Coasting. Good for skateboarders. Spring semester of Senior year. Not for your career. That is, unless you’re an overwhelmed, sleep deprived mom of three. In that case, a career set on auto pilot is not such a bad thing. Until it is.
When I re-entered the workforce after my most recent six-month maternity leave, I walked into my grey and poorly lit place of employment and thought…what the hell am I doing here?! This. Is. TERRIBLE. It wasn’t just that I missed my brown eyed baby girl. No, this was a strong sense of disillusionment. A feeling that I had entered an alternate reality filled with initiatives that never materialize and meaningless corporate speak. It physically hurt my head and my heart to be there, but I always stuck it out. After all, my job was a dream on paper: Good pay. Flexibility. A supportive boss. So much PTO that I didn’t keep track of how many days I used. A position a lot of moms I know would kill for.
The nagging feeling that is best described as “nothing-here-matters-I-am-wasting-my-time” that I felt my first day back in the office never left me. I wasn’t challenged. Opportunities evaporated before my eyes. Management changed. It was time I followed suit.
This job was so “good”. I was lucky to be in this position. It could be so much worse.
This was my cyclical thought process and the lies I told myself every morning on the drive into the office for longer than I would like to admit. The formula I, and so many people around me, had followed since college graduation – find a job and move up the ladder, make more money, repeat endlessly until retirement – no longer made any sense.
I wasn’t happy and the effort it took to pretend to care was exhausting. It was time for me to go. I plotted and explored and searched for something – a different path somewhere. Anywhere, but here. Come to find out, finding a gig that pays well, offers flexibility, and provides a challenging and motivating work environment – the trifecta for a working mom – is hard to find. Offers, that I would have loved to accept, were turned down because they lacked one piece of the puzzle or another. Those realizations crushed me. The one foot I had out the door instead remained firmly planted underneath the desk I wanted to repeatedly bang my head against and I had to muster the inspiration to start back at square one.
You guys, after a legit FOUR years of looking and 15 years of inertia working against me, I finally found it. Just when you couldn’t force me through the revolving doors for one more day, it all came together. The timing, the pay, the flexibility, the opportunities…they are all mine!!
I started my new job a few weeks ago and although being the new kid on the block is daunting at times, I am learning so much and collaborating on interesting projects every day. Almost four weeks in and I know I made the right move. On the home front, we are all adjusting to my new schedule, but mostly enjoying home cooked breakfasts and the extra time we have to breathe in the afternoons before lacrosse, soccer, baseball, ET CETERA. However, the biggest difference, after all is said and done, is the change I see in myself. I’m a more patient, attentive, and compassionate mom – a happier me.