feeling heightened pressure to hit the pavement? Are you currently searching for work? What do you think about stay-at-home living during a recession? Post your comments here.
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Previous Related Posts:
Smarty Pants: Jobs vs. Livelihoods
Building a Resume that Rocks
My Recession-Proof Plan for the Work-from-Home Life