Dear census authority/ formulator/nincompoop. Eight months ago, I quit my fairly ‘economically productive’ job as the deputy editor of this paper to take up an even more productive and challenging assignment as mother and house manager. The reason I did this, was because even though I interviewed several candidates and organisations for the same, was willing to pay them handsome salaries and offer them various perks and incentives, I figured that no one could do it as well as me. Perhaps they were not as emotionally qualified, masters of multi-tasking, had enough tenacity for the assignment or could withstand the hours and demands. So I decided to hire me instead.
But maybe I had an ominous feeling that someday, I might be classified as an ‘economically non-productive worker’ by your highness and clubbed along with beggars and prostitutes in the census, whether out of callousness or just sheer ignorance. So I announced I’m not doing this for free, and negotiated for a salary with the husband.
Now I had to take into account that the amount could not be more than what my employer (the husband) earned, although technically, when I computed my services, I realised I deserved to be paid more than him. I was managing home, finances, child, recreation and some. Do the math. But I still figured I should subsidise my services for the sake of the balance sheet and we agreed on an amount, which I have been suitably investing and watching grow.
The child is now thirteen months old, happy, and is in great health, physically and emotionally, doing the right things, getting the right nods and glances and generally making the parental units look good. The husband is also looking good fiscally (despite hiring me) and seems to have more mutual funds than friends in his kitty (not that the latter is a benchmark in a Facebook world).
I am now wondering if I should have defined my hours more clearly, as they are spilling out in all directions, sometimes making it difficult for me to even write this column. Should I, after an eight to six shift, start filing my nails unless I am offered suitable overtime? What should be the rate per hour? I know it sounds banal, but how will I increase my economic productivity levels if I don’t factor in everything?
I think it’s time for a raise, because I feel I need to extend my contract, as I still haven’t found someone as good as me for the job. I hope my husband’s employers are listening, because I can’t get a raise unless he gets one.
And should they decided to back-check with you, dear census authority, I have worked out my own appraisal (verified by the husband and the family) and can present my KRAs and other gory details for your perusal. I read somewhere that there is a demand to compute the value of services provided by homemakers and I would be happy to share my numbers.
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