Hey all!! It’s been awhile and I have so much to tell you!
A couple weeks ago I made a huge decision that completely shifted the dynamic at home. I hung up my work-from-home comfy pants (complete with a rip in the rear) in exchange for (clean) jeans.
After 6 years working from home, I accepted a position back in an office. And it feels fantastic!
It’s funny. For many years, I longed for a flexible job where I could be at home as much as possible to watch and support my kids as they grow. In 2011, opportunity came knocking and I left my position in a corporate office in exchange for pretty much my dream job at the time – allowing me to be at home with my family while supporting a growing company. My daughter was 3 years old and I managed to work from home full-time with her by my side. I was able to meet my son at the bus stop after school. It was really perfect!
A few years later as both kids entered school full time, I moved on and began working freelance, and eventually starting up my own business doing what I loved doing – working in the social media space. This gave me even more flexibility since I was making my own hours – the ability to volunteer at the kids school, to attend more influencer/blogging/PR events, and meet a crazy number of super talented people. However with this there was a price as well. I was working 50-60 hour work-weeks, often well in to the night. I wasn’t sleeping enough, I wasn’t eating on any sort of schedule, and I was constantly worried about money (since freelance often means you have no idea when your clients are going to pay you). To add to that, we had a big move to another province and being in a new place meant having to introduce myself and my business to a new community.
About this time last year I was offered a position for one of those companies I had always dreamed of working with. My husband and I discussed it and decided it was really best for me to go back to some semblance of a schedule, plus they were going to allow me to work from home and I would still have time to keep some of my favourite clients. A win-win! I was still home when my kids got home for lunch or after school, and things were still fairly flexible – which was great as we were all navigating a new community, school, etc.
Then before Christmas, something happened inside me. I got this strange feeling that I wasn’t happy – but I couldn’t pinpoint what that was. I loved the company and the job. The kids were doing fantastic in their new school and were depending on me much less. Things were going well but I had this constant feeling like I needed something different.
One of the many perks of the company I work for is that they have professional coaches on staff that all employees are able to book time with. I decided it couldn’t hurt to talk to someone to see about getting some clarity on whether this was work-related. I won’t go into details but let’s just say that in those 30 minutes, I was able to open my eyes up to a few things I had not even considered. The biggest one being that some things about my work life that I thought I loved (working from home, flexibility) were more about serving my family and less about serving me. Which isn’t a bad thing at all! It’s what we parents do. But as the kids are growing up, relying on us less and less, I was starting to feel the novelty of my “dream job” wearing off, and with that the happiness it brought me.
One thing that might help explain is that I’m an ENFP. If you have never done the Myers-Briggs Personality test, I highly recommend it. It’s been a breakthrough for me learning more about what I truly need, and it’s also been a very positive thing for my marriage (although I will talk about that another time). Being the least extroverted-extrovert on the scale, I get my energy from others. Working from home for 6 years had drained a lot of that energy. I was going through the motions each day, kind of robotic. It worked for my family, therefor I didn’t see anything wrong with it.
With this realization, I decided to take a look at opportunities available for me outside the home. I started with the company I was working for – because I loved working there and I knew the company itself was not part of my problem. I found a job posting – something that screamed “PERFECT!” as I read it, but involved 9-5 hours working in an office and a daily commute of about 35-45 minutes each way. It look a lot of careful thought and discussions with my husband on how we could make it work – and once I got the thumbs up that it was doable, I applied! After two interviews, I was offered the position and very excitedly accepted!
It’s been a few weeks now and I am very happy. The kids are not too bothered by me not being home as much and have adapted well to the new routine. I’m working with amazing people every day, for a company that I am proud to be a part of, doing work that feels very meaningful. I thought I would miss working from home but I really don’t. I have more energy at the end of my day and I feel like my spirit has been lifted. I feel like ME again. And that’s an awesome feeling! 🙂