I am a 48-year-old widow (six years now) whose husband was killed on the job while working for the U.S. Forest Service in Yakutat, Alaska. Because our four daughters were (and three still are) minors at the time, I qualified for widow's death benefits, as well as workers' comp. I quit my job at the University of Alaska and over 20+ years of the corporate life to be a stay-at-home mom. While it had its perks, it also had its drawbacks in that I became very lonely.
I moved to a new town in 2009 to be closer to my ailing mother, who passed away on May 27th. I also just got my Bachelor's Degree in English. I decided to go back to work. I found a job as an Administrative Assistant for a local church, of which I am not a member. I agreed to part time, but I am working Monday-Friday 9-5 with an unpaid lunch. So I am working 35 hours a week. That's considered full time, isn't it? I stressed the importance of me being able to balance work and family, and they agreed, being a "family-oriented" church and all. My boss, the executive and family pastor, had me convinced that 35 hours a week was part time. The office manager was on vacation when I started and when she got back, she was surprised I was working these hours and stated that anything over 31 hours a week was considered full time. She then said that no one else in the church works those kind of hours!
Anyway, last week, I asked if I could work through my lunch hour and take off an hour early to get ready for my daughter's 13th birthday sleepover. My boss informed me that by law, they had to make me take a lunch. But in the next breath, he said he wasn't positive on that and to ask the office manager when she got back from vacation. I have worked many, many jobs as an administrative assistant and executive assistant. Never once have I been questioned on such things. I don't see the difference in whether I leave at 1 or 2 or 4, if I work through my lunch hour. It's still the same amount of hours, right? As it turned out, I only left 1/2 hour earlier than I wanted, but I sense that the whole "family" thing was a farce.
as a widow with minors at home, I qualified for widow's social
security death benefits. If I make X amount of dollars over the
qualifying limit, I lose my SS. I admit working full time is nice, too,
in that it is more pay. Part time, on the other hand, would not give
me the extra amenities, i.e., paid vacation, sick leave, etc. There are
pros and cons to both. One "con" I already saw last night was when my
10-year-old daughter hugged me and said, "I don't want you to go to work
tomorrow!" She has been so bored during the day without me home. It
really tugged on my heartstrings. She has had me home 24/7 for the last
six years as she was only four when her daddy died.
I am stuck in a bind. I don't know what to do. Your thoughts, please. Anybody have a similar story? Thank you.