Can I just say, I LOVE being able to "chat" with you all? Seriously.
Chris, you always get right to the heart of the matter. It's scary (in a really good way)
I've had the same conversations with myself about the PhD. In all honesty, I'm not going to use it for anything. I've taught college classes, and while I'm surprising a pretty good prof (my econ classes were always the first to fill up), I don't love teaching and can't imagine doing that everyday (a little on the side - good - everyday - not so good). It's not going to get me a big promotion. I started it because I was bored at my job then.
Now, time, on the other hand? I'm sure I'll waste some time. I feel like, to a certain extent, I'm wasting my life. I've cut back a lot (I used to average 70 hours a week). But, I want to do things like spend more time volunteering. I went to see my shut-in ladies today. A small box of chocolates (I know...) and a little time...they are so happy. More housekeeping during the week so that we can "play" on the weekend - hiking, camping, walking, etc. I do want kids...though we haven't been sucessful at that endeavor yet. I really want to be home with them, at least part time.
More money. If I could get my job upgraded (it really is an equity issue), then I'd use the money to pay off our house faster (which, if kids come in a year or two, would be really handy). We plan on paying it off in 2 years (though, realistically, it's going to be 3 years). I know a lot of people say it isn't the smartest thing to pay off your house, but: (i) we make too much money and don't get the full deduction anyway; and (ii) debt gives both DH and I the willies - we feel more secure without much debt. We're also really big savers. We're somewhat frugal. We only eat out 1x (maybe, if I'm traveling a lot, 2x) per month. I buy most of my clothes second hand or deeply discounted. My car is over 10 years old and has 110k on it. So, money is good, but we are not hurting and we would still be saving at a good rate.
I applied for the job. We shall see if I get an offer. I'll then go through all this drama again if that happens