I started working at the CPA firm on Wednesday. (Why, oh why, did they have me start two weeks before taxes are due?!?! It’s beyond insane there!)
My first assignment was to travel four hours from home to the regional office (which is further away than the national headquarters, sadly), and that terrified me. I don’t really drive anymore, and the job promised no travel. Thankfully, a friend was on spring break and said she’d be up for a road trip. So we made the trek through dust storms (our state is experiencing a drought thanks to no snow this winter) and hail.
I learned right away that working for a private company is so. much. different than working for the government–essentially my only background. They handed me a stack of gift cards, a polo shirt with the company name, a water bottle with the company logo, a backpack/laptop case (again, imprinted with the company name), and a laptop. The laptop is technically my CPU but is also portable, so I eyed it in hopes that it means I will at some point be allowed to take my work home once in a while.
My new employer is proud of being a family-friendly company. That was something that attracted me to them. For folks who work more than 75 nights away from home, they can take their spouse with them (on company money). They offer short-term disability insurance for 12 weeks, and that covers maternity leave. If your normal childcare is unavailable, they have back-up childcare for you. You can get a bonus for adopting a child.
All of this is really great, and really encouraging in our own plans to try to have a baby again whenever feasible, but then there’s the issue that I didn’t really think through in a family-friendly company: everyone has kids and everyone wants to talk about them. I have already had to tell about ten people that my son died last year, and I know in time I will need to tell everyone. I need to guard myself for triggers and remember that people don’t understand if I’m distant or uninterested in someone’s new baby. I must be careful to be approachable while still being able to take care of myself. It’s a hard balance.
So I am glad I am where I am, and I am encouraged that if we do succeed in having a baby in the next year like we hope to that the company provides resources much better than FMLA. In the mean time, life is still going to be really hard, even with the much-needed change.