Tag Archives: work-life balance

Why I Left

Almost ten years ago, I worked at a pharmaceutical company. It wasn’t the dream job I had imagined when I was young, though it very much was a dream job for me during most of my tenure there.

I started off on the ground floor, taking a position at a lower level than I was working previously in order to get into the company. I had recently been laid off, yet another victim of sorts of the 9/11 tragedy. This company was growing and offered a lot of opportunity.

The company went into launch mode six months after I joined, hiring like crazy. I got a promotion, and several others in the next few years, with all the trappings of the so-called “American Dream”. I worked well outside of my job description and loved every minute of it.

It was heady and exciting to be a part of something that felt so significant. I was learning a lot, testing myself and developing new skills, and felt like I was tremendously valued and appreciated while being part of a family of sorts.

Then things changed.

I was now one of 2,000 employees. And worst of all, I got caught up in a political turf war and was uninvited to the launch meeting along with several of my peers. I was crushed. It was as if all the hard work and sacrifice were thrown in my face, and now that the rewards of my work were realized, I was no longer valued.

I was then given the task of doing the same thing in half the time with half the resources– not very inspiring.

I was making more money than I ever thought possible and working in a job that I formerly loved, however, my prior joy was now sucked out. I felt so insulted, and didn’t see the opportunity for growth that I previously enjoyed. After a rough weekend of soul searching, I determined my next step.

Credit to: Stephanie Staples, www.nursetogether.com

Credit to: Stephanie Staples, http://www.nursetogether.com

I resigned.

I was offered a lot more money, but that wasn’t really the point. I just didn’t feel it anymore and money wasn’t going to bring back the joy I once had. People were shocked when they found out I was quitting without a job, and I’ll admit that I felt a little smug about it.

I have never made the money I made while working at that company, nor have I enjoyed any job as much since. However, I’ve never once regretted my decision to leave when the job no longer served me. I’ve always felt that the $1,500 the company saved for my travel to that meeting wasn’t worth the insult to me, nor to my peers, who all left shortly after I did.

I may not find a job I am as passionate about, however, I will no longer sacrifice myself so much for any company. It was a painful lesson learned but a good one, and though I do continue to struggle with my work-life balance at times, thinking back to this time certainly puts things into perspective.

Time to Fill the Tank

Sometimes I need a time out to recharge my batteries. I tend to run full-speed ahead and end up exhausted and sick if I’m not careful. Usually I realize when I’m running my tank too low and need to refill.

Now is one of those times. Despite all of my protests and promises to myself, I’m working ridiculous hours again: over 60 a week, consistently for the last six weeks now. Enough is enough, so I decided to take a day off.

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I did tell my boss I was taking a “mental health” day, and decided to convince a friend of mine to do the same. We booked a massage deal at the Biltmore Hotel spa, where we enjoyed the amenities like the pools and hot tubs, bubbly and big fluffy robes. 

The hotel is an oasis in the desert, with several pools surrounded by plush vegetation with Imagegorgeous, brightly-colored flowers. There are little areas tucked off from the main pools with little water fountains that you can get some quiet time.

 

 

As I was pummeled and kneaded into happy, jello heaven, I realized that this was what I needed all along. To simply recognize that I needed to jump off the ride, even for a little bit, to take care of myself and get my energy back.

It was just what he doctor ordered, and now I feel relaxed, happy, refreshed and ready to start again to establish my work-life balance. 

I’m a believer that the universe sends you what you’re ready for, positive or challenging. Apparently I’m ready to work on my work-life boundary issue that has plagued me for most of my working life. I got smacked right in the face with it with my current job, only two months in. So, I’m going to challenge myself over the next month to do better and to stand by my decision to focus on my life outside of the work that I do to pay the bills. This may be my business (which is a passion of mine so not what I’d consider ‘work’), or my personal life and all of the great things that I do and enjoy. 

I know that I can do it. And I know that I have a tribe of followers and friends that will hold me accountable. Thank you! 

Checking the Closet

When I was a little girl, I was sure there was a monster living in my closet. It was safe in my room during the day as the monster was asleep, but at night, the closet door had to be completely shut or the monster would come out. My nighttime ritual was that my dad had to check inside the closet, then shut the door fully before letting me blow out the light. If the door was open even a crack, I couldn’t fall asleep.

ImageI launched my business last week, called Volto LLC. I created the concept almost three years ago and started the process of creating the business, but then I chickened out. I got scared by the ‘what ifs.’ You know, “What if I don’t succeed? What if I can’t get any clients? What if I can’t make any money and have to go back to a corporate job, embarrassed and a total failure. Everyone will know.” Instead, I took a corporate job and told myself it was the right thing to do, despite the irony.

A couple of months ago, I decided it was time to resurrect the Volto concept. The same thoughts and feelings of dissatisfaction with my corporate work experience that led me to create the business three years ago had never subsided, and the song grew louder inside of me. Freedom. When I consider my personal definition of freedom in this context, here is the list that I came up with:

I want the freedom to:

  • do work that I love
  • that offers mental challenge and creativity,
  • that ‘does good’ and helps people,
  • with people that I enjoy and respect
  • while maintaining a balance with other important needs in my life (my volunteering, travel, etc.)

My professional work at corporations gave me certain pieces of this list, but never all of them. Generally speaking, I was unable to maintain a work-life balance that I was happy with, and while I often did work that I enjoy which offered mental challenge and creativity, I often felt that it was missing “soul” in terms of helping people. My volunteering satisfied that requirement, though to fit that in to a level that felt right often meant squeezing my personal time with friends. Finding a balance that feels right has always been a challenge, so I it’s time to try something different. I’m ready.

With Volto, I will offer copywriting (strategic marketing writing) and marketing consulting, work that I have been doing in a corporate setting for years and enjoy. I will also offer career coaching, which I have been doing for friends and coworkers informally for years as well, rewriting resumes and preparing people for interviews and negotiations. This freelance business will allow me the opportunity to set a schedule that I want and work with people that I choose, helping them with their various writing and consulting needs. I will be able to decide whom I will work with, and will be able to choose the projects I will work on to ensure balance in my life. It’s my dream and will check off every item on my list.

I still have the same fears of failure, which have plagued me most of my life, leading me to follow a path of working at large corporations— what I thought I should do because it was safe and expected. But instead of sinking into the fear, I now ask myself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” My answer is that the worst thing that could happen is that I decide to not pursue this opportunity, my dream, because I’m scared, and spend the rest of my life thinking, “What if I had started that business?”

So, after taking a step back and giving it a lot of thought, my question now is “what have I got to lose?”