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Rise of the Female Breadwinners: Rachel Gonzales-Mata

Photo: Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons, License: N/A

Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons



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Rachel Gonzales-Mata

34; married
Children: sons, 16, 5, daughter, 14
Job title: Licensed Vocational Nurse/Nurse Care Technician; $50,000-$75,000;
Education: Licensed LVN and X-ray technician, attended San Antonio College and Our Lady of the Lake University

Where did you grow up?

Mostly on the South Side, Palo Alto College area. We moved to the West Side [during] my high school years. [I] stayed there ever since then.

How did you become the primary breadwinner?

My husband works for three non-profit organizations and he’s fully dedicated to that. Of course with non-profits, it doesn’t make that much money at all. So I felt like I needed to do something different.

Describe your job:

I was at the Nix Accepting Emergency Room for eight years and now I’m working with ante-partum, which is high-risk pregnancies, at St. Luke’s. Lots of bed rests but sometimes it can go bad pretty quickly, so you have to react pretty fast.

Is your job now the career you’d always thought you’d have?

In a way, yes, because I love humanity and taking care of people.

What’s your dream job?

Probably managing in the health industry … running either a unit or some type of medical clinic.

At what age do you expect to retire?

Probably until I can’t work no more. [laughs]

What’s your biggest financial worry?

My daughter, because she suffers from mental illness; supporting her as far as her medications, her copays, her doctors’ visits. Other than that, supporting my family, if I have to go back to school and learn more, then that’s what I’ll do.

Are you able to save money on your current salary?

We’re able to save money. It’ll fluctuate depending on the situation. If my daughter has a relapse, then a lot will go into that, of course. But we’re doing pretty good compared to what we used to way back when.

Has your career altered your personal life?

I believe it has, in a way … I guess because I’m mostly working all the time … Me and my husband, we fluctuate our schedules around the kids and also around us. He’ll work during the day and I’ll work at nighttime, so we’ll alternate the kid-sitting … I’ll see him in the morning, briefly, and then ‘OK, gotta go.’ … We’ll have our good days when we’re out with family, when we’re mutually off [of work]…. We mostly talk business or the kids, that’s our relationship. We usually work well with each other—we compromise—that’s what makes our relationship work. … Not every relationship’s perfect, but as far as us, we work it out.

Did your mother work when you were growing up?

I was raised by my father, a single parent—my mother wasn’t in my life—he raised three daughters. My father was military so he taught me to always be the backbone of the family if I have to.

Rise of SA’s Female Breadwinners
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