Monday, November 21, 2016

Non-Job Opportunity

My "dream job" that was open at the University of Minnesota last winter is back open again.

And I'm not applying.

It was one of the easier decisions I've had to make.

It's funny that I was so bummed about not getting that position a few months ago, and now it quickly turned into not wanting to reapply for it.

I sent my wife this text 2 weeks ago, and here's her reply:

(It's a cute thing we do when we say "I love you exclamation point" because when we "text"
via Siri, we speak that into our phone to get an actual exclamation point. Our 2-year-old
has started saying "I love you exclamation point" because we say/text it so often.)

It's not about me. Ten years ago, it COULD be about me. But a family is not about an individual member. It's about how we work as a unit. This "Stenzel Unit" will work MUCH better with me at home more often. It's a no-brainer.

If you don't have kids, you might feel a bit sorry for me, maybe like I'm throwing something away. But I promise you that you shouldn't. Life is just a collection of stories - do I want to have more "work stories" or more "family stories?"

Here's 10 examples of what we've been up to as seen on Instagram in the last few weeks:

At the pool with my 2-year-old.

We're working on it.

Hanging out with Papa Dale.

After another swim.

Bow tie buddies.

An after school trip to the Science Museum.

"Helping" rake leaves.

On an adventure by the Mississippi River.

Still. Working. On. It.

The compost site is great fun.

In the end, here are the 2 options (I could go into a LOT more detail here, but these are the basic points):

1. Apply for this job. If I get it, I would probably take home about as much money as I do now teaching part-time because the rest would go to child care. I wouldn't see my family as much. Doing this would put more stress on my life, more stress on my wife's life (having to make sure to get home by a certain time on certain nights to get the boys from daycare/school, and then having to worry about making supper and fitting in anything else in her life when I'm at work), and more stress on both of my boys (as we're zipping them quickly off to daycare early in the morning while trying not to be late for "life"). In 40 years, a handful of students might remember me as "that semi-goofy teacher who made photography interesting and wore funky shirts at times."

2. Don't apply for this job. Work part-time as I am now, and keep spending lots of time with my boys. Be there to volunteer at Henry's school and to take Charlie on play-dates (we did 2 this past week). Be there to walk Henry to school every morning as we've done for the last 12 weeks (we've only driven 4 times so far this year). Be present for my wife and family. (Try to) keep the house clean and the boys fed. Have more adventures. Spend more time with my boys teaching them to be good men. Be their rock. In 40 years, my (maybe growing) family might remember me as "the dad who was always there teaching us that anything is possible (and yelling at us for getting into sh*t at times)."

I've never seen such an obvious choice. Now pardon me... I'm off to hang out with my boys.



I went through the same decision making process 21 years ago, came to the same conclusion, and it was the right move for our family. When the kids would do or say something, I would think to myself- that was worth $xxx. And that I could share it with my spouse was also wonderful. It doesn't work for all families, but it's great knowing that I made the right choice for us. My kids are 19 and 21 now and I don't regret it one bit!

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