Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To The Top

Tonight was an appreciation event for the caregivers who look after our little ones at the moms group that Briony and I have been attending (I've actually volunteered to be on the committee for next year, which probably tells you how well it's been going for us). I ended up having a work-related conversation with another mom there, and it has me reflecting on my work week so far.

Yesterday, I had a client decide to remove me from a project. It wasn't personal at all - pure business and money. And I'll admit that my first reaction was hurt slash anger and frustration. I think it was just habit... Ten years of clawing and scratching your way through your career can apparently turn you into one of those abused animals who keeps attacking out of habit even though you've long been rescued.

Was that too dramatic? Ah, well. Allow me to explain, and then we'll return to the story.

There are certain industries where your progress is somewhat orderly. Not so in advertising. Less so in small agencies. I received very few promotions and made very few advancements that weren't entirely self-driven. As in, I would schedule a meeting with my boss, tell them all the ways that I was awesome and helping to make them rich and successful, and then present a proposal for a new job that I'd invented for myself. And they would give it to me, and I'd work like a crazy person to stun them with my ability and determination and put the next step of my grand master plan into action. Because I was going places, dammit.

And then a funny thing happened.

Her name is Briony. And giving up my life of full-time agency work to spend more time with her was one of the easier decisions I've ever made.

If I'm really honest about it (and why not be honest - it's MY blog and you're here choosing to read it), I'm not very surprised that my freelance business has been successful. I've been fighting for my own career for a decade. Now, I'm just doing it for ME instead of for other people. But while the game is essentially the same on paper, it's entirely different now in reality because my priorities are so different. I still care about my career - A LOT - and you can take the girl away from the office but you sure as heck can't de-program her tendency towards workaholism... But from now until forever, everything is less important than my family.

And so, my hurt slash anger and frustration melted away as I realized that this news left today almost entirely open for Mommy + Briony time while Geoff was at a professional development conference. And because my house was cleaned yesterday, I really had nothing even remotely as important to do as spending time with Briony.

And so we giggled. We coloured. We played. We sang. We danced. We practiced walking. We talked. We looked at books. We tickled. We NAPPED (oh glorious!).

It was such a good day. All compliments of one cancelled contract.

And while I'm back at work tomorrow, I'm more sure than ever before that it has all been worth it. I had more sleepless nights working at ad agencies than I did as a new mom. BY FAR. And this new, hybrid life is everything I hoped and dreamed it would be. I really can have both. Just not always on exactly the same day.

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At April 15, 2010 10:52 AM, Anonymous Marilyn said...

And I'm sure Briony loved the day as well:) I'm glad the mom's group is active and going well. Katherine Wiens and I (part of founding group) are delighted.

At April 15, 2010 8:11 PM, Blogger Sara Beth said...

Loved this post. Good one, Linds.

At April 16, 2010 12:48 PM, Blogger Lindsay said...

Marilyn - Many of the 'grandmas' pass along big hellos to you. They're also delighted to get to watch your granddaughter :)

Sara - Thanks :)


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