I never thought at seven-months pregnant I would be applying for a job, but that’s exactly what happened. I had been climbing the corporate ladder for most of my career, enjoying the financial freedom of a comfortable salary, and appreciating the boost to my resume. The only thing missing was having the work flexibility I so desperately craved, even before starting a family. I realized how much more efficient and productive (not to mention happy!) I was on the rare occasion I had the opportunity to work from home. Yet I felt stressed and anxious every time I had to request an extended lunch hour, time off for an appointment, or to leave early to make an evening commitment.
I started to resent the time I was spending in traffic… A 14-mile drive one-way could easily turn into an hour-and-a-half nightmare during rush hour. And I dreaded daylight savings time since the bright headlights I was staring into gave me a headache after being on the computer throughout the day. Despite all this, I seriously thought I would be one of those women who would just take several weeks off for maternity leave and be back up and running at work. Five months later, taking advantage of every family leave benefit I could (paid and unpaid), I returned to work. Luckily it was only for a short time until our division was spun out, and I opted leave the workforce and take advantage of being a stay at home mom.
But after a few months I realized I craved the balance of having a foot in the business door, so I started marketing consulting for small businesses. I also joined FlexJobs, a site that specializes in telecommuting and other flexible job options, to keep an eye out for job opportunities. I had a couple of interviews but none were a match. I didn’t get discouraged, and stayed confident since I knew jobs were being added every day.
When I was pregnant the second time around, I started to wind down my consulting, and was preparing for round two of motherhood. The job search was nowhere near my mind… Which is of course when I saw the perfect job listing—it was a telecommuting management role, and the job description and requirements seem to be written for me. I spent two days pouring my heart and soul into writing the cover letter, and off it went. In a nutshell: I got the job and started a week later! My head was spinning, but I could not pass up the opportunity for this dream job.
More than two years later, I am still in awe every day how much I appreciate the work flexibility and balance of life. I am able to do what I love, work with an amazing team of equally passionate colleagues, and continue to grow in my professional career with incredible mentors to help coach me along the way. I can wake up with my children, be involved in their schools and activities, be home to cook dinner, and—most of all—fit work around my life, not life around my work. There are some kinks along the way, but it’s a far better reality for me and my family than I had imagined possible.
My experience has inspired me to join 1 Million for Work Flexibility and fueled my passion to help make workplace flexibility more accessible for those who need it. I am eternally grateful for having a flexible job, because it’s been life-changing, both personally and professionally. I hope others will experience this as well.
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