Monday, February 05, 2007

Co-workers


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.


I get invited to tea parties, for check-ups, puppet shows, and more. We spend time in her make-believe world and pretty much ignore the real one when we can. My schedule that I love to follow has been neglected (blogging is to blame more probably) and once in a while I don't even clean on Thursday like I am supposed to.

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.

9 comments:

Alpha DogMa said...

Another great post.

What a cutie Rosebud is.

Oooh, a tea party. I'd love to go to a tea party. In our house we mostly do construction work. Not nearly as fun, and the fashion accessories are really lacking.

I don't miss work either. We're making some sacrifices like you. Namely living in the north we're incomes are higher so that we can afford for me to be at home with the boys. The truth is that I don't even have the option to work here. Yes, my anthropology and english degree was kinda useless in the big city, but now up here it is completely worthless. I'm highly unemployable - fine by me!

I'm getting a taste of those nasty office poitics thanks to some volunteer work - and I'm thinking of chucking it all.

When Rosebud head to JK will you head back to some form of paid employment?

Jenifer G. said...

Eventually, yes. I do want to "go back to work" in some capacity but, probably not full-time right away.

My degree is a Geography/Urban Studies degree and while it doesn't scream marketing you would be surprised how many people I have met over the years in marketing with Geography degrees.

I think university taught me how to think, do research, question things, and even if I never work in my studied fields what I learned travels across many paths.

Highly unemployable...that made me laugh. That is exactly how I feel these days. Experience...sure I can multi task, I can eat pretend cake while talking on the phone and washing the dishes at the same time!

Maybe you could call your tea parties "picnics" it works for my godson. Put a large towel on the floor and maybe you could indulge a bit.

Take care up there in the wild west.

Melanie said...

It's a constant struggle for me...to work or not to work. I went back to school when my now 3 and a 1/2 year old was 5 months old so that I could teach. I figured then I could be a sahm for bigger chunks of time. Now I'm a teacher and it's working out fine, but still - I find myself crunching numbers, debating, wondering. I think no matter what a mommy does, she always wonders what it is she should do differently, better, more...ya know? I really enjoyed reading your post - it spoke to me.

SpeakEasy said...

I'm glad to read that it's all working out for you. I just returned to the office after my second paternity leave and there does appear to be something off, although I'm not sure what t is. I hope it gets better or I'll be in the same boat as you.

Time spent with the kiddies is always better than working anyways.

Mimi said...

I loved this -- it sounds like a pretty nice life you've carved out for yourself.

And hey: I tagged you for a meme over at my place ... come see.

NotSoSage said...

I've often said that we're both working because we couldn't afford it any other way, but I often wonder what we would do if either of us were let go...and whether it would be the kick in the pants that would get one of us home. Sometimes I think it would be preferrable.

I'm in an office that is very divided and there is some really nasty stuff that goes on. It's no fun when a job can reach the point that it bothers you even after you've returned home.

Your days with Rosebud sound absolutely wonderful.

Good luck with the meme!

Her Bad Mother said...

I'm so much newer to this whole motherhood thing (this whole sahmotherhood - mostly - thing) but I soooo hear you.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy - for it IS fleeting.

metro mama said...

It's not always easy staying at home, but I'm so glad I decided to do it. You're right, it is humbling!

flutter said...

She's just lovely, this made my heart melt