Why I pressed the pause button on my career

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I recently put in my two weeks notice at work.

Just like that, I will be unemployed in a handful of days and I could not be more excited.

I’m a product manager for a company that plays in the well-being & healthcare space. It’s been a rewarding position both monetarily and developmentally and most people would categorize me as “lucky” to have flexible work hours, short commute, and a mission in which I genuinely believe.

Having a career has always been important to me and I never really considered taking a “time-out” until one day, in the far away future when I was sporting severe gray hair and moderate wrinkles. I am a planner by nature, and with some good decision making and blessings, my life has been a sequence of steps that have fallen into place. Pulling the plug on my career was a decision that I did not take lightly nor was “part of the plan”.

After having my older son almost 4 years ago, I was able to still find balance between career and home. We had a system that worked like a well-oiled machine. My kitchen sink was always empty, my laundry room was neat and tidy. I was able to conquer all the fun enrichment activities I wanted to do with my son, scrape up time to spend with my husband and friends, all the while excelling in my career. I became a master juggler. I would joke with my co-workers that I was trying to be “hot breakfast mom”. Maybe it was a silly fantasy but I always imagined making pancakes, even on a random Tuesday and we all would have breakfast together as a family before jetting off to work and school. Weekdays were not completely calm and collected but I was able to put pancakes in our bellies and that made me happy. All in all, I was able to accomplish a majority of my goals big and small. I was at peace.

Then came the arrival of my baby boy, upgrading us into a family of four. It is true what they say, my love wasn’t divided in half, but my heart doubled in size. What nobody told me is that the number of hours in the day would seem far less, my ability to focus would exponentially decline and I’d be left with guilt about all the things I wished to do but simply could not conquer. Making pancakes for the family on a Tuesday sounded like a joke. If I was able to shower and make it out of the house before 8:30am, that was a huge feat in and of itself.

I use to be a person who enjoyed each and every day but had fallen victim to always desperately awaiting Fridays just to catch my breath. I was finding less joy in every single day. I started to feel like multi-tasking was no longer something I was proud of, but rather something I dreaded. Being able to do one thing at a time, but enjoying it 100% became a rarity. I found that when I was at work, I had a running checklist in my mind of all the things that were sitting idle at home. I was always feeling behind. When I was at home, I was checking work email at nights to stay caught up so my projects didn’t slip. My life felt like a hundred meter dash with no finish line.

I felt like I was constantly fighting the clock and in feeling rushed, I was missing out on quality time with my kids. I was always hurrying them to the next thing in order to keep my own head above water. Rushing to school, rushing to swim class, rushing through dinner and then rushing them into bed. This is not how I wanted our days to be spent together. Often times, I was physically in their presence, but I was mentally somewhere else.

I needed to evolve and spearhead change. I needed to reflect on my purpose. I needed to do an inventory on how I was spending my time and what value it was bringing to my family. My most valuable and limited asset was time, and I needed to invest it carefully.

With every ounce of my being, I fought to keep up with everything; it turns out that there just is not enough time for everything. I realized that the trivial things such as putting pancakes in my family’s belly or being able to give my children undivided attention is what really matters to me. These trivial things add up to be in fact the big things. These are the things they will remember when they are grown.

I am fortunate that we are financially capable to even consider this leap and for that I am grateful. Once my husband and I realized this was financially doable, I was concerned about what indirect message I might be sending to my children and to some degree, even family and friends. I came to the conclusion that I’m not teaching my kids to give up when things get tough. I’m teaching them to prioritize what is most important to them. I’m teaching them about commitment and patience. I’m teaching them that there is a time and place for everything, and where there is determination and passion, there is success.  And there is no better time than right now to make a change.

Right now, I’m listening to my heart and it has a pretty good track record. I’m trusting it.

I’m doing what matters the most to me right now, in this very moment. A moment that will pass as quickly as it came. The future is unknown but one thing that I am certain of is my career can withstand a pause, but there’s no pause button on my quickly growing kids. And as cheesy as it sounds, I am excited to trade in my work badge for burp cloths and simply enjoy these little people that know me as mommy.

 

 

 

 

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