One of the things I missed immediately not working in an office (besides the bathroom breaks, lunchtime shopping sprees, and the ability to drink a hot beverage without reheating it five times) were my co-workers. I made so many wonderful friends and leaving them was hard. However, leaving the petty, snide, and adolescent antics of some co-workers behind was easy. There is so much more I could say about this but, I won't. I have prided myself on not trash talking when I have so much fodder it would fill a book, it serves no purpose. The friends I have made are a still part of my life and while it is not quite the same, we still try to keep in touch regularly.
My job, while fulfilling in so many ways, clouded my head with office politics type of nonsense that when you are in the thick of it the only way to describe it is; suffocatingly real. Then, once it is no longer a part of your life you can look back and only wonder why you shed tears over such absurd situations office life can place you in. Between finishing university and when I became a work-at-home Mom I worked about nine years marketing. First, at a hip downtown agency and then moving "client side" when I realized it is a long commute from Brampton to Bay & Bloor everyday.
I "left" my job under the pretense of an up-coming restructure and was given a package. It was truthfully however, nothing more than a conflict of personalities. The boss who hand-picked me to take the job, personally asked me to be a part of her team, walked me to the boardroom to be "restructured." To be honest, most people assume I left my job, and most of the time I don't correct them. In a way, I did leave first. I was unhappy, and was already looking for something else, and I am sure they sensed that. I was never let-go from anything in my life, the feeling of not being in control is unnerving and I had not really experienced it before. I think I handled it fairly well, no drama, no tears, emptied my desk, filled my bags, walked to my car, called my husband while heading to my best friend's house for lunch.
Once the shock wore off I adjusted to life at home quite easily, I was only back at work about six months after my one year maternity leave with Rosebud, before I was let-go. In my heart I had always entertained the idea of staying at home but, never really considered it in earnest. It just wasn't something I thought was possible, what about the bills, our lifestyle, how do you manage? In addition, my job had the benefits and pension so leaving seemed impossible. When I look back now, I realize that while my worries were founded they were not impossible to hurdle. We are making this work, and even though we are in our very small house and are making do with less we are still extremely comfortable, the girls take lessons, we eat out occasionally, we took a holiday last year; life is extremely good.
I worked exactly two years between my maternity leaves and during that time there was always a nagging feeling that my time was being wasted. This is not to spark any debate about being a working in the home versus out of the home argument. For me personally, things were never quite right. My job was interesting and in many ways brought me satisfaction and the feeling of contributing to a greater good. Once Papoosie Girl came along though things really changed for me. I was struggling a bit (mentally and physically) towards the end of my pregnancy and ultimately left work before I was supposed to, about eight weeks ahead of my due date. It is like my body was telling me something and in the end even though she was due on January 27, 2001, she made her debut before the end of the year. This meant I missed the one year maternity leave (by about 50 hours my nurses calculated) which was a real letdown. I ended up taking eight months off, the last two without benefits.
Once back at my job, and after adjusting to the new routine I realized that I felt something was not quite right. Everyone assured me that this feeling would pass as I adjusted to the routine, the problem I was adjusted and it was not right. I was busting my butt for artificial deadlines and was being convinced it really was the end of the world if this newsletter mailed one day late; based on a schedule that was randomly selected to start with. I know I am smart and I know I made great contributions to my job but, the investment I was making felt misplaced. I wanted to invest in my daughter, I wanted to focus on a different job security, one that ensured she would still be talking to me in her teens.
My decision to remain at home (for now) is the right one for me. I don't think I would have ever made such a bold move and in some divine way this turned out exactly right. The inflated feeling that you can never be replaced is washed away awfully fast when you are humbled in such a way. It was good for me though, to experience this let-down. It taught me that at the end of the day, you need to know who you are, what you are capable of and understand that no one can ever take that from you. Jobs may come and go but, you remain the same competent person you always were. The funny thing is I rarely talk about how my job ended. It is like it transpired and then vanished. Life has gone on, and in a good way.
So back to my current co-worker of the last (almost) two years at my working-at-home job. Who wouldn't want a co-worker who replaces track pants for a tutu or apron once in a while? Now that Papoosie Girl is in school all day Rosebud and I have really started to enjoy our pal around time together. Leisurely strolls, breakfast at Tim Horton's some mornings, and just generally enjoying each other's company. Then I get to pick up Papoosie Girl from school and hear all about her day. I have friends who would do anything to be in my place, I try very hard to appreciate how lucky I am, all the while trying to prevent my brain from melting.
Rosebud goes to JK next year so I know the time for this is running out. I plan to get every ounce out of our time together before then. While the days are long the years really are short and I want this one to last forever.