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Do you ever have those moments when you’ve been doubting your path, then you’re smacked in the face with the reason why you should knock that nonsense off???
I’m totally having one of those weeks, or months, or years! Two months ago I shared a post about my unexpected journey to staying home and trying to be my own boss. Trusting my gut has not been easy! I doubt myself constantly, especially now that my old commissions aren’t replacing the money going out each month. YIKES! It would have been easy to jump back into my career, I’ve even applied to other jobs, feeling guilty that I’m not bringing in what I used to, but every time I do, something reminds me to stay the path; and I don’t even get an interview let alone get the job (well duh or I’d be working lol).
This week, Luke was diagnosed with Pneumonia and spent his 13th day home from school this year! He had his 5th x-ray in has many months, this time on his chest! He will have at least another day or two off before he’s well enough to go back to school again making it around 15 missed days of school between being sick and breaking bones. The boys didn’t miss even half that COMBINED last year, how have we doubled that number with one kid (and Landry isn’t much better with 8 days out)???
Through it all, I keep finding myself grateful that I’m not sitting in a model home right now. If I had taken the easy way, I’d be in one of two places: I’d either be home, stressing out about work or at work stressing out about home. I’d be in danger of losing my job again for missing so much work and not being as focused as I should be going into spring selling season.
If I’d focused on my job instead of my kids, my husband would be in trouble with his job for having to work from home so much and we’d both be horribly stressed out. We would have sent Luke to school when we shouldn’t have or had the sitter come today so we could both get some work done, and put off the doctor, landing us in the ER this weekend instead.
We put all this pressure on ourselves to “have it all” but what’s the cost? For over a decade, I had no real work-life balance and those I love suffered for it. I made a bunch of money and thought I was making up for the time away through expensive vacations and presents, but that was just my mom guilt coming into play. The concept of “it all” needs to be reexamined. If a family can’t put their kids’ health ahead of the job, there is something wrong with that picture!
Recently I had a cup of coffee with a High School friend of mine who is also in the Real Estate Industry and trying out her hand in the blogging world. She and I ended up talking for hours about how there is this push, larger than ever, for people to become self-employed. Be your own boss! The conversation has stuck with me now for over a month. It’s not an easy life by any means, and for a long time, until you “make it,” paving your own path will normally mean far less money than what you’d make in corporate America, but it is still more appealing than having a boss for so many people!
I’m not saying that having a boss and working for the man is a terrible thing. There is something to be said for
If people aren’t leaving a company to become self-employed, they’re leaving after a few years for greener pastures, the promise of better benefits or a closer commute. It’s extremely costly to train new employees. Companies are starting to catch on to the employee migration, and have implemented strategies for retention, most of which are a bunch of bull.
I can’t tell you how many times in the last few years of my career I heard things like “we want you to make sure you’re taking care of yourself,” or “be sure to use all of your vacation, that’s what it’s for and it won’t roll over!” Do you know how many times I took the vacation, only to be asked: “is now really the right time for that?” Either we were in selling season or slow season, neither good for taking time off. I’d be made to feel guilty about it and have my phone ring the entire time. I once took a phone call on It’s a Small World about an “emergency” with someone’s hardwood floors. Another time, I had to fix someone’s closing while I sat on the beach with my kids and ignored them for 3 hours. That’s neither a vacation, nor any kind of work-life balance!
But see, here is the thing… while these companies are pouring the nonsense into your mind about how they care about you, and your personal life, they’re successfully doing one thing, and that’s making you believe every word they say! Every time I took that call on vacation, I fully believed I was doing the right thing when I answered the phone, and that I should just be grateful they approved my time “off” for the week. The more you buy in, the less likely you are to speak up when your balance is thrown off kilter. You’ll tolerate a whole lot more with your mouth shut, including workplace harassment, or infringement on your personal time.
When I was being harassed at work, for the last time (and finally not by a male), I let it go for months before I even attempted to have a conversation about it. I was working for the best company in my area, people fought tooth and nail to get positions there; working there was considered reaching the pinnacle of my career. So, surely I was the crazy one, right?
I had been told since day one that the company had an “open door policy” and I’d known my manager for years from working someplace else. “Of course she will be receptive to speaking with me about how unhappy I am right now and work with me on this. I’m not asking for much, just a different location,” I thought. I was encouraged by my team, my family, friends, and colleagues that I trusted to go to her. It would be OK!
At first, she seemed receptive! We had a great talk, and she even promised a plan was in action for me to move to a new spot. I just had to do the best I could for 30 days. Then, 30 days turned into 5 months and my situation was just getting worse and worse. My boss stopped returning my calls but was sure to call me every time she thought I was in the wrong. I should have seen the writing on the wall but it was covered up by a “Best Company in the World” poster!
What became inherently clear in the days and weeks to come was that the company was only interested in “helping” me as long as I was still buying into the company first mentality. Once I started stating that I couldn’t continue the way things were going, that it was affecting my personal well-being, the company had absolutely no interest in helping me anymore. I was no longer valuable to them because, as far as employees go, I was damaged goods. Once an employee starts to see through the smoke and mirrors and starts exposing the ugly truth for what it is, companies like this know there is no going back. They’ve betrayed the trust of the employee, and that person must be removed before their truth begins to spread like poison (or pesticide, depending on what side you’re looking at it from).
Suddenly, the words my husband had been saying for years about how people work for a manager, not a company were so vivid in my mind. He was right! I put up with a lot of ridiculous company requests, excuses, demands, and more when I cared about doing a good job for my boss. When I knew my manager believed in me, was on my side, and genuinely cared about the well-being of his or her whole team, I would go for miles for them without thinking twice. However, whenever I was moved, had a new boss and no longer on that team, my situation tanked every time. I wasn’t working for the greatest companies. I was working for great managers. The companies were actually pretty rotten! I just couldn’t see it until I had an equally as rotten manager!
The correlation of the rise in self-employment and growing resentment for the toxic environment that is Corporate American is not hard to see! When you work for yourself, the only person you can get upset with if your day goes to garbage is that person in the mirror! If I need an extra day for self-care, sure my blog traffic suffers, or I don’t sell as many books but I can pick up where I left off when I’m ready and then it’s my choice how hard I push to get back on track. I only have to answer to myself.
That brings us back around to this week! I had hoped to get ahead of my writing over Spring break. We weren’t going anywhere, we had no plans but just chilling out and maybe catching a movie or a museum. Then, BAM, we started dropping like flies! First Luke went down with strep, then me, then Matt, and finally, on Sat, Landry was down with a stomach virus. I kept him home on Monday and sent Luke to school, thinking he was better. Landry was on the mend by the afternoon, but Luke came home with a 103 fever, and it stayed there for the entire rest of the week. Two more visits to the doctor, multiple tests, several different antibiotics, and a chest x-ray later, it was determined he had pneumonia.
I accomplished nothing during the week but caring for him. My laundry was overflowing, I had been washing dishes as we needed them, and my blog has barely been touched or marketed! It was stressing me out, and starting to make me feel extremely guilty. Then Luke had an allergic reaction and broke out head to toe in painful hives, and I knew I was doing exactly what I needed to do. The blog could wait, freelance work could wait. If I wasn’t home right now, if I was working full time, none of it could wait. Either Matt or I would be trying to take calls in between fevers and mass amounts of vomit! I probably would have hung up on a client and gotten in a TON of trouble.
So, at the end of the day, I cannot be more grateful
Remember that Office episode where Jan was so frustrated with Michael that she got really drunk then had to go smell her candles??? We go there this week! I was tired, stressed, and worn out. But it was all for the right reasons!
Do I forgive my old manager and old company? UM, NO! They were still, in my own opinion, very shady! But what happened, clearly happened for a reason and I am where I’m meant to be!
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