Is my career over?
When I worked in an office and had to leave my 3 month old in the care of grandma, I was devastated. When I quit my job to stay at home I was also devastated and happy at the same time. Then today after spending a day at a conference I came back home feeling confused. OH DEAR LORD, What’s wrong with me?!
I felt completely out of place at this conference, even though I was excited to attend and it was about things that interest me. I didn’t feel like networking, I just wanted to get updated on what is out there in technology and listen to interesting speakers. I got inspired by a few speakers, specially when they spoke in the language I’m used to nowadays – mindfulness, not giving up, facing your fears, looking for your next good idea, etc. But there was something off. I listened to other people around me talking about their new ventures, the next big thing in their company. I saw how they paced back and forth on their cell phones in their suits looking all too important. I ran into some ladies that I had met in another conference and had interacted with, but this time I felt no real connection with them. Then I spoke to a vendor and asked him questions about a robot they were presenting and felt like he wasn’t very welcoming. I felt like I was bothering him with my questions and he didn’t seem interested in giving me the time of day the moment I mentioned I didn’t have my business cards with me. I felt unimportant and dumb. I felt lost among the crowd, as if I didn’t really belong there. I felt outdated, out of the loop. I’m a freaking Engineer right? I’m smart right? What is wrong with me? Have I’ve been out of the office job environment too long?
It wasn’t all bad. I did get to meet some young entrepreneurs that are raising funds to open coding tech schools in underprivileged countries in Central and South America to teach middle schoolers and teach them how to learn programming and eventually become the future tech personnel of the world. They actually gave me the time of day and found it interesting when I told them I taught a Robotics class at a Montessori School. I felt welcomed at their booth. Then I spoke to some school teachers that launched an app that works like a personal messaging service where they can send information to parents directly to their cell phones. It was like a WhatsApp for teachers.
I then got to drive home in horrible traffic and listen to Amy Poehler’s audio book “Yes please” to kill time during the slow crawling traffic. It was long but not as painful as driving to the event in the morning. But the ultimate blues kicked my butt when I got home and my husband had a new routine going and the kids didn’t need me. I felt I was in limbo, not a mom but not a working mom either. So where do I fit? Is my career over and now I’m just a stay at home mom trying to become an entrepreneur? What do I do when the kids don’t need me anymore? Will I be able to go back to work on what I love? Should I jump on a new career and forget about my current career goals as a writer/ coach and Robotics teacher?
I think that many moms that transition from the the professional working world to the suburban stay at home world go through confusion. I have definitely experienced a few and when I think I’m completely over them and things are moving along the universe throws a little test. It’s like it tells me, “Don’t get too comfortable now, you need to kick it up a nodge.”
I am learning that life is messy and parenthood is even messier. It’s never going to be perfect and there will be good days and bad days. The difference now is that throughout the journey I have been collecting a few tools that help me get up faster and get better at my roles. I will still have my meltdowns, even those that are not parents have them. But I must get up and keep going.
Perhaps my career goals have changed, but that doesn’t mean that my career is over. I feel my career has evolved. Through parenthood I have acquired new skills. And perhaps those are things that need to go in my resume. I have acquired working under pressure, finishing projects within one day because I forgot they were due the next day, building a team that works together and most importantly creating a working environment to transform and mold to what the day brings without hesitation.
So parents out there that have made the transition to stay at home, if you think you have given up your career to be a parent you are wrong. Your career has just evolved into something better, with more qualities that you would have never gotten anywhere else. Be in the moment and learn the lessons that life is presenting to you right now. Keep at it, because I really believe it’s just about to get better.