Lately, I've been cutting back my hours at work for it to be more in line with the part-time job I originally signed up for. This resulted in an interesting conversation.
Coworker: "Can I ask you a question?"
Coworker: "I don't want you to be offended."
Me: "Oh my God. Just tell me the question."
Coworker: "Why would you want to work part-time?"
He wasn't trying to snark my decision, but was actually genuinely baffled. Why would I want to work 60% time and earn 60% of the money everyone else does? Many other people go in the opposite direction: picking up per diem work wherever they can get it. I know one guy who does per diem work both days of every weekend after working all week.
It was easier to justify to others working part-time when I had babies, although in some ways, I'd rather be part-time now. My kids are SO much more interesting now. And while daycare always ended at 6:30, school ends at 3, and I actually have a chance to be there when they come home from school. I can help them with homework instead of entrusting it to the afterschool program. I can go to girl scouts. I can actually be an involved parent.
And the other factor is we don't live large. I don't like to travel. I don't like to go to expensive restaurants or shows. I'm wearing the same winter coat I had in college. We have all the same furniture we bought a decade ago at a discount furniture shop. And we live this way not because we're depriving ourselves, but because I simply don't long for anything different. If I won the lottery, I don't know if my home would look that different. But I would work part-time. That's all I really want.
So if I can, why wouldn't I live like I won the lottery? Why make a bunch of money I have no interest in spending just for the sake of making money? We make plenty of money for the life that we live.
And going back to that conversation with my coworker, that was my answer:
"Why do you want to work so much?"