Surprising Myself with a Career vs Family Decision

I’m a hard worker. When it comes to my professional life, I work my butt off. I’ve always been that way and figured why do something halfway when I can do it and be the BEST at it? Yeah, in case you forgot… I’m very Type A.

This was my desk at my second ‘real’ job. The dog’s name was Moo and he was one of three office dogs. He was also a boy dog. Until this job I had never seen a boy dog’s thingie and vividly remember the first time his ‘red rocket’ came out while I was on a conference call.

I started at my first ‘real’ job when I was still in college and served as the Public Relations Intern/Assistant at a really cool little nonprofit.

After graduation, I had a hard time finding a position and through sheer luck (and by calling every marketing company in the yellow pages) I ended up with a job at a small marketing/public relations firm.

Within a year, I had moved up from Public Relations Assistant to Public Relations Manager. From there I moved on to become the Director of Communications and Marketing at a nonprofit entity at NSA. Next, I was the Director of Marketing at an accounting firm.

When I worked at the accounting firm, I planned the yearly end-of-tax-season trips. On this trip I was obviously drinking some kind of tequila concoction being fed to me by a clown.

Up…up… UP. I pretty much climbed as quickly as possible towards the top. Every single job was an opportunity to take on more. More responsibility. A better title. More money. You name it and I was working towards it. Year after year after year, I worked as hard as I could.

I was never quite satisfied though.

And then I lost my job while I was pregnant with Jack.

Instead of focusing on something bigger and better, I wildly searched for anything, ANYTHING that was marketing-related that would pay me a salary.

Funny how your priorities change when you’re about to pop out a kid and you’re suddenly jobless, right?

I got incredibly lucky, because after years of wanting to work in higher education I ended up at a really great business university in the area. The position I was hired for wasn’t EXACTLY a ‘marketing job’… the title was a step down… the money was a step down… but you do what you have to do. My boss is awesome, so that made up for a lot.

In the past two years my position has grown to match my skill-set, the title has grown and the money has grown. The schedule recently changed so that the driving is a lot easier on me…knocking off 6 hours of driving each week. I’ll be able to spend more time with my family.

I’m happy.

I finally have a work-life balance that is a bit more life than work and I LOVE It. I still work really hard, but then I go home and I can actually relax. I mean, as much relaxing as you can do when you have an almost two year old to chase around.

The exact same day that I found out my schedule changed, I also found out that they are hiring for a position that would be PERFECT for me. The position for someone with my exact background and I can do it. I can do it REALLY WELL. However, the position is located back in that location that is almost a 2 hour drive from home, and I’d be driving there 5 days each week.

So do I stay in the position that I love, I’m good at, and is finally flexible enough that I can spend more time with my family? Or do I try for a new job opportunity where I can continue my journey of going up, up, UP. More responsibility. A better title. More money.

Oddly this was an easy decision for me.

For the first time… family wins.

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7 thoughts on “Surprising Myself with a Career vs Family Decision”

  1. Awesome. We only get one chance to spend this time with out little ones… if you can make it work, and get to spend more time with Jack in the process… you know you’re making the right decision 😉

  2. Congratulations to you! I think at the end of the day, and when your child is older, you will fully appreciate just how monumental this decision was. I’m sure your family would much rather have you with them, then make more money. ‘Things’ don’t replace the love and care of family. Good luck to you.

  3. I’m proud of you. It’s SO HARD for people with that insatiable inner Type A to recognize that being the BEST RICHEST MOST IMPORTANT might not actually be what makes you happy. I am so happy for your new schedule and your time with Jack, Ollie, and Travis.

  4. Good for you!! It’s about time you enjoyed the rewards of all of your prior hard work and success, which is being able to get a job where you feel happy and balanced.

    Also, a 2 hour commute?! WHAT?! Sometimes I have trials in a city about 2 hours away from where I live and, when I do, my public servicey job gives me the option to be put up in a hotel overnight there because it’s too far to be expected to travel back and forth every day. I don’t know how you could possible do that every single day!

  5. You made the right choice! I was a total career crack addict too before I had kids but I switched gears when they came along and I’ve never regretted it. And as they start getting older they start needing you even more and if you we driving two hours away and gone all the time your head just might explode!

  6. My mom left her well-paying job at AT&T when I was 3 or 4 years old. My brother and I were spending more time with the babysitter than with either of our parents, we were talking back, and learning really awful habits. She left the job, started working a less-corporate job closer to home that allowed her to spend days with my brother and I and nights working, when Dad was home with us. My family didn’t have a lot of money, but my brother and I grew up to be REALLY good kids/adults. She chose family over work, and I couldn’t have been prouder of that decision.

    Well played Joules. Well played.

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