Good career choices for the family-minded girl.

On August 6, 2012 I wrote and posted the following essay on an old blog that has since been deleted. However, I want to repost this essay for several reasons. First, I want to make it clear that I have not changed my mind in any way about these issues just because I’m working full time now. I have always believed that some women may sometimes need to work outside the home and I have always written that the purpose of this work should be to serve our families, not our egos.

Second, when young women are deciding whether or not to pursue post-secondary education, they should have a clear plan in mind for what it is that they intend to do with that education and only spend as much time and money on college or job training as is absolutely necessary. There are two excellent resources listed in this essay to help them with this: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Wage Estimates and Education Portal (scroll down to that links under “Degree, School, and Career Research to learn what kinds of schooling are required for various professions).

And the third reason I’m posting this is because I strongly disagree with one thing that NYCPastor wrote in his essay:

It’s okay for a woman to be a doctor, attorney, or any other professional.

Actually, it’s not that great for a woman to pursue careers like “doctor” or “attorney”. High school guidance counselors tend to encourage girls to “follow their dreams” and pursue these high status and potentially lucrative careers, but those are not jobs that a woman can easily blend with family life; they aren’t good “part-time” jobs, they don’t usually have flexible hours, and they require years of costly education during the prime years for looking for a husband and having children. If she wants to provide a helper income to her husband but still be able to have a family, there are much better choices, as I outlined in this old essay, which follows now:.

August 6, 2012: I have listed ten career choices that would be good for a woman who wants to have some higher education and a job that will be in a pleasant, safe work environment with reasonably good status and pay.  These jobs are all notable for allowing flexible schedules, either part-time or full-time, which would allow a mother to be focused on her family while there are children at home.  At this time in the U.S. all these jobs are fairly easy to get.  Education requirements range from a certificate diploma to a Master’s degree.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2011 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

Occupation

Educational requirement

Licensure requirements

MedianAverage

Salary

Flexible hours

Benefits and Drawbacks

Nurse

Associates or BSN

Yes, by state

69,110

Very

Can work full or part time, in many different settings, good pay relative to education level

Vet Tech

Associates

Yes, by state

31,570

very

Pay is not high unless one works for a large research company or university

Ultrasound tech

1 yr certificateAssociates

BS

Yes, by state

65,800

moderate

Excellent pay relative to education level; Can work part-time

Speech-Language Pathologist

MA

Yes, by state and natl org

72,000

very

Many different work settings; a national shortage makes finding a job easy; can work full or part time; drawback: long, difficult MA required

Occupational Therapist

MA

Yes by state and natl org

74,970

very

Many different work settings, long MA program

Physical Therapist

MA

By state and natl org

79,340

very

Many different work settings, good pay for an MA

Social Worker

MA

By state

54,220

moderate

Drawback: can be low-pay relative to educational requirement; Can be flexible depending on location

Dental hygienist

2 yr certificateAssociates

By state

69,760

moderate

Can be flexible though most jobs are full-time M-F; good pay for only a two-year degree

Physician Assistant

MA

By state

89,470

moderate

Excellent pay but very challenging degree (basically Med school lite); can work part time; many different work settings

Home Daycare

—–

Need a state license to run a home daycare

Approx.  $200/weekPer child

Not very flexible

Can work from home, which is nice if you have your own children at home; can be hard work to add more little ones; pay is not high; kids get sick a lot

Teachers and Librarians both have pleasant working conditions, reasonable salaries, and manageable hours, but at present in the United States there is a dearth of available jobs in these fields.  Administrative Assistants have low educational requirements, moderate salary, very inflexible hours (8-5, M-F).

A good resource for learning about various jobs is Education Portal, which allows you to compare salaries, educational requirements, and so on.

On the whole, I’d say I’m not a huge fan of women in the workforce, although I myself work one half-day per week.  Being economically-dependent on one’s husband might be a good thing in some ways; it certainly would make it harder for women to bail out of their marriages, and having Mother at home is definitely what most children prefer.  However, each couple needs to navigate this issue for themselves, with the husband of course having the final veto power.

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15 thoughts on “Good career choices for the family-minded girl.

  1. I completely disagreed with him there also {and also about marrying a women younger}. Every single female I know that is a doctor deeply regrets it; the debt, the time away from home, the feeling they can never quit because of the time and expense getting the degree, etc. I did love many things he wrote about, however, and it was great to see a pastor write so boldly on some of these very politically incorrect views, such as not marrying a feminist!

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    • @ Lori

      {and also about marrying a women younger}

      His scriptural argument wasn’t terribly strong, but the evidence does back up that such marriages tend to have trouble. Any age difference of greater than 18 months to 2 years with the woman older is more statistically likely to end poorly. It was good general advice; the only arguments I’ve seen against it have been along the lines of “Well, (my/my friend’s/these people I know’s) marriage is just fine, and the wife is older than the husband!”

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      • Maybe this is true in an unbiblical marriage but not in a biblical marriage where the wife is a godly, submissive help meet. My mom is older than my dad, my sister is older than her husband, my two daughters are married to men younger than them and they are all very happily married. I don’t see where age has anything to do with it since age has nothing whatsoever to do with the heart since it all comes down to a heart issue; do they desire to obey God or not?

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      • Regarding marrying an older woman, I would have to guess that part of the issue is the relationship/spiritual dynamics between an older, more accomplished woman and a younger, less accomplished man. That Dr. Smith might treat her husband as a boy toy and then be surprised when the boy toy figured out he could take his youth and half of Dr. Smith’s assets to a younger, less wrinkled, model. Or something like that.

        And I’m guessing the frivorced men out there would have oodles of compassion for Dr. Smith in that regard…… :^)

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      • I’m two years older than my husband so the subject interests me as well. We don’t really have any issues based around that either. He is the head here without a doubt, and always has been.

        I tend to agree with Lori that it’s really about the heart, but I will be curious to read anything any of you write on the topic.

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  2. I think a lot of this stems from feminists playing on concerns over abandonment. They do love the leverage that comes from fear. Family should come first, then working life. Since it is not brought up all that much, I have feeling that men are not abandoning their families. This may be a played up phantom fear. Anyone out there have good numbers to share?

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  3. One of the many reasons we encourage our daughters to pursue an education that will help facilitate working from home on their own schedules is the inconvenience of a set schedule. For 20 years now, our Christmas get togethers, birthdays, anniversaries, etc with our extended family have been decided based on my sister-in-law’s work schedule. She’s a nurse. In order to be part time, she has always had to work every other weekend and holiday. It is a VERY rare event for her to switch with someone – it usually takes a death in the family for it to happen. Year after year, the 17 of us make out our calendars according to her work schedule. Now, when my brother-in-law and husband were in the Military, our get-togethers relied on them having leave. But that was much more palatable to everyone – they are the primary bread winners where as her income has never been necessary.

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  4. Theoretically an attorney or an accountant could work from home. The internet provides access to all the necessary tools, and you could always have a “home office.” I say theoretically because despite that potential doesn’t really carry through in reality for professionals like that. I suppose if the husband was of that profession then the wife having that degree and training could help. But the problem with that is the time and money spent on education and everything else that goes with a profession.

    And of course doctors are right out.

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  5. Being a physician with small children would be very difficult, and even older kids, would require a huge time commitment and sacrifice, but that would be true if the dad was a physician, at least in the intern/residency years. There is a need for female physicians though.

    Our only issue with working has been overtime, and him working a lot of it, but questioning why I am still at work.

    Good list of career choices/maybe bookkeepers would make their own hours

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  6. A friend of my wife’s, an ob/gyn, notes that she considers nursing and PA jobs better than doctors’ jobs for this reason. And hey–there’s a local clinic (Mayo) looking to hire 3000 of them in the next few years. A lot of the homeschoolers in the area have a lot of daughters going into it….

    Good to see you back, Sunshine! And hope that Harbaugh kills that general studies degree….

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  7. Pingback: Millennials: childless, indentured to student loans for life, and all for nothing. | The Sunshine Thiry Blog

  8. In-home daycare can be a problem though. You have all the licensing and a whole bunch of other major headaches. I wouldn’t recommend that. The only thing I’d recommend is babysitting for one or two very select friends. In home daycare can also result in a whole bunch of unwanted influences on your kids. Having babysat many times, I would list it at the most stressful, most inflexible, least pay for the trouble work. You’re better off having it be only your own children at home. Help out others when they’re in a pinch, but don’t provide daycare.

    Some that you overlooked: home seamstress business, music instruction. I have a home business sewing, and my daughter plans eventually to give piano lessons out of our home.

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