How do we work? Data points from all over, please

It's been a few years since we did a post like this, so it seems like it's time for a new one.

What I want to get at, through your data points, is why we make the choices we make about work and careers. There's a popular misconception that women are stepping off the career track because they either don't have the fighting spirit (solved by leaning in), or because men are taking 24 cents out of our purses every night while we're asleep and we're too tired to stop them, or because women who work are radical militant hostile feminists and women who stay at home are new-wave feminists who only wear Converse and have tattoos of quotes from Catcher in the Rye on their necks and make their own almond milk.

In short, I think almost everything in the popular media about women/mothers working is full of crap and reduces us all. I'd like us to talk about what it's really like. Are we actually stepping off the career track? How many of our decisions are limited and how many are choice?

Please comment, whatever your work situation is and wherever you live. (Yes, being out of the paid work force is a "work situation.") Your data point helps us all.

Things that are germane to this discussion:

  • how many kids you have and how old they are
  • how old you are
  • where you live
  • how much childcare you need
  • how childcare works where you live (nannies, childcare centers, home-based childcare, etc.)
  • does it "make sense" for you to work in your chosen profession where you live and with the childcare you'd need?
  • whether you have a partner or not and what the partner's work situation is and how it intersects
  • if your child has another parent that isn't your partner, and how that intersects with finances and work and care
  • your education level, whether that limits you in your earning power, whether you are dealing with paying off loans for your education
  • "The Economy" (I put that in quotes because by now it sounds like saying "The Bogeyman")
  • how you feel about your work situation right now
  • how you feel about what you anticipate you'll be doing in five years (taking into account changing childcare needs)
  • anything else you feel is relevant to the conversation (only person of your ethnicity at your job, only woman on your street who works/stays home, first person in your family to earn a degree and how that pressure affects you, credit rating tanked by a divorce, just got a promotion, etc.)

Share as much or as little of that as you want. If you'd like to share your business without actually sharing your business with the whole internet, comment anonymously or under a pseudonym by putting www.fake.com in the box that asks for a URL.