Nowadays, considering tuition and student loans, what would you say is a single girl’s best shot for a job after she’s married? A teacher? A therapist? An office job?
B’chasdei Hashem, we are fortunate to live in a day and age where there are myriad options for young Jewish women who are entering the workforce and hoping to uphold not only their dignity, but a high bar of adherence to yiddishkeit. And, perhaps even more astoundingly, there are a great many job opportunities that will afford a woman a decent wage and will allow her the flexibility to devote herself to her family
– a demanding duality that is sadly, and often highly, underappreciated.
That being the case, I believe there are far too many variables – aside from cost of education – for me to earnestly assert that there is any kind of abecedarian occupational hierarchy which would purport that pursuing one particular profession has to the propensity to provide peerless potential for premium parnassah.
For instance, job markets can fluctuate greatly by location, and similarly, certain industries, while perhaps not as profitable as others, are more steady in nature, despite the temperaments of the economy. Additionally, an area of commerce could be a hot meal ticket in the present, but as it pullulates, it may become far less accessible by the time one has completed the requisite training. Regarding tuition, that can often be mitigated by many factors; among them, moving to attend a less expensive institution, or one that offers merit- or need-based scholarships. Furthermore, some individuals are of a constitution that they can cultivate a lucrative craft without having to endure any formal instruction. And, not least of all, no matter how wonderful a vocation might be in terms of remuneration, for most people, one’s disposition meaningfully impacts their employment capacity, and as such, one’s post must maintain some degree of appeal in order for one to retain both their position and their sanity.
Ergo, rather than chasing after a métier merely for its relative affordability to obtain a degree, or its perceived ease of earning potential, I think one must instead reflect upon some larger considerations.
What would I enjoy doing?
How long do I expect to work before my husband’s revenue countermands my requirement to procure the lion’s share of our living expenses?
Is it my plan to sustain a two-income household, or do I intend on marrying someone who will draw a salary that allows me to segue into a more leisurely trade, part-time work, or even to retire entirely?
Am I sufficiently insouciant to persist in a calling that I am not fond of, in order to reap the financial benefits? And if so, for how long?
How soon will I need to start receiving a paycheck, and accordingly, how many years can I dedicate to school or a certification?
How much money do I imagine I will need to net each year for the duration that I will be the primary breadwinner, and correspondingly, which pursuit will most plausibly and securely satisfy that number?
To be clear, the answers to such questions inherently call for assumptions about one’s future which may not play out even remotely as anticipated. Nonetheless, as a chelek of one’s hishtadlus, before committing to an enterprise, it is vital to make as educated a guess a possible about these matters. Consequently, expending a measure of mental and emotional energy mulling over these deliberations, among others, should reasonably aid one in ascertaining which career is most suited to their needs, and will most likely provide the proceeds that one needs, for the period that it is needed.
May the Nosein Michyah Lakol ensure that we all experience satisfaction in each of our innumerable endeavors, as He fulfills the hallowed words of Shlomo HaMelech, “es hakol usuh yufeh b’eito.”