Work in Progress – Pun Intended

Untitled by  Petr Jan Juračka

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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.

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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.

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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?

Related Posts

Cognitive Dissonance Four Weeks On

Out of my comfort zone

Home alone

Torn

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I’m linking with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.

I Blog on Tuesdays

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12 thoughts on “Work in Progress – Pun Intended

  1. I haven’t returned to work.. I am sure I will need to return to work within the next 2 years.. I am thinking if I don’t go back to uni/tafe and get some more qualifications I will be left to answer phones as a receptionist – rather than climbing the corporate ladder as I was doing before falling pregnant. Its hard as I moved countries when I was pregnant and my qualifications aren’t utilised as much in Perth as they are elsewhere in Australia. Plus being out of the workforce for more than 3 years plus no real qualifications to fall back on I feel it will be hard to find a job that I will truely enjoy. Although my Husband has told me that we won’t rush into the first job offer, we will hunt down the perfect job for me. Which is an encouraging sign.

    #teamIBOT

  2. My career (post children) has changed dramatically. I started out being happily ‘married to my job’ and I’m now self-employed and work from home. It’s taken a few years for things to settle down, but I can’t imagine going back to my old work life. It was crazy, hectic, 24/7 (late night international conference calls). Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED that at the time. Things change. My new work life is flexible and still fulfilling. Working from home presents its own problems, but I still love. Funny how things turn out.

  3. Mine is definitely a work in progress. I returned to a corporate job after my first child and despite having a renewed vigour and loved being able to catch up with friends, I still struggled. Childcare costs meant not much money was coming home with me and after one too many serious illnesses I decided to resign. I felt I was doing the company a disservice having to take so much time off to care for my son. I had enrolled in university so hopefully by the time I’ve finished both children will be in school and I will be able to find something more flexible. I hope you find what works for you, sometimes it just takes a little time for the answers to become clearer.

  4. Ah, Veronica…I hear you. I really do. My post-baby life has (and hasn’t) gone to plan. The plan to be a stay at home mum was always inviting. And after my the dilemma of my last corporate job, I thought that it was my calling. But now, I don’t think it is. I’m not sure if I want to return to the corporate world. But there are lots about it that I do miss. You’ve asked yourself a lot of questions there. All valid ones. But sometimes, those “What am I trying to achieve?” questions can end up with depressing answers. (Well, they do for me, anyway).

    I would just start off with the fundamentals…”What will actually make me happy and fulfilled ?” “What am I good at ?” “What are the aspects of my job now I currently enjoy ?”

    Even if you do start looking for a new job, you won’t necessarily be starting from scratch. You’ll have great skills and qualifications from your current one that are transferrable. Maybe you’ve been there so long now you can’t see them. But they’re there.

    The thing about changing career paths is that it might not be successful straight away. But as long as you’re heading towards the right direction, then you’re on to something, right ?

    I’m still trying to work myself around it all. But I’ve got faith that I’ll get there…

  5. Even though I’m a few years away yet (I’ll work once Ava is in school), I’m planning for it now. I want of write. Thats what I want to do, and I want to make money from it. I know that’s a lofty goal, but I’ve got three years to get myself organised, so I’m going my hardest.

    I hope you find your passion V. You deserve to do something you love. Xx

  6. I think for most of us, we “fell into” our jobs and careers. We went where the opportunity was. That’s not necessarily bad. If your gut is starting to question things, don’t ignore it. I tried to ignore my gut feelings after I had my DD. I forced myself into new jobs that I was not excited about, but were local so that it would be closer to home. I hated the new jobs – a bit part of the two I worked at were because I had really bad bosses. The other part, was that my heart was not into it. I could work hard and get the job done, but I was really unhappy inside. I eventually left and followed my instincts which was to take the leap of faith and pursue something I’ve always wanted to do – writing. I’m much poorer now, but so much happier and there’s no price for that!

  7. I can feel your questions. I can imagine that this new phase is a challenge for you. You are a beautiful work in progress. There is much you give to the world. I feel like I have found my passion (well I always had the passion) but it is a passion that doesn’t pay well (writing) – so I’ve never made a career out of it. I’m still hopeful that I can one day. I hope you find that thing you love too. And find a fulfilment in it.

  8. This is such a brilliant post Veronica and you make the dilemma of it all positive. I feel so lucky that I work in health and generally have a lot of flexibility to work part-time. I am working 12 hours a week at the moment, which is a nice balance, and it’s work that I always planned to do (social work) and I enjoy what I do (counselling and policy work). Good luck Veronica, I look forward to hearing what lessons you learn and share.

  9. Yes, nodding my head as I go along reading this post. There are times when I really want to just type in my resignation letter and just leave, while other times.. I think that I need to look at the “big picture”. I know this job is not for me. I have no future here and I’m just buying time. For what, I have not figured out yet. To transfer to another office? To look for another job? To be a full-time sahm?

    Sorry I haven’t answered your questions and just added some of my own. Hopefully one day I can tell you that I really did make a positive change in my worklife.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  10. Hey Veronica,
    I know I’ve already left a comment here on this post. But just wanted to know I’ve been thinking of you. Hope you feel better soon.
    Love,
    Grace x

  11. It’s hard that post baby work thing. I struggled for a while and finally found a rhythm now. I know I’m very lucky and I hope it continues to be like this. Right now, I can’t see myself going back to the office. I like my home office and freedom 🙂

  12. Pingback: A Reforming Workaholic « Mixed Gems

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