Friday, January 11, 2013

Moving My Cheese

Working Woman.

My personal philosophies have always been pretty far from today's feminist movement, but I surely took the "man's world" bull by the horns right out of college, and I was making things happen for myself.  On my own accord, I loved my professional career; making decisions, being creative, managing a budget, traveling the country. It was empowering and exciting and fulfilling. And [in my own eyes at least] I was pretty good at it.

Being pregnant changed things a bit. Distractions, fatigue and pregnancy brain made it more difficult for me to execute my job responsibilities well AND take care of myself.

I cut back my hours when I was five months along. This helped with the personal stuff but made it even harder for me to feel like I was adequately contributing in a full-time paced work world.

After Penny came, maternity leave was, in a word -- sublime. I didn't turn my blackberry on once. Once I got past the whole recovering-from-a-C-Section thing, I spent my days hangin out with Penny, grocery shopping (what a concept), even started a scrapbook -- yeah, ask me how that's going now...

Motherhood Changes You.

Perhaps this is an age old question, but it's all new to me:  Does being a dedicated professional have to mean slacking in your motherhood?  And conversely, does being a solid, present, available, proactive mother have to mean slacking in your career?

I immediately struggled with this as soon as I went back to work this past October.  Rejoining the work force, I was a different person.  Living in parallel universes.

About once a week I meltdown.  I'm tired and I miss my daughter when I'm at work.  I'm tired and I'm overwhelmed with all the domestic things when I'm at home.   I know women do it every day, but I don't know how they do both things well.  Kudos to all of you out there.

I Needed Work to Change Too.

After admitting to myself that I couldn't go on like that anymore, in December I made a life-changing decision to move my own cheese (reference Who Moved My Cheese?, a wonderful book by Spencer Johnson, M.D. about attitude and accepting change as it comes).

I stepped out of my comfort zone, applied for a different job, and took it when it was offered to me.

The new job will be a complete change of pace.  I'll be working for the same company, but in a brand new role.  It will be slightly less hours, more flexibility and hopefully a little less stress.  With that, I am letting go of some things that I really loved doing, and abandoning the career path that I was on, at least for now.  But I am completely stoked about the new team that I am joining.  I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity.

This was my last week transitioning out of my old job: working with people I knew well and liked and growing in a role for the last seven and a half years.  You would think I would be sad, but the right-out-of-college woman has grown into someone new, and this is the right thing for her.   Come Monday, I start fresh.

Please wish me luck and keep me in your thoughts next week!

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