My dream is to have a full-time, 9 to 5 job. In an age of entrepreneurship, it is not often that people dream of going to work for someone else. But I do — and here’s why.
9 years ago, I gave birth to my special-needs daughter. She was born deaf, and with global developmental delays.
Though I was in college at the time, I knew that my life would never be the same. I went on to graduate from college, and for three months, I worked as a receptionist at a financial advising company. My take home pay was $300 per week, and I knew that I needed to do something different to provide a good life for myself and my daughter. Still, my work needed to be flexible, so I could care for her.
I moved to New York City to teach. Over the next decade, I taught at the elementary and early-childhood level, then obtained two master's degrees — one from Boston College and one from Yale. Because I didn’t go on for a doctoral degree like most of my colleagues, I needed to pivot into a different career.
I chose technology, and I did what most people wish they could do.
I learned WordPress and continued to grow a blog that I had launched in my graduate dorm room at Yale. Fast-forward another seven years, and I am now married, with three more children, a content portfolio of over 200 digital and print articles, but still have not worked full time. My daughter needs me still. I lack that consistency some people take for granted.
That full-time job is my dream, and it looks like this:
My alarm goes off at 6:00 am. I put on my suit, groom myself, and head out the door with my leather briefcase. I get in my car, take a deep breath, and turn on the jazz station. I pull out of my driveway and start my 20-minute commute. Where I work there is plenty of parking, and as I pull into the lot. I am usually one of the first people in the office. I have my own office, and my academic degrees are displayed on the wall. Pictures of my family line my desk, and my huge computer awaits me on my sleek modern desk. I check my calendar, complete my to-do list, and before I know it, it’s lunch time. I leave the office for a working lunch with a friend at a nearby restaurant. We laugh, catch up, and then I head back to work. As 5:00 pm nears, I log off my computer, turn off the lights to my office, and head home. When I arrive home, our caretaker tells me the highlights of the day. My husband soon follows, and I show, put on my robe, and play with my children. My job pays at least 6 figures, with benefits. It is normal. It is constant. It is not me running around, pulling together clips, struggling with childcare.
My dream of a full-time job has been hard to grasp since graduating college.
And though it feels light years away, and sometimes I question if it will ever happen, I am reminded of a poem by Langston Hughes: Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
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Eraina Davis-Ferguson is a creative nonfiction writer currently penning a memoir about raising a daughter with autism and deafness. Her story was featured in “The New Haven Register” She holds an M.Ed in Education and an MAR in Religion from Yale University. Learn more about her at erainaferguson.com.