Deja New

Remember that time I left my long-term corporate gig to embark on a new adventure?

I’m done now.

After about a year and a half of self-discovery, trying new things, stretching myself and doing the work that I never would have had the opportunity to experiment with if I had stayed in my position, I’m back in “corporate gig” land. In fact, I’m back working for the same media company I left, albeit for a different division.

And it’s funny; whenever I leave a job (to start a new one), I’m asked if I did so to spend more time with the kids.

Nope.

Life-work “balance” isn’t strictly about time management. It’s also about fulfillment, and joy and productivity, and knowing yourself. I learned a lot about myself the last year and a half. I’m someone who craves more of a structured environment; I’m attracted to bigger organizations with proven best practices. And most of all, I need to see the fruits of my labor. I need to see I had impact, or at least made improvements.

Because that makes me the happiest. And my family is better off with the happier version of me.

Happy means showing all the teeth.

Happy means showing all the teeth.

The job I left was fulfilling in a very important way; I was doing what I wanted to do. I tested myself; and I learned so much. I re-ignited a creative spark that had fizzled out a while ago and made it so hard to stay motivated. And now, I bring that spark to my new job at Sundance TV.

Part of the same company I left in February 2013.

On the same floor I sat for almost seven years.

Seeing old colleagues whom I missed so much this last year and a half.

But reincarnated in a new role, in a new division, at a network that just feels like a good fit.

I have absolutely no regrets about my decision to work at a production company the last year and a half. I had the privilege of working among driven creatives who taught me such an important lesson: why not?

Why not was something I didn’t ask often enough. I learned to fail fast, and get smarter faster. I learned that taking the G train to the Williamsburg office every day made a considerable dent in my enthusiasm, even though I got to interact with the NICEST Dunkin’ Donuts staff in any of the boroughs (they memorized my order after only 2 times!). I learned that I still want to learn; that it’s important to me to have mentors and people who model behavior and business practices to which I aspire. I learned that I am good at things nobody had offered to have me try; that I had to make my own opportunities and trust my gut.

Me with the office mascot, Hall. This can only happen when your production office is a loft above a custom motorcycle shop in BK.

Me with the office mascot, Hall. This can only happen when your production office is a loft above a custom motorcycle shop in BK.

I am not home any more than I have been since my maternity leave 4 years ago. I work full-time. My partner works full-time. It is not easy. We have a babysitter, grandparents and are currently looking for a second babysitter to cover holes in our childcare. We have full day pre-k and after-school. We have piano lessons, dance classes, Brownie meetings and karate. We have started buying pre-sliced apples for the lunches because I just…can’t anymore. We have to wake my daughter up to make a 7:20am bus. We have a lot of half-days that require feats of scheduling gymnastics nobody warned me about. We have more homework than last year. We have new chore charts I keep forgetting to print out. We have to stop the yelling.

And I have a new job that, from a title perspective, is not a step up. In fact, it’s a position I occupied a decade ago. Does that matter? For a minute it did.

I read LEAN IN over a year ago and have mixed feelings about it, but I think there is one thing Sheryl Sandberg got right about having a career, for me at least:

“It’s a jungle gym, not a ladder.”

So I have zig-zagged and I’m back in with the same company, in a whole new way. Boomerang employees are trending, apparently.

 

 

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