This past week I did something tough. I gave my notice at the company I’ve been with for the last seven years. I try not to write about work much and I’ve certainly neglected to write about all the interviewing I’ve been doing as of late, but I just can’t let this major life moment go by without writing something. When I began working here I was not married and was not yet a mom. I have worked here longer than anywhere else in my career. Several of the people I work with I have seen almost every weekday for the last seven years. I have seen them become wives and husbands and moms and dads. Together, we have been through layoffs and furloughs as the economy tanked. We’ve always stuck by each other. I’ve never felt like someone was gunning for me or for my job. I have always felt supported by my co-workers and consider them friends. I almost can’t even find the words. I am going to miss these people so much.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a flexible work schedule that allowed me to both drop off and pick up my girls everyday. My job has been relatively easy. I didn’t have to take work home often and never really had to travel or work late. I’ve been able to wear jeans and flip flops to work and I have loved having dogs in my office nearly everyday. I can walk to many restaurants, a library, a bank, a post office and a drug store. We’ve each been given one day a year to take off work to volunteer anywhere we want, as well as offered several group volunteer opportunities throughout the year. We have a keg in our kitchen for goodness sake!

So why should I leave such a place that is so comfortable where I am surrounded with people that I genuinely care about? Well, I am not challenged and I’m too comfortable. And that has been absolutely wonderful and great while I have small kids, but I am starting to feel like I can take on more. I can more fully fulfill my potential – if that doesn’t sound too cliché. I still think back to something that Katie posted about interviewing for and landing a new job while she was pregnant. I always felt like I couldn’t possibly find another job. Would I be able to juggle a new job and two small kids? How would I move to full time when I could barely manage the 32 hours a week I was working? Well, right now I have an amazing backup system in place (my parents are here from Florida!). The weather is beautiful, so hopefully there aren’t too many fevers on the horizon for my little family. I can do this! I can meet new people, I can learn new things and I can take on new challenges!

It’s been really interesting to go through the interview and hiring process. Sometimes as a mom, I feel like superwoman and I do have lots of supportive people telling me I’m doing a good job. But it’s much different to feel professionally successful and that you genuinely have the talent and experience needed for a job you want. I went through the entire process without mentioning my kids. I know it sounds silly, but it feels good to know that being a mom isn’t all that defines me. I take pride in my work ethic and I’m looking forward to taking pride in my new work.

What have your experiences been with taking on a new job or new job responsibilities with little ones? Did you thrive with the added challenge? Have you transitioned to working more hours since you originally went back to work from maternity leave? What tips might you have for someone who is about to lose some precious afternoon and evening hours at home to help the nighttime routine run smoothly?

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