Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm an engineer ...

... and a bit of a spaz, apparently. And I have a feeling this post is going to get very long so I apologize if I bore you to tears. The past two weeks have been so stressful for me. I've done lots of thinking, lots of research, lots of stressing, and lots of knitting. I find that when i'm really stressed is when I want to knit the most. I found an article recently that talked about research showing how knitting lowers blood pressure as effectively as meditation. I believe it too. I've been a knitting insomniac for the past three days.

I decided to continue knitting the "ugly socks" for two reasons. One, it's mindless stockinette stitch going round and round and round and takes absolutely no concentration thus leaving my mind free to ponder all of my work/school options. Two, my friend Joy gave me a new way to look at the ugliness of the sock and I decided it would be good to keep knitting for a bit and see what happens with the pattern that's appearing. Now i'm not saying the socks aren't ugly anymore but the pattern that's emerging is different than what I thought I was going to get so i'm glad I decided to put a little more time into it. I'm done with the cuff/leg part of the first sock and I started the cuff of the second sock last night. I decided to knit these two socks together instead of finishing one and then starting the other.

I got my Etsy shop up and running yesterday and posted my first skein of yarn. I still have some work to do on my shop appearance so i'm not sharing it with you all yet. I have to wait until my secret pal exchange is over anyway so as not to inadvertantly reveal myself a little too soon. I hope to get some of my baby tie-dye stuff up there today or tomorrow as well. I'm also working on a new colorway for a sock yarn geared towards men.

Back to the "i'm a spaz" thing. I've done a lot of thinking and researching and phone calls and emails and soul searching about this whole going back to school thing. Brett and I had a big heart to heart about the whole thing last night too over a bottle of wine and were up till sometime after 1am discussing my options. Have I said lately how much I love my husband? I really don't know what I would do without him here as my sounding board. And no matter what my latest and craziest idea is, he's always there to support me and to help me sort through things.

Here's where i'm at ... my biggest and most important thing in life is to be here for my boys. Some people may say I want to have my cake and eat it too but ya know what? I went through six and a half years of college for a reason. So I don't have to work my butt of just to make ends meet. So that I can have a good life. So that my family can have a good life. So that I can have the job I want to have. So i've reached deep down to figure out what exactly I want and here it is ... I want to be home with my kids. And when they go to school I want to drive them there and pick them up and talk to them about their day and help them with their homework and take them to soccer practice and whatever else they want to do. I want them to have a great childhood. I want us to have a great home and family life. I want to be able to take them on vacations and show them things like the Grand Canyon and the space centers and the mountains and the malibu coast and all that great stuff here in our wonderful country. I want to be able to send them to private school. I don't want someone else to raise my children and pick them up after school and take care of them over the summers. I'm their mom and I should be doing that. I'm not saying that everyone should do that. I'm just saying that I should. Now over the past two weeks i've come up with two ways in which this can happen.

Option 1: community college math teacher
Pros: I can make my own schedule, great pay for number of days worked, lots of time off that would mosly line up with the boys off time.
Cons: Four more years of college in which we will be more broke than we are now. Two years of undergrad after which there is absolutely no guarantee that I will get into grad school. Apparently the undergrad postpac classes I have to take will take me two years due to a certain sequence that you have to follow and each class only being offered once a year. Postbac is only allowed for 12 months so I would actually have to apply as a degree seeking student and get a bachelors in math before applying to grad school. I've been told more than once that the likelihood of getting into UF's math grad program is slim to none. My only other commutable option is UNF. That's two years of school and time away from the boys with no guarantee of being any better off than I am now. Also, if I do finish grad school I would most likely have to work as an adjunct for several years until a full time position is offered. I've had two different math professors refer to adjunct positions as "slave labor". So that would be four years of school to end up making under 20k a year until, hopefully, a full time position would be offered. That would mean no private school and definitley no vacations. I could make more by going back to teaching high school. If I didn't have kids I would feel much more positive about this math option and would just go for it but there are just too many places where this option could take a bad turn. I've worked too hard to get the degree I already have to set myself up for failure on round two.

Option 2: civil or structural engineer
Pros: Hey ... I'm already an engineer. Now I just have to add that civil or structural part. There are several ways for me to do this. College classes, training classes, teaching myself with Brett's textbooks and his help, and a combination of all these things. We know so many engineers around here and the civil and structural stuff is going to be around forever. It's also something that I can do no matter where we live. That's the problem with my being an aerospace engineer. It's so specialized that you pretty much work yourself right out of a job. There are plenty of engineers around here that I can work for on a contractor basis. That's what I do now for GTC's structural engineer but I could do a lot more if I learned some more about the field. I could go back to UF and get a civil engineering degree pretty quickly. Probably less than two years. Or I could just do a year of postbac work and take some of the classes that Brett thinks gave him the best real world knowledge. He thinks I could go to some continuing education training sessions like the ones engineering firms and DOT send their employees to and could learn what I need to. So I could do this and continue to work from home as I am now but would be able to take on a lot more work, especially when the boys start school. I'll have all day while they are in school to get my work done and with my laptop I could travel around to meet with clients and the engineers that I work for. And did I mention that i'm already an engineer? This option is actually causing me much less stress, costing much less money and providing more immediate and continued success and therefore a better life for us and our boys. And i'm really looking forward to learning some new things, which this would definitely provide. And we definitely wouldn't mind being back to having two engineers salaries either. Anyhow, the boys are growing up and Brody is getting to the point where he and Houston can play and entertain themselves for longer periods of time, giving me the ability to sit and get some work or some studying done. Another six months or so and they should be at a point where I can take on the HVAC work that is waiting for me.
Cons: Our eggs would still all be in the GTC basket, at least for a little while, which makes me a bit nervous but I will be learning things that allow me to go out and get work from other engineers soon enough.

Considering the size of the "con" section in the math option and the size of the "pro" section in the engineer option, I see where i'm headed. And i'm actually less stressed and more excited today than I have been in two weeks. :) Now I have to go to Brett's office and drag all those textbooks back to the house that I made him take there to get them out of my way.


  1. I'm thinking you are headed in the right direction. Given what your priorities are, its pretty clear which option is best. Good luck! You'll definitely have to come celebrate with us after SnB sometime!

  2. wow what a decision making process. In the end, your ideas are becoming more clear and it seems like you are coming to some sort of conclusion.... ..