If you read my last blog post, you will have deduced that I’m trying to specifically figure out how I feel about going back to work or, rather going back to *my* work.
I never planned to do the work that I do. I just fell into it. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t really know what I was good at. I suppose that’s how careers develop sometimes. Stabs in the dark. Trial and error.
And then there are the others, the ones planned out from day dot. Such as the future doctors, devoutly poring over specimen jars and medical texts, invested in a medical degree, because they know they want to become a doctor or work in the medical field. Or future world renowned chefs spending hours in the kitchen, cooking, tasting, testing, studying, hoping for their spot on Master Chef, to get a name for themselves, be snapped up for a lucrative apprenticeship and hopefully launch their stellar career. The list of mapped out vocations goes on and on.
Yet even amongst those holding their personalised map and compass, there are some who find that their true passion lies outside of their original blueprint. The challenge is to find the escape hatch and the timing to breakout from their predefined pathway, that moment when all the stars are aligned. I know people like that. Chances are you do too.
What we do for work or a career, after we become mothers, is not a new conundrum. Most of us will eventually return to work. However, what type of work isn’t always clear.
When I returned to my permanent job after my first child, I had a goal. My goal was to get pregnant and go on maternity leave again pretty quick. So I returned to work feeling energised expecting my stay to be short lived. I didn’t know if we would get pregnant. It took us almost four years to get pregnant the first time and that was with IVF. But I wasn’t going to mentally walk down that alternative path yet. The goal was clear. I’d reassess if, or when, it became clear I had to.
Fast forward almost two years to the day. This time, I haven’t returned to work with such a goal. I can’t see the door labelled “Exit”. I can’t even see the horizon this time. Instead I see my path stretching endlessly before me into a vanishing point which promises more of the same; never ending project cycle after project cycle after project cycle.
Each day I’ve made the trek up that red staircase, opened the frosted glass door, and trod the hallway to my desk, I’ve become more self-aware. I need to look at this daily journey anew. Why am I there? What am I achieving? Not just within the context of the job, but with my life, my family, my future? Why do I feel the way I do? What personal buttons is it pushing? What lessons can I learn? Ultimately, do I stay there? Do I go elsewhere? What new thing would I do? What do I want to do?
It’s starting to feel a little like a test. All those questions are my exam. Maybe the lessons I learn for myself will become invaluable lessons I teach my girls one day.
I’m not a risk taker so it’s natural I’m labouring over this. It’s the work in progress I believe I must do to get to the other side, wherever that may be.
Has your working life post-baby turned out as you’d planned? If you’ve not returned to work yet, do you know what your future work would look like? Or would it be a “work in progress” like mine?
I’m linking with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.