Tag Archives: balance

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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I Wish I Had More Time!

No I don’t.

More time is what I THOUGHT I wanted. More time to get the pantry re-organized, squeeze another load of laundry in, do a bigger puzzle with the kids, write overdue thank you notes, revise the show budget for the network.

Turns out I just want more CONTROL over the time I have.

With my new gig as development head for a production company that’s in a nascent stage, I took a sizable pay cut. For now. I am developing a few show ideas and films and the series that was just greenlit is not yet in contract, so I’m not making very much. Yet. I knew this going in; the difference in pay from my corporate job is startling but here is what I’m getting in return:

  • A CHOICE of projects.
  • A forum to develop my own ideas and shepherd others’ utilizing my skills as a storyteller and an instinctive nurture.
  • An office way the f*ck south of midtown, thank you (yes, that makes a HUGE difference).
  • Flexibility, in the short term, with how much and where I choose to work.

In our start-up phase, it’s understood that there won’t be much money. So my new work partners are very understanding when I say: “Hey, I’ll be offsite the next two days. I can do calls before 3 if need be.” And then get some work tasks done, in between blog writing and bonus parenting that I didn’t get a chance to do while at my last job.

So today I’m scheduled to appear in Campbell’s Cupcakes Class to read “The Cat in the Hat” as part of his daycare’s monthlong celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

More Thing 2 than Cat, but still...

More Thing 2 than Cat, but still…

And I’m picking my daughter up from the bus and bringing her with me. Her kindergarten class honored the author last week.

Say "Seuss" because that will make for great mouth placement in the photo.

Say “Seuss” because that will make for great mouth placement in the photo.

I actually don’t prefer working from home. I’m not as productive because I’m trying to combine work and life projects. Multi-tasking kills. It’s why it’s illegal to text and drive. And like Ron Swanson says:

“Never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing.”

So I do make a point to get to the office for meetings and to get sh*t done. But on days when I have a captive audience of 2-year-olds for storytime, or I just need a haircut, I’m happy to be at home. I’m trying to making it count now, because I DO want to work. I DO want to be busy with projects I’m passionate about. And I DON’T want to start worrying about money.

I have 3 ½ weeks of unused vacation time that I’m being paid out from my last job. So I guess I’m kind of using it now. Going on school trips, having morning coffee with friends I don’t get to see much, not having those knock-down, drag-out tussles with myself about how to spend the fleeting minutes.

Then it’s go time. Because I really can’t see myself getting into the pantry renovation. I’m just not that girl.

What’s YOUR ideal work schedule?

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I Want it Both Ways

I want a part-time job, with a full-time salary.
I want coffee, without the stank breath.
I want to be a hipster mom, without giving up my Jewish motherly roots.
I want everyone to eat their vegetables, without having to bribe them.
I want fresh flowers that never die.
I want to be crafty but not have to DIY.
I want a kiss from my 16 month old, without the biting.
I want to work with grown-ups but spend time with babies.
I want my kids to shoo me away at school drop-off, but hug me like I’m their whole world at pick-up.
I want chocolate that makes me lose weight.
I want my son to love his mommy, without being a mama’s boy.
I want my daughter to love to dance, without the pressure to be any good.
I want my kids to learn by doing, without having to do much more than play.
I want a night out with my husband, and be home by 8.
I want to be productive, with time for daydreaming.
I want to drink less Diet Coke, without having to drink less Diet Coke.
I want to wear black without showcasing all the baby bodily byproducts on my sleeves.
I want to be a PTA mom without the baking prerequisite.
I want to show my support without always having to show up.
I want to be fit without having to get up at 4:30 in the morning to work out.
I want to hear “Mama!” without the trill of desperation.
I want to sleep more, without missing anything.
I want to finish my to-do list but still feel purposeful.
I want to watch Star Wars with my kids but withhold all the crappy TV.
I want to come off like I know what I’m doing, but not like I know it all.
I want more children but I don’t want to spend less time with the ones I already have.
I want to spend more time with my kids, but I also want to be alone.
I want to be alone, but only for about 2 hours at a time.
I want 2 more hours with my husband, after the kids are in bed, that don’t involve dish-washing, lunch-packing, bill-paying or arguing.
I want to make the argument that I can work less, without feeling like I’ll lose part of my identity.
I want to be a role model without being perfect.

I want to know what you think about having it both ways.

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