I’ve never been what I’d call an ambitious person. I’ve always had very good work ethic and it’s always been important to me that I excel in whatever I do, but I’ve never really had much in the way of career goals, or desired to “work my way to the top.” As shameful as it can feel these days, I’ve always felt that I’d be 100% fine with being a homemaker. But then again…I’ve always hated my job. Until recently.
To be fair, I didn’t hate the position I worked directly before my current position (I was previously responding to written communication from customers at a large bank, and I’m now working in social media for the same company). The position provided a good deal of freedom and flexibility (which is probably number one on my list of priorities), but it was pretty unfulfilling and tedious. I wouldn’t say that I’m working my dream job now…honestly, I’m not 100% sure that exists for me…but I also don’t dread going to work in the morning. My current position still provides a huge amount of freedom and autonomy, but it also requires a good amount of creativity and forces me out of my professional comfort zone on a regular basis.
It’s a weird feeling for me not to detest my job. Ever since I decided I wanted a family, I had dreamed of the day when my husband (still feels weird to say that!) would earn enough money to allow me to stay home with our hypothetical children…but now, I can see a future in which I continue to work after starting a family (maybe part-time, maybe full), a future in which we can provide our children a lifetime of experiences I never had growing up, a future in which our family is able to travel and see the world. Or, who knows – if children aren’t in the cards for us, a future in which my husband and I embark on great adventures together. I’ve realized that I value time at home so much more when I’m out and about all day, and while I always imagined myself running around once we have kids, I think I’d probably go a little stir-crazy being a full-time stay-at-home mom. I know that the women I know who stay home pretty much unanimously say that being a stay-at-home mom is a way harder job then whatever they previously did was, and I believe it.
Not only do I not hate the actual work I do, but my company’s perks are so good that it’s almost literally impossible to leave. We get a crazy amount of paid time off each year (with the option to buy more during benefit enrollment), our 401K match is pretty great, we have an employee stock purchase program that comes with a 15% discount off of our company’s stock, and they just improved our already above average family leave program – women now get EIGHTEEN WEEKS fully paid maternity leave with the option to take additional time either unpaid or using saved paid time off, and men get eight weeks with the option to split the time however they choose (my husband works for the same company, so that’s major). We get free, 100% confidential career counseling by a third party company who will help you achieve your goals either within our company or elsewhere. My position allows me to work from home basically whenever I choose within reason, and I pretty much make my own schedule.
I don’t know what the future holds, but for now it feels great not to spend all of Sunday with a sense of dread knowing that I have to go back to a job that I hate on Monday. I don’t think I’ll ever be a workaholic, and work-life balance will probably always be the most important aspect of my career for me, but it feels pretty damn good not to be miserable with my career (or lack thereof). I guess what I intended this to be is a professional “it gets better.” If you work hard, stay positive, and maintain a good attitude, you can end up with a career that doesn’t make to want to cry every Sunday evening. Thumbs up.