It's Friday morning and I'm in my living room/home office in front of my laptop with my coffee. My dog and cat are both looking at me like, "What are you doing here right now? Why are you home?" And then I panic because I feel like I'm supposed to be somewhere else. But I'm not...because I'm in my home office working but in a very different way than I have for most of my career.
I have decided to leave my well-paid, challenging, full-time job with a very desirable company to become a marketing and social media consultant. While some are "Leaning In," I am most definitely Leaning Out. If you're scratching your head wondering why, you can bet that I'm about to elaborate.
I have spent years - almost eleven to be exact - juggling schedules, cursing like a truck driver while stuck in traffic on the way to daycare, explaining to managers why I have to work from home for the day so that I can attend a school function that takes place at 11AM on a Monday morning, yelling at my kids because they want my help with homework while I'm trying to get an important project completed, etc. I could create pages of these situations that arise daily. But you get the picture.
I have also had all different work arrangements: part-time, full time with a day working from home, 4 days per week. And while some of these worked very well (like part-time), they always went away, usually because the role became bigger and more important so full-time became a necessity. I have had flexible managers and those who haven't been so flexible. A few companies were forward-thinking and others more traditional.
Lastly, I have tried all methods of childcare and organization methods. We have had babysitters, after-school care, nannies, etc. We have connected with some of these caregivers and not so much with others. In the end, the good ones always seemed to go away too soon, usually because they were moving on to other things in their lives. And we were left to start a new, frantic search for a replacement. This process always took months, involved outreach to friends, signing up on websites, etc. We always made due in the end but never without a lot of finagling. Oh, and the message boards, big post-it calendars, apps, lists, etc. that I have purchased/downloaded/written to organize our lives! I could fill a room with them (note: I should have a tag sale).
Through all of these years and situations, one feeling has remained a constant: a desire to make my life and my families' lives less "crazy." I will admit it - I have a type A personality and I yell...a lot. The more hectic my life gets, the more I feel out of control. And this has taken its toll on me and on my family.
Enter the decision to make a change...and the challenges that this brings about. I love to work - I love the work that I do. Marketing and social media are ever-changing, challenging and in great demand. So I want to keep doing what I love and to continue working with great people but I also want to create a calmer, more supportive environment for my kids and my husband.
So, here comes the next phase of my life. Earlier in this post, I called it "Leaning Out." But I don't really think I'm doing that; I'm just "Leaning In" in a different way - a way that hopefully leads to a greater sense of control while still contributing financially and continuing a great career. Years ago, I read Carol Evans' book, "This is How We Do It." It talks about how women make changes throughout their lives to support their families' needs. It's the new reality and it's here to stay. For all working families, you know exactly what this means. And you can do it...you sometimes have to take risks and be your own advocate. But you can do it.
So there you have it. I'm a consultant, an entrepreneur. I'm filling out all kinds of paperwork for my LLC, I'm talking to clients, I'm Tweeting. And then when my kids get home from school, I'm doing homework, going to soccer practice, playing cards and walking my dog. It's the new me.
My new company is Take Root Marketing and my website will be live soon. My plan is to also blog about my experiences in establishing my new company in the hopes that it might inspire others and may also (hopefully) assist other entrepreneurs who are getting started. I will post more details when I have them.