Freelancing has been a real journey of self-discovery and soul searching. Not least when I recently decided to find some more regular work by the time Bobble starts pre-school in September.
Cue a flurry of networking activity involving contacts, headhunters and Linkedin to get to grips with what was out there. Quite a lot as it happens and in my overly optimistic, go-getting nature, I assumed I could do anything.
But after engaging in some rigorous selection processes for what seemed like perfect jobs on paper and meeting some great people along the way, my heart was trying to tell me something.
Over this period my sleeping got all out of whack. I was waking up in the middle of the night calculating perspective commute times and the impact these would have on pre-school drop off routines and childcare costs. I was worrying about company cultures having experienced a pretty shit return to work after maternity leave which I wrote about in mother shame in the workplace. I was worrying about the expectations to work late in the office Vs working smarter from home. I was worrying that Bobble might resent me for working and yet I was also worrying that I might resent Bobble for ‘holding me back.’
Did I really want to go back to work? Yes. To a point.
The crux came when I got to the final stages of landing a permanent, full time role working alongside some lovely people within a new industry. I was excited, enthused and gearing up to make a final presentation to the board, when out of the blue, an email arrived that changed everything.
It was from a former colleague and friend offering me a 5-month contract working at my old company. In the second paragraph she mentioned flexible hours to accommodate childcare, clearly knowing this would press my buttons. I’d be reporting into someone who I respect and also have a laugh with and leading some high-profile campaigns. No first round screening calls, no interviews, no presentations, no chemistry meetings, she just wanted a straight ‘yes or no’ by the end of the week. I immediately stopped worrying, knowing that this was a gift. Thank you, Universe!
My heart was sending me some very clear messages, I just wasn’t listening. I found it hard to admit to myself that flexibility was deal-breaker in my recent job search knowing that it would close some doors, but that’s the point. I should never of gone knocking on those doors in the first place. I know this is a life stage and that I might well go back to full time corporate life, just not yet.
So I start on Monday, working 4 days a week. Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means an easy option but it’s the right option. The job will be full on and fast paced but it will be manageable because my boss trusts me to deliver in those 4 days and I will.
I am as driven as ever but that drive is currently being channelled towards making the right choices as a woman with a young child not a woman with a CV.
“Having it all” is simply a state of mind.