Democratic vs. Republican occupations

by Grace aka costofcollege

Your Surgeon Is Probably a Republican, Your Psychiatrist Probably a Democrat

New data show that, in certain medical fields, large majorities of physicians tend to share the political leanings of their colleagues, and a study suggests ideology could affect some treatment recommendations. In surgery, anesthesiology and urology, for example, around two-thirds of doctors who have registered a political affiliation are Republicans. In infectious disease medicine, psychiatry and pediatrics, more than two-thirds are Democrats.

The author suggests that salary and gender play a role in the political leanings of doctors.

Here’s another measure of politics and occupations that is based on political contributions.

Democratic vs. Republican occupations
Most librarians are Democrats. Most farmers are Republicans.
As a group, doctors are in the middle, though pediatricians lean left and urologists right

Do you see these trends among people you know?  Do you fit in with any overall political orientation among your colleagues, or do you usually feel out of place?  What about with your neighbors, friends, and relatives?  Do you talk politics in real life?

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240 thoughts on “Democratic vs. Republican occupations

  1. “Do you talk politics in real life?”

    Political talk is limited to my kids and DH only. Never, ever in the workplace or with friends.

  2. I can guess about a few of my doctors, and I think most are democrats. This might not be a typical sample since most are in NYC.

    My college friends that are now doctors are generally Republicans, but most of them were raised as Republicans. I’ve seen a lot of these friends this year due to birthdays, and they’re all voting Democrat except for one person.

    My neighborhood is a mix of people that support both parties, but very few Republicans even run for some of the local positions so most elected officials and judges are democrats.

  3. I suspect this is probably regional as well. Most of my area is Republican, although there are no Trump or Clinton signs anywhere (except when you go out to the suburbs, I saw quite a few Trump signs on my way to go apple picking last week). Usually in a presidential election year there are signs in every neighbor’s yard for whoever is on the Republican ticket but this year there are only signs for the local/state races (and they are all Republican). We had my husband’s birthday dinner last week with our very Republican friends and our very Democrat friends – the election came up but was a very polite and interesting conversation.

  4. I don’t think I talk politics with people in real life, but I know how most of my family/friends/acquaintances are favoring this election.

    I was surprised at the percentage of farmers who are Democrats, it is higher than I see in real life. However, when I looked at the retired farmers it became plausible. Both DH and my fathers were Democrats, if they were still alive, they might well be Democrats still.

  5. Gender plays a role in a lot of these (Librarian vs logger???? Floral designer vs exterminator???)
    Some, though, are suprising. Why are carpenters Democrats while plumbers are Republican? One of the guys in DH’s extended family is a carpenter (union, no less) and is a loud Trump supporter.

    And if they include radio talk show hosts, then of course they tend to be Republican.

  6. “I suspect this is probably regional as well. “

    I have a new hiking buddy who by occupation (media/communications) and residence (upper west side Manhattan) can be stereotyped as the ultimate liberal. I am generally at the opposite end of the political spectrum. Surprisingly, we’ve had civil conversations about politics, although we take care to keep it rather superficial. We’re in agreement that this campaign is horrible, so we can commiserate about that. But for the most part, I rarely talk politics in real life.

  7. I work in an industry that is heavily Republican and definitely wants the Government to stay out of their business. However, the company I work for leans Democratic from the top down. It is a strange mix.

    Our neighborhood is also void of Clinton and Trump signs. There are a few, but not even close to normal presidential election years.

  8. I don’t talk politics at work. At home, I stay out of it too, because the aruguements tend to become heated. And whoever becomes President, it doesn’t matter, because my house thinks they can run the country and deal with those overseas never do wells, better than any President can.

  9. Seattle is overwhelmingly liberal. The following is from a September Seattle Times news story about a Seattle Republican developer who initially supported Trump but changed his mind after the pushback he received from family/friends:

    “Martin Selig, the Seattle billionaire real estate developer who last week emerged as a major fundraiser for Donald Trump, has disavowed his support for the Republican nominee.

    Selig told the Seattle Times yesterday that he had been “blinded” as a loyal Republican into supporting Trump. He added that he was surprised by the blowback he got when he emerged as a Trump supporter.

    “Do you know what it’s like being a Jewish Republican in Seattle?” Selig told the Times.”

  10. I wonder if ethnicity plays into the carpenter vs plumber thing. They also show gardener as being a Democratic occupation. I think gardeners tend to be Hispanic, so that might explain it. Are carpenters more likely to be black or Hispanic than plumbers?

  11. I think politics discussions are largely civil in person (it just seems to derail online). Maybe even more this year because no one likes either option so no one is really passionate either way.

  12. I am glad that Washington State has moved to a “top two” system for elections. In other words, the top two vote getters in the primary election move on to the general election. This provides a lot more choice in districts that are either overwhelmingly democratic or republican.

    Our long-term representative in the House of Representatives is retiring (Rep. Jim McDermott). Since his district is overwhelmingly democratic, under the old system, his replacement would have been chosen in the August primary – usually an election with low turnout. Now, the top two candidates (both democrats) are on the November ballot.

  13. Why are carpenters Democrats while plumbers are Republican?

    This is pure speculation but I can give two reasons why plumbers could be Republican. One, they are higher skilled workers. You must be licensed to be a plumber and thus you may have the attitude that hard work pays off. Now carpenters do have requirements, especially union ones, but you can enter the profession without tracking hours and can be in the profession without a license. Two, in general, plumbers make a higher salary and may want lower taxes and have the attitude that there are no free rides.

  14. Signs are beginning to appear for local races but Hilary or Trump signs are largely absent. In prior years there were definitely more signs for the Presidential candidates themselves.

  15. carpenter vs plumber thing

    The carpenters and plumbers I know tend to be self employed. Of course, I may be conflating carpenter with general contractor which might be an explanation. If carpenter generally signifies employee and plumber is correlated with self employed, that might be an explanation.

    In this region, gardener is very likely Hispanic, with a high correlation to (current euphemism for illegal alien), which also correlates with Democratic.

  16. I have been able to talk politics with certain very conservative co workers in the past, because we could keep it light and joky. This included a DBA who was convinced that we were about to enter the peak oil apocalypse, and another developer who is so conservative that now he is posting Jail Hillary memes on FB every day. But in person, we could do it. I think it was because in all cases, we were friends and really liked each other.

  17. In this election politics is completely avoided in social contexts. I used to have wonderful debates with Republican clients and colleagues – all in good humor.

    I have a dear friend who is a strong Trump supporter and not just because she despises Clinton. I live near New Hampshire and have a number of social acquaintances who vote low taxes, guns and nativist/anti immigration without qualification. One even has a Korean ex -wife and mixed race son. I am also made uncomfortable by finding myself in a gathering of supposedly like minded family and friends and hearing comments of the deplorables variety.

    Since this was introduced on the regular page I’ll make my general political comment here.

    I think that all of that fine tuning of Dem v Rep would disappear if there were a clear center right party in the US. If Trump/Bannon decide to establish a media platform and provide ground for a third party with a minimal government, authoritarian, white identity focus, especially if it goes true libertarian on social issues and views Christianity as a cultural marker rather than trying to satisfy the believers, it will be the best hope for the Republican party. It might take more than one election cycle if Clinton gets two terms, but the country will not want to elect another Democrat in the White House, the conservative religious will still have no place else to go but the GOP even if it is often insincere on litmus test issues, all of those middle class and UMC aging suburbanites can vote their centrist inclinations and everyone excluded from the nativist agenda will not be forced to vote Dem as an act of self preservation.

  18. One other thing I don’t understand – why are Catholic priests Republican? I guess it is due to abortion. But is that all it is?
    Working at a Catholic university, I have more and more decided that I just don’t get Catholics. At my university, besides the priests, many of the administrators and faculty are hardcore Catholic too. And they are all very liberal on a lot of issues. When it comes to poverty, and equality, and the role of capitalism, they are way to the LEFT of most of the Democratic party. And these are important issues to all of them. Social justice is in our mission statement, and we have to evaluate all of our programs every year on how we promote social justice. But I know most of these people, until this year, vote Republican. (this year, some of them have told me they just have to sit out). I guess the one issue simply overrides everything else.

  19. Wait, Meme, I am trying to parse this. Are you saying that ” If Trump/Bannon decide to establish a media platform and provide ground for a third party with a minimal government, authoritarian, white identity focus, especially if it goes true libertarian on social issues and views Christianity as a cultural marker rather than trying to satisfy the believers” is the center/right party, or is the center/right party something else that would oppose Trump/Bannon?

    Bloomberg put a good bit of money and effort into exploring a centrist run for the presidency but eventually decided not to, because every simulation they ran showed him dividing the vote so evenly that the election would go to the House, and the Republican nominee would be chosesn. Although Trump was not yet the nominee at that time, Bloomberg was already worried that he would be, and decided the risk was too great

  20. I also think that experiences within a profession may shape political beliefs – at least for physicians. Pediatricians (overwhelmingly democrats), may have a daily view of the world that is quite different from the radiologist. Most pediatricians are seeing 1/3-1/2 Medicaid patients and may have policy ideas based on what they think would reduce poverty, increase health, etc. Certainly they chose pediatrics for reasons that may correlate wtih politics, but daily psychologic wear and tear matters as well. Radiologists and Pediatricians certainly have different tax returns – and that may correlate with political leanings as well. Pediatricians often work part time and likely benefit from a number of “middle class” tax breaks – radiologist less so.

  21. I really liked Bloomberg. I was sad that he decided not to run based on the scenarios Mooshi mentioned.

  22. Unless my family is atypical, I think immigration reform where 1) being born in the US no longer makes you a citizen and 2) skill-based rather than family-based immigration priority are most important to the rural conservatives struggling with the effects of brain drain and immigrants with high social needs and limited employment skills. My PTA cousin works mostly with people who are being treated for arm/shoulder injuries from their work in the local meatpacking plant. She is proud that after a few months of work on her Spanish, some of them no longer request a translator.

    Iowa has had significant (for it) East Asian immigration and those immigrants fit right into the Midwestern culture. I suspect other states are similar.

  23. Mooshi – If someone believes that legalized abortion is a Holocaust level governmentally sanctioned murder epidemic, it is not hard to understand single issue voting or the constant state level efforts to make it very hard to get one.

  24. Of note, ER docs tend to be far more liberal than other ER staff, in every facility I have worked in. Even the republicans (even!) are right of center, and not right-wing. I was at work a few months ago, on a night shift, and realized I was the only one (of 4 staff) who did not have an AK-47 at home.

    I was also hearing about Trump today at work – how all his ideas are really great.

  25. MM, Our priest said that respect for life (being both pro-life and anti-euthanasia) remains a litmus test because if you don’t respect the dignity of the human person, you are not a true believer in (the church’s version of) social justice. He believes that both the candidates are repeating talking points but do not give a damn about improving the lot of anyone else.

    I’m not sure I agree with him generally, but I do agree that neither of this year’s candidates actually cares about the well being of the poor.

  26. How does the Catholic Church reconcile its position with capital punishment and, to a lesser extent, gun control?

  27. Meme, I can get that, but given that they are also very passionate about social justice, why are they not working harder at making a place for their beliefs within the Republican party then?Evangelical leaders are very dominant in the Republican party, but not Catholic priests. Maybe that is why I don’t get them – they don’t seem to have a clear home in either party, but also don’t seem to want to carve out a place in either party.

  28. The bay area is very left-leaning, so most people assume everyone is a Democrat. DH and I surprise people when we mention that we are Republicans; they sort of guffaw nervously and don’t know where to look.

    Every so often we encounter another republican, and we joke about secret handshakes, etc. because we seem to be so few and far between, but most people keep quiet about it if they are.

    When I check in to vote I sometimes have a few seconds to try to read the list of voters on my street (upside down), and I have seen another person on my block who is registered with the GOP, but I wasn’t able to see their name in time!

  29. “immigration reform where 1) being born in the US no longer makes you a citizen”

    I see your immigration reform and raise you the 13th Amendment.

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

  30. Mooshi – The alt right party would channel all the racist talk. It would attract some people who are not racist because of its small government views. It would attract some Christian believers even if it was libertarian on social issues. It would put up candidates that would win local races and likely caucus with Republicans.

    The Republican party could reframe itself as the party for the vast center of reasonable people and eschew the worst rhetoric and even discard a lot of the “dog whistles”. All those uneasy folks – people who are not white enough for the nativists, (which includes a lot of European origin people as well as those from the rest of the world), suburbanites who are not radical at all and favor lower taxes and less government interference, voters, often women, who prefer some compassion in their leaders – those folks are not comfortable in a center left party and will vote REP if they are not driven away. A side issue is that the Supreme Court after Clinton will be such that any conservative social planks in the Republican platform will not scare away voters whose social views are more liberal.

  31. The only person I know IRL who is definitely voting for Trump is my dad. He’s a single issue voter – the wall. He has almost always voted Libertarian in the past. My dad is a small business owner who has hired a lot of immigrants over the years legally (low skill labor) but also competes against illegal immigrants for jobs where they seriously undercut him on price due to not having to pay the taxes that a legal small business requires. There is no barrier to entry like plumbing or electricians (house painting).

    I suspect a lot of my Republican friends will bite the bullet and vote for Trump (even though they won’t admit it and likely don’t like it) because of the Supreme Court issue.

    I liked this article from six months ago about Trump supporters and sent it to my very left leaning youngest sister who is often condescendingly (in my opinion) berating my dad for his support of Trump.
    View story at Medium.com

  32. Meme – I don’t know if you had already posted about the potential VP’s look-a-like, but my sister texted me during the debate and said Pence is the twin of Race Bannon!

    Johnny Quest = best cartoon ever!!!

  33. My profession is pretty evenly split, which makes sense since it is something that people do in all kinds of industries and areas of the country. I would have to guess that my industry is heavily Democratic. I do not discuss politics at work, but I have heard plenty of executives bashing Trump.

    Our neighborhood still has more Bernie signs than anything else, and there are still lots of Obama magnets on cars. I can’t say that I’ve really seen any Hillary signs. I did see a Mark Kirk sign the other day though – that’s the only Republican sign that I’ve seen. The Republicans barely bother to run candidates for the local races.

  34. “I was at work a few months ago, on a night shift, and realized I was the only one (of 4 staff) who did not have an AK-47 at home.”

    AK-47 or AR-15? But either way, I remember from watching Alaska State Troopers that firearms are extremely prevalent there.

    Most of my coworkers are Republicans and far more conservative than I am. But I’ve had friendly conversations with some older black gentlemen who vote Democratic. One joked a while back that I was a decent person “for a Republican,” and another, a father of four, said that he likes neither of the options this year. He dislikes Trump more than Hillary, so he’ll vote for her, but his grown children are just not interested this time and will probably stay home.

  35. Apart from abortion, the Catholic Church doesn’t take positions on most political issues. The US bishops are fond of issuing papers on statements on issues such as climate change, or health care, or the economy, but these are not (thankfully) teachings on faith and morals that Catholics are bound to believe. The Church tells us that we must care for the poor, for example, but leaves to the prudential judgment of the laity the question whether refundable tax credits or a higher minimum wage will work better than increased welfare payments. Apart from reminding us that “thou shalt not kill,” the Church doesn’t have an official position on gun control. Capital punishment has long been regarded as within the right of a legitimate government to impose, but the Church teaches that, in a developed world with adequate means of safely incarcerating dangerous criminals, there are few situations that can justify the death penalty.

    In general, Catholics, especially those who self-define as Catholics but only casually practice their faith, have pretty much the same views on most issues as do other Americans. Most American Catholics are ill-formed in their faith (see Tim Kaine on the possibility of Catholic same-sex marriages) and don’t really know what the Church teaches on any given point. They can therefore be fooled into believing that the Democratic party platform mirrors Church social justice teachings. The truth is that Catholics are free to make their own decisions on issues such as minimum wage, environmental regulations, immigration reform, health coverage, gun control, etc.

  36. More on-topic, I am in an interesting position because I am largely left-leaning at a largely left-leaning firm whose clients are largely right-leaning (and in some cases to the right of Attila the Hun). So, yeah, um, we don’t talk politics a lot.

    I also don’t talk a lot with family about politics; my mom is a little to the left of me, my dad a little to the right, my in-laws quite a bit to the right. DH is probably somewhere between my dad and my in-laws; the works in an extremely conservative environment, so we both tend to “bring home” interesting conversations. I will say this election has engendered more family conversations than ever before — one brother is very much of the “they’re all a bunch of crooks” mindset, one uncle is very loudly pro-Trump, and my dad (the Reagan Republican) for the first time I can remember in my life has “come out” politically and is actively supporting Hillary, so there is a ton of FB chatter and IMs between everyone. Maybe this is our substitute fantasy football this year. :-)

  37. Yes, I am aware that most of the social issue beliefs of the Catholic clergy are not beliefs that Catholics must follow. In fact, that same distinction holds true in most evangelical Protestant churches, and yet evangelical leaders feel very much that they can influence Republican positions on all kinds of things. You said that ” The US bishops are fond of issuing papers on statements on issues such as climate change, or health care, or the economy,”. which I know to be true. If they care enough to issue position papers, you would think they would care enough to try to influence the Republican party on the kinds of issues that evangelical leaders already lobby for. To my eyes, it looks like they don’t see the Republican party as a real political home in the same way that evangelical leaders do.

    I realize it is because these are university people, but our Catholic priests, and even most of the lay Catholic administration, are really, really, really leftist – I mean Bernie Sanders territory and beyond. I guarantee you, if it weren’t for abortion and same sex marriage, they would be voting Bernie Sanders. I saw the same thing at the Catholic SLAC where DH used to teach (which was Jesuit, same order as the Pope)

  38. one of the interesting effects of this election is that it has made DH’s family far more Democrat. His immediate family – parents and sibs, were always union Democrats. His parents may have strayed to the Republican side a few times, but they were really centrist Democrats. His sibs, though, married into families that were more Republican,and for a while, we really couldn’t talk politics at extended family gatherings. But this year, with the exception of the Trumpian carpenter, they are all pretty vocally pro-Hillary. And a couple of the 30-something cousins, who proudly never voted, registered this year and announced it on Facebook, saying they had to stop Trump.

  39. WCE, I find that most/all legal immigrants that I know are anti-amnesty for illegal immigrants. They jumped through many hoops to get here and followed the rules every step of the way. They dislike the idea that people who break the law get rewarded/forgiven.

    I agree with LFB about the 13th amendment, but I favor your idea of a skills-based immigration system. Canada has such a system and it seems to work very well.

  40. Yes, I think that what you are seeing is the generally lefty loony atmosphere of a university campus rather than anything peculiar to Catholicism. The deeply conservative Catholics generally self-select out of academic careers.

  41. “if Clinton gets two terms”

    I’m skeptical that she will. She has a history of having things blow up in her face.

  42. We have talked before about problems facing women in tech. I’m looking for a book to give a 17 year old girl who says she wants to be an engineer. She would be the first woman in her family to be a professional. So a book on the juggle might work, or something like Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office (but for engineers) or maybe a biography or novel. I’ve come across this review, but without a physical copy of the book to flip through, I’m hesitant. https://bitchmedia.org/article/7-career-lessons-i-learned-women-tech

  43. LfB, I’m aware that removing birth citizenship will require a constitutional amendment- that’s why immigration reform is so tough. But unless we want to deport citizens-under-18 or break up families, I think it has to be done.

  44. SSM, are your elections non-partisan?

    Our county elections are similar. They are officially non-partisan, and the top two in the primaries go on to the general, unless the top one gets more than 50% of the primary vote.

    Unfortunately, in our last mayoral race, the top primary votegetter got close, but did not get 50%. A construction lobbyist then mounted a dirty tricks campaign against him, and the second-place candidate in the primary is now mayor, and under him our rail project is spiraling out of control.

  45. Really, only those families and their descendants who were here at the time of independence should get to keep their citizenship. All other should go back. Or if they want to work here, can only compete with a global group of possible candidates suitable for the job.

  46. @Mooshi – certain Catholic clergy in the home country and some students at Catholic universities practiced liberation theology. They some how got mixed up with violent Marxist rebels and a distant relative of mine was thrown in jail. This was not upon with favor by the rest of the community whose preference was to do good but stay out of politics. The said relative was lucky to have a wealthy enough family and connections that got him out of jail otherwise he would have been in there a while.

  47. OT – Scarlett mentioned a Grand Canyon thread…does anyone have a link? DW and I have an A-Z trip coming up to PHX. We’ve got a funeral in the Scottsdale area, and we’re all set for hotels there for two nights. But we’re staying five extra days with intentions to visit Sedona and maybe the Grand Canyon. I need help.

  48. I couldn’t find the article with the pretty picture, but this is why I think HRC will have two terms – http://qz.com/624346/america-loves-women-like-hillary-clinton-as-long-as-theyre-not-asking-for-a-promotion/

    We’ll like her once she’s in office. Also, the GOP will be in such shambles it won’t mount a decent defense in 4 years.

    @Milo – I think it was a -47, but I wouldn’t know the difference. They were home made guns. Also, this was not in the great white north, but in my major urban area – where HRC will win by a landslide. My point being that ER staff are outliers in terms of political affiliation.

  49. My current firm is (pleasantly to my surprise) more lefty than my previous firms. I think my boss is super-conservative in the old style of William F Buckley Jr. (old WASPy family) but we don’t talk about politics at work. Although at the firm parties, I note that my DH has a remarkable gift for (Mystique-like) morphing into the exact political beliefs of the person he is talking to, so he can find out who is liberal or conservative pretty quickly. I tend to just be quiet as I don’t have that talent. ;)

    Our old town was quite liberal with a strong one-issue contingent. Our new town is more mixed and I suspect it breaks out along class lines. All of our friends (and remember this is like 4 couples) are quite liberal.

    My parents are old-school Reagan Republicans and are appalled by Trump. My dad will vote for Hillary but my mom can’t stand her so who knows there. One of my siblings (who lives in the south, so that might be why) is pretty conservative despite taking advantage of government programs like small business loans, etc. My other sibling is lefty on social issues but libertarian on some random stuff.

  50. On the question about the women in tech career lessons, the Society of Women Engineers website would be a good place to look. From the link you sent, this quote sticks out to me. “Van Vlack suggests tacking on ten hours to every work week and considering this “nonoptional professional development time.”

    So on top of working ~45 hr/week and commuting, you need to spend another 10 hr/week to stay employed in tech. Or you could earn the same salary with way better job security and keep those 10 hr/week for hobbies and relationships by working in teaching or healthcare.

  51. Speaking of guns (I know it’s not 5pm yet), we are looking at getting licensed and joining a gun range around here. But apparently to do so you have to join the NRA (to join the range you have to join the gun club; to join the gun club you have to join the NRA). And I just. can’t. do. it. They are so politicized, and so far in the opposite direction of my own beliefs. So I’d like to own a damn gun and go out and have fun shooting it, but wow is that not a welcoming environment for folks of my ilk.

    Which leads me to the larger issue of how we appear to be self-segregating — I bet there are increasing correlations of people who do certain activities and have certain political beliefs. It’s the downside of majority rule — it can tend to shut out the minority. But the result is that people who aren’t as far to the right or the left on specific issues don’t feel like they “belong” any more and leave/don’t join, which sends the group even further in that direction. I’ve seen the same thing happen with the Chamber of Commerce-type organizations — they used to be sort of pro-business-but-fairly-middle-of-the-road-conservative, but it seems like they have bought in more and more to the right wing, and now I know a number of businesspeople who are really uncomfortable with the group that is supposed to represent them. (Yes, I recognize that my examples relate to groups veering more to the right — I am also confident the same thing is happening on the left; these are just the ones that I notice, since I feel like the “excluded” group here because of my own political leanings).

    I suspect this is also why it can be hard for groups to remain middle-of-the-road on anything.

  52. “And I just. can’t. do. it.”

    That’s how my mom feels about AARP. The hell with the discounts.

  53. Can you find another range?

    When DH was in college, he owned a gun, simply for the same kind of fun you are interested in. In his state at that time, you had to complete an NRA safety course to get licensed, which meant you had to join the NRA. Now, the NRA in those days was nothing like it is today, so he didn’t have a problem with the requirement. But now, he says he is embarassed that his name was ever associated with the NRA, and he says he would never consider getting a gun for target shooting if it meant he had to join the NRA. So yes, I think gun owning culture has gotten exclusionary in the same way that other innocuous activities, like the arts perhaps, have ended up excluding conservatives

  54. “I really liked Bloomberg. I was sad that he decided not to run”

    I think a lot of people wish that he were running.

  55. “But this year, with the exception of the Trumpian carpenter, they are all pretty vocally pro-Hillary.”

    Are they really pro-Hillary, or do they just really abhorred by the thought of Trump as POTUS?

  56. “So on top of working ~45 hr/week and commuting, you need to spend another 10 hr/week to stay employed in tech. Or you could earn the same salary with way better job security and keep those 10 hr/week for hobbies and relationships by working in teaching or healthcare.”

    Can you really earn an engineering salary as a teacher?

    Also, teachers’ stories and complaints suggest they spend a lot of time working, well beyond 45 hours/week.

  57. So when you talk about catholic and evangelicals, why the distinction? Catholics evangelize as hard if not harder.

  58. “The bay area is very left-leaning, so most people assume everyone is a Democrat.”

    Perhaps things have changed a lot, but I remember that a lot of Chinese people were Republican.

  59. @Mooshi — IDK the details (this was all conveyed by DH), but he portrayed it as a universal requirement across all the clubs, similar to your brother’s story.

    “So on top of working ~45 hr/week and commuting, you need to spend another 10 hr/week to stay employed in tech.”

    I would assume this is true for just about any professional career, at least those at that salary range (no one goes into law anticipating that one of the perks is a 40-hr week). My only complaint would be why this is detailed only on the Society of Women Engineers web page, as “true” $/hr salary is logically relevant to anyone considering that career path.

  60. WCE, do I sense some careerist’s remorse? This girl is smart–maybe not quite as smart as you, but good-chance-at-NMS smart. I don’t see why she should be steered towards traditionally feminine, care-giving job choices. Her mother, grandmother and aunts quit when they had children; before that, they held the positions you suggest for girls.

  61. Finn – a mix of partisan and non-partisan. City and County offices are non-partisan (with the exception of the County Prosecutor and there’s an initiative on the ballot to make it non-partisan). State and federal positions are partisan. The top two rule applies at all levels and to partisan and non-partisan positions. The only current elected official in a county-wide position here who is a Republican is the County Prosecutor – and I’m guessing that in any place other than Seattle (or San Francisco), he’d be considered a liberal democrat.

    ssk – my 80-something uncle is another Republican in SF. I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone who meets him though.

  62. Finn, in the last election, the percentage of Asian-Americans who voted Democrat was higher than for any other group except African-Americans. Asian-Americans have overwhelmingly gone to the Democrat side, mainly because of anti-immigration and nativist tendencies in the Republican party,which were already apparent when Romney ran

    I know a lot of Chinese-Americans, and they are all Democrats. And my Indian-American coworkers mainly supported Sanders. They tend to run pretty leftist

  63. Mooshi and WCE, thanks for your suggestions. I’ll get looking into them. MM, what do you mean by “something fun from O’Reilly”?

  64. O’Reily and Maker Media (which is owned by O’Reilly) are the chic publishers for geeky engineers. They have a lot of titles that appeal to teen techie types

  65. Milo – 5 days is plenty of time to do both Grand Canyon & Sedona with time for some hiking, and relaxing in both areas. Sedona is ~ midway between the PHX area and the south rim; it’s 5hrs from PHX to Grand Canyon. Near Sedona is Montezuma Castle (right off I-17), worth a stop.

    ask me more.

  66. Our long-term representative in the House of Representatives is retiring (Rep. Jim McDermott). Since his district is overwhelmingly democratic, under the old system, his replacement would have been chosen in the August primary – usually an election with low turnout. Now, the top two candidates (both democrats) are on the November ballot.

    I know the guy who was the Republican candidate against McDermott twice. I think he got 8%.

  67. By evangelical, I meant evangelical Protestant, which is just a lot to type. They are very different culturally from the many Catholics I know in this area. Traditionally, evangelical Protestants didn’t even like Catholics. My college boyfriend, who was Catholic from Italy, remembers being told by one evangelical youth group that he was going to hell because he was Catholic

  68. Looking for book recs,

    If it weren’t so expensive, you could consider “Making Time,” a biography of Lillian Gilbreth (the mother in the Cheaper by the Dozen book). She was a true pioneering female engineer, and a master juggler with 12 kids. I loved those books, and am tempted to look for this book on abe to read myself.

    https://www.amazon.com/Making-Time-Lillian-Gilbreth-Cheaper/dp/1555536123/ref=pd_sbs_14_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=ZP42CZ0736HZ414AGV8W

  69. SSM, thanks for the clarification.

    I really like the non-partisan county elections. I wish our state and federal office elections were similarly non-partisan. I think partisan elections have contributed to the polarization of Congress.

    I also wish we only had a single election, e.g., MVP-type voting.

  70. Fred, Scarlett-

    Where should we stay at either place? Maybe Fri through Sunday in Sedona and then Monday, Monday night at GC, driving back to PHX Tuesday morning for an afternoon flight.

    DW tagged some VRBO listings (one-br) but I know nothing about the areas or what’s good. Hotels would be fine, too.

  71. Someone mentioned Reagan. He is the Republican icon, but if you look at his positions, he was not nearly conservative enough to get the nomination today.

  72. ssk – “Every so often we encounter another republican, and we joke about secret handshakes, etc. because we seem to be so few and far between, but most people keep quiet about it if they are.”
    – a couple of my high school friends were joking last time I visited home that maybe I could join their secret club. Their club turned out to be Democrats. They are 2 of a handful in the city where I grew up. Both texted me throughout the debate because there aren’t local friends they can talk to.

    I talk politics a lot at home. At work, only occasionally when my neighbor goes off on internet- based conspiracy theories. I can’t not dispute them. It’s not in my nature. I have made the mistake of posting something mildly political on FB (something well spoke by a Trump supporter, which I shared to point out to my friends who think that all Trump supporters have to be motivated by racism. ). It brought out the condescending crazy in a couple of people, so I won’t do that again.

  73. Milo,

    Last December we stayed in Williams, AZ, stayed at the Railway Hotel and took the train to the Grand Canyon. It was awesome. There were bank robbers on train and singing cowboys Williams has some great restaurants and is one of the models for Radiator Springs in Cars. I think your kids are the right age to have a blast. My teenagers had a lot of fun with it.

  74. Milo,
    When are you going?

    We made our reservations at least 6 weeks ahead, and pickings were slim in the areas near the GC. We ended up at a perfectly fine Best Western in Tusayan, with a perfectly awful overpriced restaurant. There was nothing available in the park itself, but Tusayan is just a few miles from the gate. There is really nothing much there but some hotels and truly awful restaurants (eat in the park food court instead if you stay there). We arrived mid-day Saturday and drove back to PHX mid-day Monday, which gave us one full day and two half days in the park. That was enough for us to get in two short (1-2 hrs) hikes below the rim and to walk a good chunk of the Rim Trail. With young kids, you might want more or less time, depending upon how much they enjoy scenery and walking.

  75. Since we seem to be generally talking, I have a question for the group.

    Thru Amex, we got an offer from Westin for 6 days/5 nites at their Maui condo-esque resort…not the hotel near the Hyatt & Marriott, but still on the Ka’anapali coast. I’m sure the quality/location will suit our needs. Anyway the price is $798 (=$160/night), good till July 2017 (June works for us), up to 4 people (we’d probably be 3), apparently there’s no catch like having to sit thru the timeshare presentation. Somehow seems to good to be true. I can pay $498 now and $300 when we pick our dates.

    Anybody ever bit on one of these offers, any location? (we also got one for the Hyatt timeshares in the same area, but it’s 2x and there’s definitely the timeshare experience to be had).

  76. Milo, wasn’t there recently some Grand Canyon discussion based on your post about an RV trip?

    Grand Canyon, especially the South Rim, can be done as a day trip from Phoenix; I’ve done it. It’s an even easier day trip from Sedona. For a short trip based in PHX, I suggest the South Rim. You can visit the North Rim later as part of your loop originating in CO.

    That said, if you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon before, I suggest at least a night there, preferably two, to give yourself a full day there, allowing you time to hike into the canyon, and least part of the way down.

  77. It isn’t really engineering, but if the girl is interested in computer science I would recommend a book called The Eight, by Katherine Neville. It is set in the 1970’s and the 18th century, and the heroine in modern times is a computer expert. It involves an ancient chess set of Charlemagne’s, and while it is romantic historical fiction, the main characters are female, smart and tech-ish.

    Finn – I am not sure about Chinese-American voters. They may be Republicans but you wouldn’t know because there are no Republican officials in office here, so there aren’t any campaign signs to look for. I would say that there are a lot of moderate Democrats (our version of Republicans) judging by the signs they have in their homes and businesses.

  78. MBT – exactly! They feel isolated, and it is nice to have someone to talk to every so often where they won’t get into an argument.

  79. My neighborhood of the aforementioned Bernie signs is 20% Asian (both South and East). The Bernie signs seem to cross all demographics near me. I guess we are an ultra liberal enclave, which is probably why I feel Moderate until I come here.

    Fred – are there blackout dates or limits on the # of people who can take advantage of the offer at one time?

    Is anyone else excited about the new Black Mirror episodes being released on Netflix?

  80. I’d stay at the El Tovar (the oldline historic hotel in the park) at Grand Canyon if you can get a room. Doing as Cordelia suggests will definitely work and the train experience will be different. You might like the Cedars “resort” in Sedona.

  81. “It isn’t really engineering, but if the girl is interested in computer science I would recommend a book called The Eight, by Katherine Neville.”

    I loved this book and highly recommend it. It seemed to be more about chess than comp sci, but still very good!

  82. Ivy,
    technically no blackout dates, but talking to the rep last night he clearly indicated, but wouldn’t come right out and say, that there were rooms offered for all dates but maybe not very many on some (e.g. between Christmas and New Years). For the Westin (studio condo) the limit is 2 adults and 2 kids under 18; for the Hyatt (2br suite) the limit is 4 people.

  83. ssk, keep in mind it’s been almost 20 years since I lived in that area, so I’m thinking back before that, to a time when there were moderate Republicans.

    A lot of Chinese were business owners, and many of them also didn’t have a lot of compassion for those reliant on government handouts.

  84. Mooshi, ssk, do you think that over the past 20 to 30 years or so, the Republican Party has become more of a white male party?

  85. @Fred – Hmmm…then I suppose it would depend how flexible you would able to be, or if you could block off a vacation well in advance & be reasonably assured that you could make it work. My biggest worry would be availability of dates.

  86. I have some career remorse. When I compare my pay and job (including benefits) to
    my same-age math teacher and elementary school principal friends, the pay is comparable for the hours. They make less during the first 10 years and have much better pensions and healthcare. My math teacher friend says that after the first ~5 years, the prep goes way down and she is a fast grader who gets that done during the school day. She is also the department head because she is such a good manager.

    When I entered engineering, I believed the lip-service about part-time and family-friendly options that haven’t materialized. I think it’s great that women have the professions open to them, but I think too much of the literature on women in science/engineering seeks to persuade women rather than to inform them about the pros and cons.

  87. High level professional success for either gender ties into the question of whether you want to have children, how much outsourcing you believe in/can afford and then either choosing a mate who will support your career ambitions or remaining single.

  88. “Someone mentioned Reagan. He is the Republican icon, but if you look at his positions, he was not nearly conservative enough to get the nomination today.”

    Neither JFK nor Bill Clinton were liberal enough for the Democratic nomination today.

    I hadn’t thought of the RV idea, probably because we’re not taking the kids. And I was just about to price it out when I remembered that I’ve already prepaid my discount rental car through Sixt.

    We’re going November 8 through 15.

  89. Another factor for her to consider is where she wants to live. Some careers are more geographically flexible than others. Healthcare and teaching are some of the most flexible. Nuclear engineering is one of the least flexible

  90. If you’re not taking the kids, I would think about staying longer in the Park. But we didn’t go to Sedona, so can’t compare them.

    We couldn’t even get a dinner reservation at El Tovar. They told us that people make them six months in advance. But after our 29,000 step day, we stopped in the cocktail lounge next door to the restaurant, sat on the deck (chillly but fine with a jacket) and had drinks and dinner from the bar menu, with a view of the canyon at sunset.

  91. I would want GC rim hotel rooms if they’re available, but even other hotels located within the park are desirable. It’s just easier logistically because you don’t have to deal with finding a parking spot, and easier to catch sunrise/sunset vistas.

    Scarlett, that Making Time bio is going on my reading list. I loved the Cheaper by the Dozen books, and I really had not remembered much about the mother.

  92. Bill CLinton was considered to be very conservative in his time. That was the appeal – after years of running leftist candidates and losing, Democrats decided to move to the center – and won.

  93. I would want GC rim hotel rooms if they’re available, but even other hotels located within the park are desirable.

    Yeah, we stayed at Yavapai Lodge, which is back from the ridge and the least-charming option, and it was just nice to be right in the park and not have to commute.

  94. I did not vote for Bill Clinton in the primary because he was too conservative. Ironically, Hillary was seen as a leftist then. Now, much of the Democrat base says she is really a Republican. She hasn’t particularly changed her views in that time. So the Democrat base did move left – but that isn’t a novel thing because the same thing happened in the 70’s.

  95. LfB’s comment about lawyers recognizing that it’s not a 40 hr/week job was a revelation to me. I attended a patent law meeting in college and immediately said, “That’s not for me” because it so clearly wasn’t a 40 hr/week job.

    There should be more career suggestions for people who are academically capable but not hard working.

  96. Scarlett – I think we stayed at that same Best Western. It was fine. We picked up a nice Jeep Tour in the McDonalds parking lot up the street. LOVE LOVE LOVE Sedona. Such great hiking. Off road tours, simply beautiful! Would go back there in a heart beat. Love the Grand Canyon too.

  97. Finn, yes the Republican party has become whiter and more male. I don’t think I am alone in thinking this.

    In 2012, my kids were still at a Chinese school that was mainly Taiwanese ancestry families that had been here many years and who were citizens. We were pretty active and knew lots of the families. I was suprised that everyone was planning to vote Democrat because I had always stereotyped Taiwanese-Americans as Republicans, kind of like Cubans. At one time they probably were. But I think a number of the changes in the Republican party drove them out -not just immigration policy or the feeling that they weren’t welcome. It was also the increased influence of evangelical conservative Protestants under Bush. While many of these families are Christian and go to church, their views are probably closer to your typical mainline Protestant – religion is more of a nice social activity than a hardcore belief. But immigration and nativism/rascism are huge for them too. I think immigration is even more of an issue for families whose ancestry is on the mainland. I don’t know if people realize this, but there are quite a few undocumented Chinese immigrants in the US.

  98. “Now, much of the Democrat base says she is really a Republican.”

    Well, she was a Goldwater Girl.

  99. “There should be more career suggestions for people who are academically capable but not hard working.”

    Seriously (although it may come out as snotty, I really don’t mean it that way)…what do you mean? e.g.:
    – academically capable…is that able to get any college (BA/BS) degree?
    – career…do you mean making at least ~$50/hour (roughly $100k/yr)?
    – not hard working…40hr/wk top stop?

    There are lots of people, maybe I’d put myself into that group currently, who have jobs like that (although I typically work >40hrs/wk, but rarely >50).

  100. “They make less during the first 10 years and have much better pensions and healthcare.”

    Were I choosing a profession now, I’d be wary of this. For years, local governments have kicked the can down the road, paying low salaries but promising good pensions and healthcare benefits, especially in retirement. But with many local governments (e.g., IL) having difficulties meeting such commitments, it’s likely that model will revisited in many locations.

    And it’s not just teaching. Locally, engineering jobs for the county and state similarly have low salaries relative to most other engineering jobs, but lucrative benefits.

  101. I am not going to put words into WCE’s mouth, but in an offline discussion about my Skidmore niece the aspiring math teacher she pointed out in her practical way that an 18 year old considering her future might make at the outset make a considered career or educational tradeoff based on a life plan that involves marriage, children, and a realization that she doesn’t have the ambition or interest in driving hard for professional advancement in a demanding field. I can attest that in the years while I was formulating my exit plan from the dependent housewife state (not necessarily the marriage – that came later) I wailed that why didn’t someone tell me to go to library or nursing school because then I would have steady manageable work. It eventually worked out.

    I have two unmarried daughters without children over 35, both my mom and I ended up supporting children solo, so I guess it is not just theory with me that I can’t really endorse encouraging a life plan that assumes a life partner.

  102. “There should be more career suggestions for people who are academically capable but not hard working.”

    With both of my employers, there have been places for engineers who just put in straight 40 hour weeks, and don’t get ranked as highly as others and thus don’t get paid as well. It seems to work well for everyone; after all, someone has to fill the bottom quartile.

  103. “someone has to fill the bottom quartile.”

    yes, but to be reasonably certain of a long career (or being able to choose when to switch employers / retire) the bottom quartile dwellers may still need to put in >50hrs in some jobs / industries.

  104. Milo, I’ve been to the GC South Rim numerous times, and usually camped. The campsites do put you, as HM says, in the park without a need to commute.

  105. Finn, the Bernie Branch of the Democratic party insists that Hillary is just George W Bush reincarnated. It astounds me. I went out to dinner in August with some friends and had to listen to the husband alternate between insisting that Hillary was going to be another Bush, and then telling me that professors and corporate lawyers were the elites ripping off the masses. Note: not only am I a professor, but his wife is a corporate lawyer. This was one dude who I did NOT want to argue politics with.

  106. I would not be choosing librarian if I wanted a stable, well paying job right now. The librarians I know, and I know a few, do not make much money, are subject to layoffs as budgets shrink and get stuck working longer hours than you might imagine, because the desk has to be covered, and that often means night hours, and filling in for part-time hourly workers who don’t show up

  107. From my current crop of coworkers, one guy who is very smart and very versatile got himself put in charge of special projects. He is married no kids and likes to travel.
    He works at a steady pace, has no interest in managing people, doesn’t travel if he can help it. He is very valuable to the group and will have a job even if others are let go. Over time, I think you have to find your niche that allows you to lead the life you want.

  108. So I just kind of jumped off of some of the suggestions and I have a reservation for Monday night at Thunderbird lodge on the South Rim. I made it over the phone bc the website was indicating availability everywhere on one screen, and then changing their tune once you clicked on the individual hotels.

  109. @Finn- our local government has been reducing pensions and benefits for new hires for years to address the pension/health care cost issues. The salaries have not gone up to compensate. It is a much different situation from even 10 years ago for new hires. That is less true for Police/Fire, but it is for State’s Attorneys, Accountants, etc.

    @WCE – I agree with Fred. What does “less work” mean? An abundance of PT options? Remote working? Time shifting? Steady, predictable schedule that works around school schedules and childcare options?

    And also – what does highly successful mean?

    Like Fred, I feel like there are plenty of jobs in lots of fields where a person can make around $100K and have some of the above, but that wouldn’t fit a Rhett definition of “highly successful” of course, but might fit the Rhett description of good “cost per unit effort” balance.

  110. Thunderbird had a king-sized bed. The other options would have us sleeping in separate beds like Lucy and Ricky.

  111. Finn, I don’t have a good answer for your questions. My main point is that a girl should go into science/engineering because she wants to and the trade-offs fit her personality and life goals, not because being an engineer is more prestigious than being a nurse practitioner.

    LfB’s comment also reminded me that I’m in a particularly tough decade- massive local layoffs killed the housing market for ~8 years making it hard to move if we wanted to, two parent deaths from cancer and 4 kids. I enjoyed engineering pre-kids and would have thought it a fine career choice if I hadn’t married/had kids. I also liked the variety in my 20’s. I worked basically 40-45 hr/week and that let me do a part-time M.S. in a good program during fall/winter when it rains, while leaving spring/summer free for travel and hiking, my effort to balance responsibility with gratification NOW.

    Mémé is largely right about career/family balance, but I’ve come to realize our perspectives are different. My grandfathers, uncles, father, brothers and husband are all responsible family men, and my worldview is strongly shaped by them. Her worldview was shaped by other men, and so she feels less comfortable relying on men than I do. Or maybe I’m putting words in her mouth. :)

    A few years ago, someone on this blog told me my single high school friends would be getting married and having babies around 40. At 40-42, that hasn’t happened yet. Close to half of my bright girlfriends are still single. I’m curious if the cultural/geographical bias I think exists on this blog is a significant factor. I think it is.

  112. “Like Fred, I feel like there are plenty of jobs in lots of fields where a person can make around $100K and have some of the above, but that wouldn’t fit a Rhett definition of “highly successful” of course, but might fit the Rhett description of good “cost per unit effort” balance.”

    You’ve also got to factor when you start making that salary, or nearly that salary, because as I’ve said before, based on time value, compounding, and progressive tax treatment, it can be very advantageous to trade a lower peak in favor of higher early pay.

    When my brother was pondering my Loop plans, and countering that he doesn’t foresee ever retiring, he offered a counterpoint, saying, “if you think about it, you’ve been working since you were 18” (incurring no student loans, investing s portion of my college fund, getting grad school paid for…) So for you to decide to retire at 50 or 55 is quite different from a lawyer (e.g. his wife) who didn’t earn anything until 26 or so and then began years of student loan repayment.

  113. WCE – one trend in the immigrant community to which I belong, is the smart women getting married but things not working out, so getting divorced but without kids. It is still easier for the guys to get remarried and have families after an early divorce but it is difficult for the women to move on in the same way.
    The older generation is petrified of their kids getting divorced.

  114. WCE, ITA, especially for girls and engineering. As I’ve posited here before, many girls are pushed into engineering, as opposed to choosing it because it really interested them.

    ITA with you on the geographic limitations of certain jobs as well.

  115. Milo, one of my friends is an instructor for an on-line graduate course in her field of science. She’s in her late 50’s. Her DH is retired and she has worked part-time for a long time. This job lets them be geographically and time-flexible without pulling all their living expenses from savings. I can see you doing something like that.

  116. Finn – yes, I think it has changed quite a bit over the last 20-30 years. I agree with you that probably a lot of small business owners are/were voting Republican/Moderate, but they just don’t advertise it.

  117. WCE – That is accurate. And all four of my kids are seeking balanced lives at this point, but the specifics differ in each case.

    I ordered a set of mugs from Etsy. Nasty Woman Bad Hombre. DH’s legal immigrant forebears weren’t murderers or of Latin origin, but they were Communists.

  118. I don’t think there is anything wrong with encouraging girls and boys to think about a career in the context of the kind of life they would like to have. My generation was encouraged to just completely go for it. I wish I had given some thought to that and if I could do it over I would do nursing both because of course now I know we are gonna need more of them but also because it is a career that has a lot of flexibility both in terms of times worked but also something that you can pursue to a high degree of compensation and success but also something that is challenging and meaningful that you can do within the context of a balanced life. I have a friend who is a Physical Therapist and once the kids went back to school she worked 3 days a week until 2:30 and now that they are older she is phasing in to more hours. Dermatology is very popular with women as well because of the reliable work hours, high compensation especially if you get into cosmetic stuff and something you can do a few days a week.

    I’m a democrat – DH jokes that he votes for our wallet and I vote for our souls. I used to be a Republican until the Evangelicals took over it and they got overly concerned with women’s bodies, who people love and scary religiosity. I am pro immigration but anti illegal immigration just based on fairness. I have family members who waited their turns and paid their money and I think it is unfair to “jump the line”. There are a lot of people living in horrible circumstances who would like to come here. You shouldn’t get a pass just because you happen to live close enough to walk in. I also get angry at people who go through the express lane with 13 items!

    Not voting for Hillary, voting against Trump which feels pretty lousy.

  119. “it is not just theory with me that I can’t really endorse encouraging a life plan that assumes a life partner.”

    I agree with this approach, even though, like WCE, the men in our families are mostly hardworking and responsible. But I think that every person should have the education/preparation to be able to support themselves and their other family members if necessary. Not just because a life partner may never materialize or may disappear, but because they sometimes get laid off or downsized, or want to start their own business, or develop health problems that limit their earning capacity. I know some parents who are fine with their daughters earning “consumption” college degrees or taking lame post-college jobs, because the young ladies are counting on early marriage and family. They would never encourage their sons to follow that path.

  120. I think all three of us (Scarlett, Meme and I) think that women should be able to support themselves and their family members. I have had the luxury of having four children and being able to devote time to them in part because I didn’t have student loans, started my first engineering internship at 17 and hit career-level-engineering salary by 25. Milo, Finn and I drew similar conclusions from engineering economics about the potential value of earnings early in life.

    Bummer about real interest rates the past decade.

  121. ITA with Scarlett @4:18. Life is uncertain. Protect yourself against the downside the best you can.

    My issue is *not* with the discussion above about whether engineering is an appropriate profession. It is our constantly framing whether it is a good profession *for girls* (indeed, given the extremely high level of devotion on this board to STEM careers, everyone here seems to agree wholeheartedly that it is an awesome path for boys).

    This is the kind of stuff that drives me crazy — we argue back and forth a few weeks ago about whether boy/girl choices are nature or nuture, and then we come back and debate whether girls should be engineers because, you know, family stuff. These are the types of ingrained assumptions and ways of speaking that build that cultural context that sends the message that women are primarily responsible for the family and men “help out” by periodically “babysitting” their kids (when it doesn’t interfere too much with their next promotion, of course). Women are not some separate species.

    *Everyone* should evaluate whether specific career choices are appropriate for them, given the kind of life they want to lead, what their career ambitions are, what their family goals are, where they can get hired, etc. etc. etc.

    Rant over.

  122. Well, I have more librarian friends than Mooshi, and I have a brighter view of the field than she does. But I’ll tell you what, when you’re 22 and you say you’re going to library school, you will get nothing but sneers and condescension. That’s why you ladies didn’t do it. “But…you’re smart! Why library school? You can be something better than that!” And you engineers, WCE and Finn, you all were the sneeriest. WCE, you wouldn’t have DREAMED of being something as retarded as “librarian” when you were 22. You were better than that.

    It’s not a bad gig. I didn’t stick with it, but people who do make $80K to $100K if they stay in larger urban areas and are willing to move around early in their careers to move up. If you get a university job and tenure, life can be pretty easy. A good public library job can be rewarding too. Just don’t get a part-time job in rural Kansas; you’ll be lucky to make $20.

  123. LfB, I have submitted a kind-of-related post for someday, so you can save comments if you’re busy, but how do you factor in the fact that it’s relatively easy for a career-oriented man to marry at any time in life (even, with a nod to Louise’s comment, after divorce) but half of my career-oriented high school girlfriends are still single?

    Should women just stay single even if they want to be married because of their commitment to professional equality? (No issue with women staying single because they want to personally.)

  124. meme with her smarts would likely have become a corporate or law librarian and they make plenty of money. not that public and academic librarians arent’ smart, but the bigger salaries are in big for-profit companies.

  125. RMS, she didn’t do it in large part because engineering offers a lot more scholarships than library science majors and she would have had to pay back her college loans on that salary.

  126. There are a lot fewer corporate librarian jobs than there used to be, but you’re the special librarian so I won’t argue with you. And almost all law librarians need J.D.s Also, (she said, trying to shake off her bitterness) library degrees can open a lot of doors to library-related work. That’s where I went after running screaming from teaching philosophy. I took some CS classes and wound up at a non-profit that worked with OCLC and we were sort of a hybrid of sales, support, and training, and our salaries were higher than librarians’. And if you work for EBSCO or Gale or one of those big publishers, you can make out okay. Or if you are pretty good with computers, you can work for one of the big library automation companies like Polaris. There are a lot of ways to go.

  127. “You’ve also got to factor when you start making that salary, or nearly that salary, because as I’ve said before, based on time value, compounding, and progressive tax treatment, it can be very advantageous to trade a lower peak in favor of higher early pay.”

    True. This is part of the reason that in retrospect, I am happy with my decision not to go to grad school/business school and to just have a BA which I got at 21 in 3.5 years. I turned 21 while I was doing an internship that paid pretty well for the area/age, and that is when I opened my first 401(k).

  128. Well, you don’t get an undergrad degree in librarianship. (Okay, I know ONE person who did. But I don’t think they’re offered at all anymore). An engineering BS with an MLS would open a lot of doors to academic science and engineering libraries.

  129. There were a couple girls I knew in HS who became librarians. In HS, they hung out at the library all the time; they quite obviously loved the library. I didn’t sneer at them; I was envious in a way because they knew exactly what they wanted to do in life.

    I didn’t intend to major in engineering; my initial plan was to double major in economics and accounting at an east coast school, and I fell into engineering because my mom didn’t want me going so far away, and my interest in music led me to some articles that piqued my interest in engineering as something to do before going to grad school for the econ/accounting MBA.

  130. ” It is our constantly framing whether it is a good profession *for girls*”

    +1000

    My HS friends thought I’d be a social worker or a teacher. If I’d listened to them I wouldn’t be a lawyer today.

    Things don’t change by themselves. We have to change them.

  131. There should be more career suggestions for people who are academically capable but not hard working.

    Nurse practitioner. My job is freaking awesome. Flexible hours. Low stress. Good pay.

  132. “*Everyone* should evaluate whether specific career choices are appropriate for them, given the kind of life they want to lead, what their career ambitions are, what their family goals are, where they can get hired, etc. etc. etc.”

    And because women bear and nurse babies, and have a more limited time frame in which they can become parents than do men, the evaluation for *most* women is necessarily going to be different from the evaluation for *most* men. The cultural context you mention does have some roots in biology.

  133. I do struggle with what to tell my DD. Prior to graduating college I was told to go for a career but then I got a nasty shock when arranged marriage proposals started coming up and my parents started wanting me to consider my personal life as well. They were definitely thinking of the biology Scarlett mentions. They assumed I could fit it all in and make it work somehow. They had the similar approach for my sibling but his timeline was a bit longer. In the end however, my sibling got married and had kids sooner than expected, so both of us followed a traditional route.

  134. I was at an event last weekend and politics came up. Many of us agreed that if Bloomberg came out this week or next saying “okay, I’ll do the job, write me in”, many of us would write him in! Then we listed a few others from both sides of the fence that would meet the same criteria. I think that both Trump and HRC would be one term and done or maybe I’m just hoping very hard!

  135. My SIL is a nurse but she really only practiced for a couple of years – now she does a desk nurse job and makes about $125K. She is the breadwinner in their family. I just asked my husband who they were voting for going back to the OP because I just realized we’ve never talked politics with them which seemed strange and apparently they’ve never voted.

    Louise – I was talking to my friend who is in the middle of a divorce a few weeks ago and she was saying how she thought her ex would find someone else pretty fast (he’s not that attractive but makes a lot of $) and she’d likely be younger. She was pretty matter of fact about the fact that it would probably take years for her (not that she is thinking about that right now). She kept her lower paying but prestigious job throughout the years and is very glad she did.

  136. Louise, my Dad and I have had some jocular conversations about the marriage market for him as a 70 year old widower.

  137. “my Dad and I have had some jocular conversations about the marriage market for him as a 70 year old widower.”
    If he can drive at night, women will be beating a path to his door.

  138. WCE – maybe we could start a different sort of matrimonial website for the untypical bride/groom. Those announcements will be the direct opposite of the NYTimes announcements.

  139. “If he can drive at night, women will be beating a path to his door.”

    LOL.

    There’s a guy a year younger than me who works for the same company as DW. He’s decent looking, well-educated from a HSS, good income, lives in Arlington. And we would talk with him and his wife, and usually have dinner with them at the Christmas parties, and we both wondered why the two of them ever got married. His wife was the epitome of shallow vanity (didn’t want kids because she saw how it made her sister “puffy…[actual shudder].” She had a series of interesting and low-paying jobs. We know he wanted or wants kids.

    Eventually they split up, and I’m not sure who was the initiator.

    I told DW that he wasn’t going to be single very long, although it’s been a little over a year now, and we haven’t heard anything.

  140. Denver Dad – can you please remind me of the school requirements for a nurse practitioner? You were an RN first then did the extra education, correct? What about if you go into college with that as your goal? Thanks!

  141. “I was talking to my friend who is in the middle of a divorce a few weeks ago and she was saying how she thought her ex would find someone else pretty fast (he’s not that attractive but makes a lot of $) and she’d likely be younger.”

    I have a sister whose husband left her after 25 years of marriage. My sister was basically okay with him leaving, but she was FURIOUS that he ran off with an older woman!

    (Another sister’s husband ran off with a guy from the Home Depot, but that’s another story.)

  142. PTM, you are making me want to hop a flight to Florida, crack open a beer and just listen (and I don’t like beer).

  143. My sister was basically okay with him leaving, but she was FURIOUS that he ran off with an older woman!

    I’ve seen that dynamic too. I guess if he leaves his wife for a younger woman, that just shows what kind of man he is, but if he leaves his wife for an older woman, that’s an insult!

  144. “Should women just stay single even if they want to be married because of their commitment to professional equality? (No issue with women staying single because they want to personally.)”

    Of course not. How do we get from my suggestion that we talk to both our daughters and our sons about appropriate careers in light of their desires for a family, all the way to “women need to stay single to make a political point”?

    Yes, timing of fertility is a biological issue for my daughter in a way that it is not for my son. And? I am not suggesting that we have to use exactly the same words to talk to both as some artificial equality. Just that we should talk to both our daughters and sons about how various career choices affect their desire for family — whether that means staying at home, marrying someone who wants to stay at home, both working in some variety, choosing more- or less-demanding careers, etc. Because I’ll be damned if my son grows up thinking that figuring out how to manage career and family is his wife’s problem because all of those “talks” are directed to his sister.

  145. WCE, the vast majority of my high school and college friends are married with kids, and some large number of them still have careers. (I haven’t done any kind of a survey, and it would take forever to do that even with FB, so take this as anectata.) Same for my sister’s friends (although same high school, same college, so there’s that.) I’d had the impression that most of your high school classmates were on a path toward marriage and children, and perhaps no paid employment, so I’m surprised to hear that so many of them never married. Or are you talking about a small fraction of your class?

  146. anecdata. Anectata is probably a word used when male statisticians engage in locker room talk.

  147. HM, it was surprisingly my very fit sister. The stately townhouse among the McMansions that are my family if the barn reference is worn out.

  148. Oh! You’re right HM, it wasn’t you. It was Anonymous– I don’t know whether the good one or the bad one. Sorry for the wrong attribution.

  149. Ssk, it’s a master’s degree after you have a bachelor’s in nursing. Most programs are 2 or 3 years. There has been a push to up it to a doctorate, and there are a lot of DNP programs around now, but those are an extra year or two and don’t gain you anything unless you want to teach. There’s no pay difference and they bill the same rates to insurance (which is why there’s no pay difference).

    There are some direct to NP programs that are five years and you get the BSN and MSN degrees. You can also do a regular BSN and then start an NP program pretty quickly. I started mine a year after I got my BSN.

    The key is to find the right job. A lot of practices expect a very high level of productivity – seeing 3 or 4 patients an hour. I average about 13-15 patients a day and my boss is very happy with that. I do have to take call occasionally, which does suck, but it’s only 2 or 3 days a month.

  150. LfB, I think we agree. I’ve already had to explain to my sons about how our family organization is different from that of many of our friends, because I work, so I’m already having those conversations with my sons.

    I thought you were arguing that, in order to achieve equality, we should just not tell women considering careers in engineering that even though 20% of engineering graduates are women, only 10% of practicing engineers are women, and women disproportionately leave the profession. If engineering IS an equally good career for men and women, would those statistics exist? In my experience, the #1 variable that distinguishes the leavers I know from the stayers is whether they are T (thinker) or F (feeler) on the Myers-Briggs. It’s pretty straightforward to get a master’s in teaching after an engineering degree and become a teacher so if someone is torn between teaching and engineering, engineering to teaching is easier than teaching to engineering, credential-wise.

    I was trying to make Rhett’s argument that we have to deal with the world as it is, not as we want it to be. (I borrowed that argument against an older, male religious professor acquaintance who was arguing for a more constrained set of appropriate job choices for women- women need to make choices as men DO behave, not as men OUGHT to behave.)

    HM, the girls in my high school class generally are employed (median education, community college degree/certificate). It’s mostly the top ~3% of the girls in my high school class and some math camp friends who form the subset with a single majority. All my high school girlfriends have, to my knowledge, moved out of state.

  151. Apropos of nothing — my goodness, have you ever tried to find English language juvenile / youth nonfiction about the Asuka period? Why couldn’t he have just picked someone from the Tokugawa period to do this project on?! (National History Day . . .) I think he’s going to have to use some dry adult sources and like it.

  152. We must be going to the Grand Canyon during a particularly dead time because El Tovar returned my voicemail last night and asked “when do you want a reservation?”

    “Six?”

    “Sure.”

    Finn – out of curiosity, I checked CruiseAmerica RV rental rates, and they’re very low. Next time.

  153. Wow. A weekday in November is probably less busy than a weekend in October. They told us that we could have 9:45.

  154. Scarlett/Milo – I had noticed that everthing was pretty empty in November till the week before Thanksgiving. Pre kids we did trips to the west coast, Disneyland, Paris – all the usual tourist spots had a few people (so not totally dead) but no lines at all. Now that we are on the school calendar no such luck.

  155. WCE- I don’t think you and LFB are agreeing. Using nationwide stats as info for our own children is not really appropriate. It really lowers girls’ expectations to say “other women have not stuck to it so it’s likely you won’t either.” How will we make progress that way? When I am invited to speak about my career to girls all I can do is tell my own story: I studied Math even though there were few girls, I married a man who understood my career is important too, I waited to have children until we were financially able to afford help. We invested in my career- went back for my MBA, paid childcare that exceeded my after tax pay in the early years, (since we didn’t have nearby family- due to moving for careers,) Husband did half of the “mind share” and physical child care tasks. We moved twice for his job and twice for my job. We made our fortunes and retired at 48😛

  156. Late August must also be a relatively slow time because we made hotel reservations about 6 weeks ahead with no problem, although we were not able to get a hotel on the rim. And we were able to have dinner at El Tovar at a decent time. I think it was midweek.

    WCE’s post on the male/female career paths will run this coming week, so stay tuned.

  157. PS. The other instructive lesson in my story, is that my husband was wildly successful in his career (much more than me.) WITHOUT a stay at home spouse like so many of his peers, and taking on half the family responsibilities. This is an example I hope my boys have really taken in.

  158. Louise, Indra had her mom living with her when her kids were younger and that allowed her to work with less guilt and have her mom and husband manage the day to day stuff. But it was harder than even her later comments make it sound (I worked for her for a while).

  159. @Mafalda – I love your last two posts.

    One thing that drives me bananas is when people do the math of childcare cost > wife’s OOP income as the one and only variable to consider when deciding whether or not the woman should leave the workforce. There are so many other variables both short and long-term. It happens IRL more than I would expect.

    While I think that boys AND girls should consider lifestyle when choosing a career, I also think it’s a little depressing to tell 17 year old girls not to even try something because in 10 years they will want to stay home with their babies.

    In the places that I have worked, I haven’t seen engineering as a job that would be particularly hard to juggle either, so I am always perplexed by WCE’s perspective here. I have seen it more as a generally low-travel, predictable schedule type of job. Not < 40 hours, but not BigLaw either. Certainly not like Audit, Consulting, Sales, Production, etc which require tons of unpredictable travel. But maybe it depends on the specialty & the specific company.

  160. I too loved Mafaldas posts! Thankfully we have many role models of women with kids who did not have to sacrifice either their careers or quality of family life. Unless you have a job that has you travel every week, I don’t see how whether you are an engineer or a librarian would matter that much. Now if you would rather go berry picking in the wild with your kids and spend the day making apple cobbler, then you have a completely different set of priorities and they are not suitable to most of the jobs, not just an engineering job only.

  161. I also think it’s a little depressing to tell 17 year old girls not to even try something because in 10 years they will want to stay home with their babies.

    I will await WCE’s post to comment on this, but I recall when girls were told that staying home with babies was the ultimate failure. Not all paths are right for everyone, and I would love to discuss how we all found, or didn’t find our right path and lessons to pass on to our children.

  162. Sky – very interesting that you worked for her and I would like to hear more. I know women with kids who had family available and one woman two levels above me had her aunt as nanny. The aunt took on everything a mother might do. Her husband had a low key job that enabled him to be home quite a bit. This lady kept her juggle under wraps – only much later did I find how she managed it all.

  163. I’ve posted a few times about the fact that I see more, and more young mothers in my neighborhood going back to work after they have babies. It is a shift that I’ve seen with my own eyes on the train platforms in the morning, and I see it when there are moms and dads dressed in business clothes and rushing to get to work after the early donut book fair mornings.

    I really don’t think it is an easier/harder to juggle than when I did this over a decade ago, but it does seem to more of a generational shift of thinking by these women that they want to combine work with a family. They don’t seem to see it as much as a black and white choice, and instead they seem to be muddling through with a patchwork of child care, and more help from their partners. This is highly visible at the elementary school bus stops in the morning when I am trapped behind the bus and I see at least 30% of the parents at the 8:20 AM pickup are dads. This barely happened at all when my DD started school.

    I have an indirect personal experience with Indra from an another perspective. A guy that worked for me had a wife in a very senior position at Pepsi. He was late all of the time, fully responsible for all handoffs with their nanny, and told us that he couldn’t travel due to his wife’s schedule. It impacted his career progression, AND it opened the eyes of my manager. My manager thought that just women were impacted by family issues until this guy joined our team. He didn’t believe that the women on his team were actually working from home when they worked remotely. My manager began to slowly change his mind, and became open to the idea that flexible arrangements were important after a second guy on our team asked for a flexible work arrangement.

  164. “I really don’t think it is an easier/harder to juggle than when I did this over a decade ago, but it does seem to more of a generational shift of thinking by these women that they want to combine work with a family.”

    I think it is easier in some ways now than when I did this more than two decades ago, primarily because of technology that enables parents to work remotely, either as needed in a crisis or as a regular schedule. BITD, we thought it was amazing that we could put the final touches on a document and then send it in to the office by pushing a button, but that was about as far as we could go. There was no way to access all of the files and documents and research resources that are part of a lawyer’s work unless you were physically in the office. I would definitely have considered remaining in the work force if I could have worked more effectively from home, but it just wasn’t possible.

  165. Scarlett – the technology part is true for me. When I started it was strictly office only but by the time I had my first child I could connect to the office in a crisis or work remotely. WFH on however was discouraged at that time. I really struggled at the time because the technology was available but attitudes still had to change. Over the years there has been a significant change in attitudes as well. Some of my colleagues both male and female have been able to move to different locations but keep their jobs because they can work from anywhere.

  166. Denver, 13 to 15 patients a day?!? What specialty is that in? And do you do lots of clean-up and prep work that is usually done for the MDs? Not criticizing, just trying to recall last tIme any sort of medical practitioner took over half an hour for anyone in my family. Even the shrink does 20 min slots back to back to back, unless they are new patients.

  167. OK, my perspective is as someone who knows LOTS of stay at home dads…. I personally think both boys and girls should get a realistic idea of the kinds of commitments required by different professions. A lot of men want jobs that allow them to coach their kids lacrosse or soccer teams, that allow them to take time to chaperone class trips (I was a chaperone for the 5th grade zoo trip,and was impressed that about a third of the chaperones were dads), or that let them leave the workforce for a time to parent their kids, and then get back in. For example, I have a friend who is an IT manager down South, who has set up his schedule so he leaves by 3 or 4 every day. Why? He has 4 kids, and he is seriously into stuff like scouting and pinebox derby. I think both boys and girls need to think about the fact that they might want geographic mobility, or the ability to slow down a little, or limit travel, or whatever else, when they think about careers.

  168. Also, there really is no one field called “engineering”. There is a collection of fields, linked by a common thought process. The different engineering fields lead to really different careers. Civil engineers are likely to travel a lot. Electrical engineers, not so much. My DH started his working life as a mechanical engineer at a defense contractor. He had very regular hours. Everyone he knew had enough free time to pursue major hobbies or to be a dad. His hobby, since he was young and had no family, was to play in rock bands. They travelled all over the local area and even made records. It was not hard for him to combine that level of time commitment with his engineering day job. So, it really depends on which field you choose.

  169. Mooshi, I agree with your comment about the variety of engineering fields. I read the article on tech and the time commitment required and assumed the person was considering an engineering career in tech. Tech culture is demanding.

    That ties into my agreement with Ivy, that many engineering careers don’t require unplanned travel and that our family is particularly subject to stupid corporate policies and geographic limitations that add to the schedule complexity. (Mr WCE can’t book his late-November trip to Europe till Nov 1 for quarterly finance reasons. This complicates Thanksgiving planning.).

    Mafalda, LfB and Kerry all worked hard in their 20’s. Mr WCE’s Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was 23 and the next 8 years included contingency planning (and all the associated replanning) around chemo, radiation and stem cell transplant plans in a major city along with associated financial commitments (like renting an apartment), where we helped a little. In response to your comments, I asked myself, “Why did working as much as the successful Totebag women always seem impossible to me, even pre-kids?”, that’s the answer I came up with. LfB, Mafalda and Kerry will all be able to pay for college for their kids and medical expenses even if (God forbid), terminal cancer strikes young.

    I agree that working remotely (and the attitude shift that has finally happened at my employer, unfortunately after my first three kids) is a huge boon to working parents. When I was pregnant with twins, I was told I could never work from home, I could not take unpaid leave for sick kids and I could not work part-time based on departmental policy. Part of the reason I’m re-employed is that those attitudes have shifted. The women whose kids are 5-15 years older than I am did not go through the young children during the massive layoffs associated with the recession. I can tell one of the older SWE PhD’s is bitter about how I was treated, since she gave flexibility to the husband of what is now the most senior woman onsite.

  170. “arguing for a more constrained set of appropriate job choices for women- women need to make choices as men DO behave, not as men OUGHT to behave.”

    I don’t think making choices based on how men DO behave necessarily requires that women have a more constrained set of choices. Women can simply recognize that reality and take it into account; some women may have abilities and circumstances to make certain career choices work in that reality that most others don’t, and it doesn’t make any sense to restrain their choices because others don’t have that option.

  171. “I haven’t seen engineering as a job that would be particularly hard to juggle either, so I am always perplexed by WCE’s perspective here.”

    IME, I haven’t seen the juggle as the reason most of the female engineers I’ve known who’ve left the profession have left. Most frequently it seems the reason is some combination of wanting to be a SAHM and not really liking engineering, or not really liking her particular job.

    “Civil engineers are likely to travel a lot. Electrical engineers, not so much.”

    IME again, there are a lot of different jobs within EE with widely varying amounts of travel, and within jobs, I’ve seen many choices on the amount of travel. I’ve known EEs who travel several times a month, and others who almost never travel.

    In my current job, there’s a lot of travel called for within my work group, but there are some who like to travel and take on the bulk of it, while there are others who prefer not to travel much and hardly travel at all, and I’ve had previous jobs that similarly had options.

  172. “LfB, Mafalda and Kerry will all be able to pay for college for their kids”

    Perhaps Kerry’s ability to pay for college for her kids will depend on whether she pays upwards of $80k/year, increasing at ~6%/year, to send her kids to private school.

  173. “I really struggled at the time because the technology was available but attitudes still had to change”

    That is true. Even in the early 90’s, there were several of us working part-time at my firm. The first part-time associate was actually a man, who had been a Supreme Court clerk and convinced the very skeptical partners to regard his 60% schedule in the same way as other attorneys who had a 40% time commitment to a single client. IMO, it would have taken longer for the firm to come around had a female associate made the first request. But those of us working part-time were most definitely on the “mommy track,” and the technology limits made it extremely difficult to stick to our MWF or MWTh schedules. Attitudes did not start to change until AFTER the technology enabled part-time attorneys to contribute in a meaningful way from home on their “off” days or hours. Now the firm has at least one partner who worked part-time for the better part of her career, until her youngest was nearly in college. That would have been unthinkable BITD, when the only female partner clearly felt that she needed to work harder than her male colleagues in order to be taken seriously. She had one child, who from all appearances was raised by a very competent nanny, and took a dim view of the part-time attorney thing.

  174. @ WCE – given the description of your circumstances and number of kids I am surprised that you continued to work. I know of only one woman with three kids who works but that is because her husband chooses to be in and out of the workforce, now completely out – so she doesn’t have an option. At one point she thought she’d take time off but it didn’t happen because her husband suddenly quit his job. There are two or three guys we know who decided to stop working Totebaggy jobs and let their wives be the income earners. The wives weren’t too pleased at the sudden unexpected unequal partnership. This is a scenario I want to tell my Kids about too

  175. Denver, 13 to 15 patients a day?!? What specialty is that in? And do you do lots of clean-up and prep work that is usually done for the MDs? Not criticizing, just trying to recall last tIme any sort of medical practitioner took over half an hour for anyone in my family. Even the shrink does 20 min slots back to back to back, unless they are new patients.

    I work for a geriatric practice seeing patients in skilled rehab, nursing homes, and assisted livings. We have some home patients as well. I can easily spend 45 minutes or an hour on a patient, besides face to face time, there’s talking to family and staff, reviewing charts, etc. At the other end, some patients are quick 5 minute visits. I don’t do many procedures – cleaning wax out of ears is about as deep as I go in that area.

    I make my own hours (I have set sites to go to each day) and there are no appointments (occasionally a family member will want to meet and I’ll set a time with them). I can start late if I need to or end early, or take a long lunch. If I’m tight on time, I can put off non-urgent visits until the next time I’m at the facility.

    I have the best boss in the world, and we have a great group of providers and office staff. And I’m getting paid quite a bit more than the average starting NP salary here. As I said, it’s freaking awesome.

  176. Louise, a little over 4 years after I was work force reduced, during which I edited ~4 hr/week from home to maintain an acceptable level of 401(k) contributions, I received a personal e-mail from a former colleague that they were looking for contract engineers. I interviewed and negotiated a rate almost double what they’d been advertising during the cost cutting years, when work had been outsourced and my subgroup had decreased from ~8-10 to 2 engineers. (Rate was not quite as good as former pay + benefits, but by working <30 hr/week, my benefits are heavily subsidized by Mr WCE.) Dozens of processes were down and no one had the time/bandwidth to know whether we could run them and make a quality product. So I started to untangle that knot on my schedule, working ~24 hr/week on a schedule that only necessitated 3 morning/week church preschool and 2 afternoons/week of a babysitter for childcare. Last year, the boys started all-day school and Mr WCE traveled ~13 weeks, so Baby WCE has a full-time childcare "slot" but we usually are able to keep her childcare time to ~24 hr/week, which is only slightly above our premarital target of ~20hr/week. When he's gone, I work during the school day.

    Mr WCE's aunt got a master's in tax so she had time for kids outside of January-April 15. She was my main "in family" example of making career/family work, though my cousins are doing it in parallel.

    I don't think my story is one to emulate, but it's an example of how much employment demand fluctuates in tech compared to, say, teaching or healthcare. If Mr WCE gets terminal cancer in 10 years, I think I'm employable and our family has a modest lifestyle.

  177. DD,
    With an aging population and pressures on physicians to minimize appointments, do you see a healthy demand going forward for NPs who specialize in geriatric medicine? And if you don’t mind sharing, what is the average NP starting salary? From your description, it does seem like a terrific opportunity.

  178. Scarlett, another great thing about being an NP is you don’t have to specialize. My degree and certification is for a family NP, which means means I can work with any population. If you are a pediatric or adult NP you can only work with those populations. But even within those, you can work in any specialty or just primary care. And in most states, NPs can work independently so you can open a practice in whatever specialty you want as long as it’s in the scope of your certification.

    With the aging population as you mentioned, geriatrics is booming and will continue to do so. My practice is growing like crazy, we have about 75 providers now and cover from Colorado Springs to Ft Collins.

    The data I found has average starting salaries for NPs in this area (not differentiated by speciality) around $70-75k. Derm is where the bug bucks are because of all the cosmetic procedures that patients pay cash for.

  179. “I was trying to make Rhett’s argument that we have to deal with the world as it is, not as we want it to be.”

    Ok, since there is apparently a post coming up, I will hold off for now, except to say that sometimes it is helpful to be just slightly clueless. If I had taken the natural WCE approach of fully researching my career options and making my decision based on the data, I would not be where I am now, because my current job — and indeed most of my career — didn’t exist when I was making those decisions. I went in completely blind and just sort of bulled my way through, because it didn’t occur to me that I couldn’t. And along the way the world changed and technology developed and I met the right people and suddenly there was a place for me.

    So I will advise my daughter not to look at where women have succeeded in the past, but to focus on where she wants to go in the future. Same as for my son.

    And, really, it’s not like picking the “right” job will provide an asshole-free path through life anyway.

  180. WCE, I think you need to cut yourself a break. Managing 4 kids, multiple family illnesses/death, a traveling spouse, and a part time career is quite a feat. I think you easily work 2x as hard as any of us do. Take care of yourself.

  181. DD, is your NP certification issued by a state or national group?
    And do your geriatric patients assume you are a doctor?

  182. Scarlett, the certifications are national (there are two governing bodies, you only need to be certified by one of them) and the licensing is at the state level.

    Yes, some patients think I’m a doctor, even though I make it clear that I am not. When I was a floor nurse I had the same issue. A lot of folks in that generation assume men are doctors and women are nurses.

  183. This one is good too:

    “Which brings us to where it gets really fun: Imagine your fiance signs on to your whole philosophical program, lives it with you and helps teach it to your kids — and your kids use their 800-square-foot compassionate-childhood experience to shape a firm belief in as much house as their borrowing power can wrangle them, because, with God as their witness, they’ll never bump into siblings again.”

    This is a column rerun; otherwise, it would seem that Carolyn Hax was reading one of our recent conversations.

  184. Reposting cause I was on the wrong page.

    Denver, sounds like you and I have opposite ideas on the fun parts of medicine. I’m glad you’re enjoying your position

  185. S&M, what do you think are the fun parts of medicine?

    Aside from all the benefits of my job that I’ve mentioned, I enjoy the work itself. I like building relationships with my patients. I like that I can spend time with them without having to rush through the visits. It’s not the most exciting medical work – it’s mostly management of chronic conditions and basic acute issues. And the patients and staff are happy to see me.

  186. Sort of a tangent to the cartoons/question above is a question some older Totebag relatives are facing in the home country. They have a mandatory retirement age so they have to retire from their jobs between 58 and 60. They still have a lot of energy but part time gigs are hard to come by and volunteer positions have not been satisfying. They have lived a life time of frugality so spending on travel or other fun items is alien to them. How to keep busy till age 80 at least and beyond is a vexing question.

  187. Louise, don’t they stay busy telling their kids how to run the house and raise the grandkids? :)

    DD,
    I am sure that your patients love to see you come in the door. Tagging along with my dad on appointments and hearing about those with MIL has given me a better appreciation for the skill and patience it takes to help older patients manage chronic conditions that can greatly impact their quality of life. And the time, as my dad’s doc calls him back at short intervals to adjust medication levels. Reading your posts has made me think that my dad might be much better served by an NP like you than his PCP who sees patients of all ages.

  188. Louise – We spent yesterday afternoon in the brisk Fall air on our boat with my parents. My dad told us that he’s decided to retire now, about two years earlier than he’d planned. This is recent, there’s no firm date yet, but it will happen before Christmas.

    He said he doesn’t want to get into the routine of sleeping late, having coffee, reading the paper, and then realizing it’s almost lunch time and nothing’s gotten done. So he wants to be up at 6 each morning with a plan for the day. So we’ll see. With two houses, there’s no shortage of things to do to keep busy.

    My mom plans to keep teaching “until they fire me.” That’s not happening any time soon, though, as they keep trying to give her more classes.

  189. He said he doesn’t want to get into the routine of sleeping late, having coffee, reading the paper, and then realizing it’s almost lunch time and nothing’s gotten done.

    Oh honey, he’ll learn to love it.

  190. Milo, if your mom is like others I know whose husbands retired a bit early only to follow them around the house all day suggesting improvements to household routines, she will ask them to increase her teaching load.

  191. “How to keep busy till age 80 at least and beyond is a vexing question.”

    Yeah, this is why my mom basically never intends to quit. :-) We were arguing last night, again: she is frustrated because her business partner won’t decide whether he is taking vacation the first week in January, so she doesn’t know if she’s working or will have time to go visit my stepsis/stepbro and go to FL. So I put on my “family first, just tell him you’re booking your own vacation then instead of waiting for him to decide for you.” Except I have completely misunderstood the situation: she would actually *prefer* to work that week and is hoping he decides *not* to take the vacation. She gets visceral pleasure traveling on someone else’s dime to the point that she’d rather do that than go vacation on her own dime.

    OTOH, my dad was more than happy to retire and go to very-part-time consulting around 60 and spend the rest of the time puttering around with his cacti, visiting with grandkids, spending far too many hours at the Y, and taking ridiculously energetic vacations.

    I am beginning to think the key to happiness is figuring out which category you fit in.

  192. “He said he doesn’t want to get into the routine of sleeping late, having coffee, reading the paper, and then realizing it’s almost lunch time and nothing’s gotten done.

    Oh honey, he’ll learn to love it.”

    I was going to say, sounds like my version of heaven, almost to a T (except for that coffee thing). :-)

  193. I can totally get behind that routine, but I imagine I’ll be out of the house around 8 having gotten up sans alarm, go to the gym, back home and showered around 10, then breakfast, coffee, newspaper, crossword (in pen). That takes me till around noon.

  194. “if your mom is like others I know whose husbands retired a bit early only to follow them around the house all day suggesting improvements to household routines, she will ask them to increase her teaching load.”

    It’s possible. The two factors that make it less likely are that neither is very particular about details, and they both have always had a distinct division of responsibilities.

    But when I asked my mom if she was going to quit teaching soon, my dad said that she can’t, since now they need the money.

  195. MIL told FIL, “I married you for better or for worse, but not for lunch.” He had lots of ideas about how she could be more efficient about everything, and she encouraged him to go to the office (his partner was holding down the fort) and pretend to be working.

  196. A lot depends on whether they are early to bed early to rise types or not. Since DH has a musician’s internal time clock, and I was a late to bed late to rise type until I had kids, it was easy to get back into that rhythm once I had no fixed office requirements. In winter I try to shift it earlier to take advantage of limited daylight. A dog who must be walked is often helpful both to retirees and work from home types in getting up, getting dressed and getting out. Or a morning tee time or bridge game. My sans alarm full wake up is usually 8:30.

    The biological/psychological internal constraint that gets older people up and out early is driving anywhere but a short familiar route at night. That can set in before 70.

  197. I meant to say, a dislike of driving anywhere at night. I might need another cup of coffee.

  198. My mom retired at age 50, when they moved across the country for my Dad’s job, and finding another job in a new city was entirely unappealing to her. It was a great set up. She was really able to get them settled in the new city, and used her extra time to get them plugged in, host dinners, etc. She really enjoyed it. She’s a very active and engaging person, and without kid or job responsibilities she really integrated them right into the fabric of life there.

    Unfortunately, my Dad then got retirement envy and retired 5 years later at age 57. That has been the absolute worst thing for them. They moved back to the east coast, and he has spent the last 10 years following her around with suggestions, as Scarlett says. It’s a miracle she hasn’t killed him.

  199. I’m 50 and I already dislike driving at night in the rain. The headlights, leaves and rain = not fun.

    I was surprised at how busy my father was when he retired because my stepmother was still working. He takes one or two classes at a local college in the city, plays golf, goes to the gym and plenty of doctor visits. He seems to have made a bunch of new friends in his building too because he was elected to his co-op board. My stepmother is retired now too, and they seem to have figured out a balance of joint and separate activities. She is in the city on different days taking other classes.

  200. My mom retired at age 50, when they moved across the country for my Dad’s job, and finding another job in a new city was entirely unappealing to her. It was a great set up. She was really able to get them settled in the new city, and used her extra time to get them plugged in, host dinners, etc. She really enjoyed it. She’s a very active and engaging person, and without kid or job responsibilities she really integrated them right into the fabric of life there.

    Unfortunately, my Dad then got retirement envy and retired 5 years later at age 57. That has been the absolute worst thing for them. They moved back to the east coast, and he has spent the last 10 years following her around with suggestions, as Scarlett says. It’s a miracle she hasn’t killed him.

    Lark (for some reason when I type my name into the name box, the post entirely disappears)

  201. S&M, originally I wanted to go into pediatric orthopedics, but there are only two practices in town and they prefer PAs because of the surgical training they get. I just fell into the geriatric thing because that’s where my nursing experience was.

    I spent a week at one of the pediatric orthopedic places when I was in school, and I know all practices have a big emphasis on billing, but I thought they were over the top. They will refuse to look at more than one issue during a visit because they can’t bill for two full visits on the same day. So if a patient has two problems, say they were skiing and hurt their knee and wrist, they will make them pick one and come back another day for the other one. I just couldn’t work like that.

  202. “My mom retired at age 50”

    Ah, one of the beneftis of children at a younger age.

    “plenty of doctor visits” That can be time consuming.

    Most of the retired people I’ve seen keep busy, but at a more relaxed pace than when they were working. Even the 80-something woman I know with limited mobility reads a lot, which I know would be a dreamy way to spend time for some on this board. I have enjoyed doing things I didn’t have time to do before. And I have shied away from concrete commitments, which hinders me to some degree and is something I hope to change soon.

  203. “I’m 50 and I already dislike driving at night in the rain.”

    I’ve disliked driving in heavy rain at night for as long as I’ve been driving.

    When the rain is heavy enough to create a layer of water over the road, lights reflect off the surface of the water, with very little light penetrating the water and reflecting off the lane markings, making the markings very difficult to see.

  204. DW and I took a day off last Friday, giving me a preview of what retirement would be like, and it looked good. The kids had school, so we still had to wake up early to get them out the door, but then we had a relaxing morning. I was on here while getting our bills paid and taking care of some other stuff, while DW was on her computer looking up stuff for the upgrades to our house she wants to do, and we’d just call out to each other when we saw something interesting.

    We had some errands we planned to do, but by the time we started thinking out getting out of the house, it was nearly 11, so we decided to have lunch first, then spent the early afternoon running errands. Then DW went to pick up the kids, I went to exercise then made dinner, and we were all able to sit down together for dinner.

  205. Finn,

    “Retirement” with kids at home is very different from retirement at the usual age, with grown kids and perhaps some medical issues that limit the ability to be out and about.
    You might not be able to hear your DW when she calls from the other room, either….. :)

  206. The kids had school, so we still had to wake up early to get them out the door, but then we had a relaxing morning. I was on here while getting our bills paid and taking care of some other stuff, while DW was on her computer looking up stuff for the upgrades to our house she wants to do, and we’d just call out to each other when we saw something interesting.

    We had some errands we planned to do, but by the time we started thinking out getting out of the house, it was nearly 11, so we decided to have lunch first, then spent the early afternoon running errands.

    Just be careful. *Too* much excitement isn’t good for anyone.

  207. “*Too* much excitement isn’t good for anyone.”

    Well, we did survive spending some time looking at toilets at Lowe’s.

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