My first blog. A day in my life.
First, a little about me. I’m a visual merchandiser turned marketing communications specialist turned graphic designer turned stay-at-home-mom. I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. At the time, it was a great place to live. Lots to do, fun weather (maybe not for grown-ups), lots of friends, the whole shabang. Fast forward 20+ years and Cleveland is a dump. Time to move on. More on that later.
Family in a nutshell: My immediate family consists of my husband – the love of my life – and my baby boy – the other love of my life. Two cats and a dog complete the picture. My husband and I tied the knot a little over two years ago. We had a gorgeous wedding. Simply perfect. We loved every minute. A year and some months later, we decided to have a baby…
Little boy blue, as I fondly call him (among other ridiculous nicknames that will likely pop up in later posts), is just turning five months old. Wow does time fly. It’s been an adventure, to say the least. I could go on and on about the trials and triumphs of motherhood, and I likely will tomorrow or the next day, but today I’m here to discuss (with myself, no less) this article I read on babycenter this morning.
This particular article was talking about restoring balance in your life – i.e. how to make sure you don’t go temporarily insane by only communicating with your baby. It mentioned joining a baby/parent group, chatting online, making sure you have alone time, etc. In short, it discussed how many people miss “adult life” after leaving the workplace.
I don’t miss “adult life.” And I certainly do not miss the workplace.
Call me crazy, but I have never been happier in my entire life. Of course I want to pull my hair out at times being a new mom and all. I basically have no clue what I’m doing – ever. But I love my boss and when I get dressed for “work,” I get to decide which PJ pants I should wear. And it is awesome.
Most people miss working because of their friends and setting & reaching personal and professional goals, among other things. Working in retail was great for me. I loved my friends and I loved the goals. Don’t get me wrong, working in retail can be challenging, whether it be due to standing on your feet all day or interacting with impatient customers, but it was a fun job. Retail is even easier for many workers nowadays with incredible technology that has changed the industry. For example, this retail pos system alleviates stress of the job and manages to streamline operations, which is extremely beneficial for this line of work. I wish I’d had this piece of technology when I was in retail! But when I made the shift from visual merchandiser in a retail store (rank=on pedestal) to visual merchandiser in the corporate world (rank=bottom feeder), my professional life took a turn for the worse – socially, that is. I was young and inexperienced and suddenly found myself in the throes of an extremely intimidating environment. Instead of taking a proactive approach to get myself into the “in” crowd, I just stood back and did my work like a good little employee. I didn’t really want, or need, to make friends in my new position. Email was the main source of communication in the office and if you weren’t emailing, you were in your friend’s cube whispering about the person sitting not five feet away. Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly my style. Therefore, I made no effort. Not making an effort definitely didn’t help, but I was in a department with ten other people. We had weekly, sometimes daily, meetings where I was forced to talk, and therefore forced to open up a little bit and have social interactions. I wouldn’t say they were my best friends but we had our moments of comraderie.
Fast forward to my most recent position and I find myself in the same exact situation. Only this time, I’m not in a forced-friendship situation. I am a graphic designer and don’t have any reason to speak with anyone in my office. Plus, I’m in a department alone. I have a boss but she has already made it abundantly clear that I am her least favorite person in the office (of 25). The one person I should probably talk with in a face-to-face setting makes it horribly uncomfortable to do so, so we only end up emailing one another (even though I can clearly see every facial expression she makes from my cube less than 20 feet away). A few months later she’s on maternity leave and I find myself utterly alone. I spent zero time working on social relationships with anyone in the office prior to her departure. And when she was supposed to return from leave, medical issues keep her from coming back.
So now here I am in this job that was really not challenging, working with people who I don’t even talk to, and now I don’t have a boss at all. I am my department now. It was up to me to connect with the 24 other employees.
Graphic design, as you may not be aware, is an extremely isolating position. The exception to this generalization would be in a marketing/pr firm, or in a design house like Kaizen Brand Evolution Dublin, for example. Other than that, you’re on your own as a graphic designer. Couple the lack of socialization with an extremely unchallenging and unsatisfying job PLUS no firewall, and you’ve got someone who does about one hour of real, actual work per day. The rest of the time? Facebook.
I feel so much better about my life now. I actually work. No, I don’t get paid. But I do get to watch my baby grow up. I get to see all of the new and challenging adventures that he embarks upon. I get to talk to my friends and family on the West coast that I never was able to talk to before because of the time/work/sleep difference. I get to not complain about stupid people at work. And when I do complain about work, it’s because I’m exhausted from my 24/7 job.
So do I miss “adult life” or the workplace? Absolutely not. I socialize more now than I have in total over the last five years. I don’t love being barfed on or getting no sleep, but I do love being at home with my little one and having a boss who loves me for being his mom.
And that’s a day in my life, in a nutshell.