Updated: Sep 7, 2019
I’ve always had a job – well, always since I was 11 when I built a summer carnival in my driveway. I charged admission and sold baked goods.
As a child and adolescent, when I imagined my future work self, I saw a teacher, changing kids’ lives. But truth be told, I never had aspirations for a career. I did know I really wanted to be a mom.
See, I grew up with two moms. One that stayed at home until my parents divorced, at which point she did what she had to do ... she got a job, and she succeeded. She taught me that you do whatever you have to to take care of your kids. I also have a stepmom who was a career woman with aspirations for more and more responsibility, recognition and the rewards that came with it. She taught me to be my own person, make my own money and never rely on a man. So far this has been very useful advice (but more about my love life another time).
They both rubbed off on me. I like nice things. And I don’t do anything half-ass. I work my butt off. And my kids come first. I guess I've done pretty well for myself at work.
I guess you could look at my 24 years in this industry and say I’ve had a career, and a successful one. Colleagues can count on me. They express their respect and talent for what I do. And, as my friend, Mary, so astutely pointed out, I thrive on words of encouragement. So when I make a client or my boss or a colleague happy, I feel like I’m winning at work. It keeps me going … and going and going.
It’s not so much that I don’t want to work. It’s just that if I’m going to be away from my family, I want my work to mean something, and I want to work with people I like. It’s how I got where I am now.
For the past seven years I’ve worked at an agency that I loved, mostly because I loved the people there. The owner is a dear friend. My then-boss is a great friend. The account managers – friends. My team and the new business folks – all incredible people who I value in my life. Sure, some of the work was fun, and the culture was great (I mean, you can’t be company meetings dressed as a pink hippo, being served Bloody Mary’s at 10 a.m.). But it was the agency business. There was no "off" button. And I needed some balance.
I agonized over leaving. But when I met the woman who is now my boss, and she told me that she’d never regretted a day of her 33-year career with this company because she knew she was contributing to a greater good, I was sold. And I have not been disappointed.
I’ve gone into this new role with a level head. I’ve set clear expectations about my work-life balance and the importance I place on my children. They are priority number one. Period. No questions asked. And when I leave at the end of each day, I feel like the work that I did might have made a difference in someone's life.
Here are the top five reasons I pounced on this opportunity when it came my way: 1.) It’s something I can feel good about talking about. Finally, I’m marketing something that helps people. 2.) It allows for a great work-life balance. 3.) I really admire my boss. 4.) I think my new co-workers could be lifelong friends (some already are). 5.) It gives me room to use my voice for things I really care about.
For too long, I’ve been putting off my dreams of writing children’s books and sharing my perspectives on growing up a girl and being a woman today. The confidence of two amazing women, Molly and Jenn, are giving me the courage to do it all.