When I was at school I swore I would never work in an office. An office job seemed far too boring and worse, it was what most people did. I wanted something more exciting and glamourous. My fantasy CV changed almost weekly at school, running the gauntlet of all possible career options, most of which I would be embarrassed to even mention now. When I did finish school, in order to delay actual full time work, I went to university and worked in retail on the weekends seeing as my parents had cut me off financially. And like the majority of most graduates I failed to gain employment related to my degree once I graduated. My living expenses had also gone up significantly, so there was a growing need for money and a complete lack of jobs available.
I remembered back to the uni open days when they would smile and list all of the wonderful career titles you would be able to have with their degree. Seducing me with their fancy productions and Oscar-winning performances of key lecturers brainwashing me into the cult of academia. At the time I wanted to work for National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Absolutely I was told, this three year full time degree is perfect to get you in the door there. Then when I went to apply for the sole job that finally was advertised by NPWS I was turned down. I enquired why, I didn’t even get an interview. It was because I had a degree, they needed someone with a TAFE qualification.
I was cornered. It was office job or unemployment which actually wasn’t an option as I had to be unemployed for two months before I could apply for benefits and I couldn’t go without money for that long. Many years passed. Different jobs, different offices, still fundamentally the same. Generic paperwork, incompetent micro-mangers and the hideous office grapevine. When I walked out of the office to start my maternity leave I swore to myself I would never walk back in there. Never again was I doing this.
Motherhood changes you. That is a full length feature film for another time. It forced me to take a good long hard look at myself. There is a lot of time for thinking when your partner returns to work and you are at home and have a good six hours ahead of you to do ‘nothing’ while your newborn eats and sleeps. The result of that thinking was that I decided no more fluffing and dreaming. It was time to get focused, get serious and get busy.
Now here I am, two days a week I have daycare days. They could be called work days, but I work 6 days a week, it’s just on these two daycare days I have a solid 8 hours of full productivity, which is where the bulk of the work gets done. Parenting is tough and full on, but in all honesty these days are my most productive. They are also highly rewarding. Being a mum is exhausting. There is no immediate feedback. You put so much in, how do you even know if you are doing a good job. It might be 20 years until you are satisfied with the job you have done. At least on daycare days I can look back at 5pm and pat myself on the shoulder for all I have accomplished and marvel at the all the ticks next to my weekly goals. I may have left the office but I have never worked so hard in my life, and I love it.