Econ-Mom: Earlier this year, a friend of mine asked me to join a committee that does humanitarian work. I was really honored and excited about this opportunity, so I said yes even though I fully realize that I am an over-committer and I’m always complaining that we are too busy. My role in the committee is mainly to read proposals and score them, so it’s not a huge time commitment and has been super interesting and rewarding — but honestly, even those few hours have been a challenge to fit into my schedule. And there’s one more thing: my friend also asked me for “thought leadership” around the issue of asylees and refugees. (I haven’t had much time at all to work on this, but how could I say no? I mean, thought leadership?! Anything sounds cool if you call it that. I should ask my husband for some “thought leadership” around meal planning, LOL.) Of course I was flattered, but I also felt like it was a chance to delve into the research world in a way that I had wanted to do with my PhD and hadn’t quite achieved.
So, when this same friend asked if I could attend a conference on refugee crises, my first reaction was “sign me up!” But then I looked at the logistics, and this conference is in GERMANY! And it’s in the middle of the week. So with travel time, I’d basically have to take a whole week off of work. I’m so tempted to try and make it work, but I don’t get a lot of vacation time at my job (which reminds me, I should write another post about how starting a new career when you have kids is bad because most jobs start at 2 weeks vacation which is nowhere close to enough time for anyone but especially not people with young kids).
I think I’m going to have to say no to this conference, because I would feel like a jerk if I used up all of my vacation time on this instead of spending it with my family. I’m trying to look on the bright side and be grateful that I get to be involved with this work at all, but I’m still kind of bummed out right now.