I have always been an incredibly driven worker. I would arrive in the morning, work my butt off, and run out the door as fast as I could once the work was done. I made time for office events and a few friends, but mostly it was work, work, work, as efficiently as possible. I am so fortunate to have a job that is driven by output and not by hours; otherwise I’d be twiddling my thumbs, since I am generally a very fast worker as well. I have to put in a reasonable amount of hours, but I’m not tied to my seat until a certain time, which is something I value so highly in my current position.
Going back to work with a baby at home, however, has undoubtedly increased my productivity and focus. Now that I know I have Owen’s little face to come home to, my productivity is through the roof. If I have 20 minutes to work during his naptime I can easily get an hour’s worth of work done. When I sit down at my desk in the morning in the office now, I write my To Do list and start checking things off before I even get my coffee. I don’t read blogs (sorry, friends!) or browse the internet or get on Facebook. Heck, I plan my bathroom breaks along with other office errands to maximize the time away from my desk. I’m happy enough to chat with my work friends, but even in 5 years I haven’t made friends close enough to tear me away from my work for lunches out or after work drinks.
Call me mean, call me boring, call me whatever; but it’s Owen’s (and Benjamin’s! and Schnitzel’s!) face I really want to see.
When I was little I used to dream of all the things I wanted to be when I grew up (other than a mother, which was a constant). A Broadway star usually topped the list. As I got older the list changed. An art therapist. An architect/interior designer. When I got my first “real” job as a Human Resources Assistant at a consulting firm, the list narrowed. As I worked on my Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership, it narrowed further. And now here I am sitting at a desk coordinating internal training, several rungs up the proverbial ladder at that very same consulting firm. It’s not my dream job, as my professional goals are still a bit loftier, but it’s satisfying, and I enjoy it. It allows me the flexibility to be both a mom and a professional, which is paramount in my life right now.
So having a baby may have increased my productivity, but it also decreased my drive for finding something new and better and the need to constantly challenge myself. I’ve never been one to “just be”. I’m almost always working on the next goal. But my priorities have changed.
I imagine there will come a time in my life when my goals will flip flop again. My career will take the front seat and being a mom will be so automatic that it runs in the background. I think. Although it’s hard to see that moment now, I bet that day will come. And in the meantime, I’m trying not to beat myself up for being boring, but rather to appreciate that I’ve worked hard enough to take a pause right now.
How did/will having a baby change your career path?