So….I did it! I finally got out of my insane, constantly stressful, often thankless job in PR and found something a little more suited to my new role as a home-by-5 kinda wifey.
And I am loving absolutely every minute of it. It’s not to say that I’ve completely thrown all career ambitions to the wind, but as I embrace my slightly downsized role and lap up the switch from a PR consultancy to a small creative agency, I find I am certainly digging the visibly less stressed out and more chilled person staring back at me in the mirror.
Oh the joys….
- of leaving work where it belongs – at work!!! and using your laptop at home only for mind-numbing pursuits, like catching up on social networks or trolling the net.
- of not spending Sundays or weekday evenings with your tummy in knots wondering what curve balls the following day might hurl at you!
- of shutting down completely the minute you leave the office and knowing that tomorrow is another day, and the earth will not catastrophically spin off its axis if you don’t attend to some or other client crisis right now, this minute.
- of not having QT with the The Hubster rudely interrupted by 10pm client instructions regarding yet another ‘urgent’ task that you will dutifully undertake, only for your work to sit on said client’s desk for 2 weeks awaiting approval.
But best of all, no more weekend working, no more all night report writing, no more constantly feeling as if your triple flick flacks and general miracle working are never enough.
So what brought me to this point, where after 6 years I finally faced up to the fact that I was tired and run down and desperately wanting out?
Well, picture this: an already anxious bride in the week of her wedding. She’s at the end of her tether because it’s been a stressful year, with conferences and events and media work leaving very little time to sort out much of her wedding planning.
She’s taken the week off for last minute preparations, but in between dress fittings and general stress and drama, is dealing with calls and interruptions from those who don’t understand the meaning of ‘I am on leave for my wedding.’ So the bride finds herself juggling The Two Big W’s (wedding and work) even while on leave, to the point of stopping her car every so often to haul out the laptop in her boot and fire off whatever information or documents are being requested of her by clients, journalists and colleagues.
The day after the wedding, exhausted as she is, that bride finds herself having to work on a presentation which she will not be there to deliver, but which she committed to do in the absence of anybody else willing and able. And on nights 1 and 2 of the honeymoon, the newlywed asks her husband if he would mind her spending an hour or so each night tweaking the presentation so that it can be sent off and the world will be saved and all will continue to live in peace and harmony. Kumbaya.
Phew! It was tough. It was awful. But it was life-changing.
I realised then that this was not how I wanted to start my married life, as much as The Hubster had accepted that this was what my work required of me. I knew I wanted to be a better partner, one who didn’t snap at him because I’d had a bad day at work; who didn’t regularly serve burnt offerings because I was busy on my laptop while I should have been watching the stove (OK, this still happens – often – working on it!), who didn’t leave him at home alone frequently while I was out attending to work commitments.
Money and careers and success are wonderful things. But so are relationships and families and opportunities to put your own wellbeing first. If you can find the balance between all of these, then great. But when one side takes up all your energy and leaves little left for the rest, then it’s time to make some tough adult decisions and sacrifices.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)