Ok - now you don’t often hear an entrepreneur wax poetic about the corporate world. Many of us ran away from that life. But if you listen long enough, most entrepreneurs (usually in moments of vulnerability) will weigh the pros and cons of sticking it out with their business or giving up and going back to the stability of a monthly paycheck. Since I started my business, I know it’s a conversation I’ve had a least once a month with my husband (no matter how well my business was doing). This life is not an easy one.
And well, I don’t know a more vulnerable time in life than when you’re pregnant. I quit my corporate job long before we had kids for the explicit goal of raising kids and working exactly how I wanted without a boss. All of my life plans were in place, and yet - all throughout pregnancy I thought about throwing it all away and asking for my old job back.
Why would I do that?
When you go to a 9-5 job you get paid for showing up and not necessarily based on your output each day. There were so many days during my pregnancy where I couldn’t get anything done. I was exhausted, sick, and overwhelmed. At my old job, I would have still received my paycheck and just chalked it up to a few bad days. In this world, if the work doesn’t get done then the money doesn’t come in.
In an office, you usually have someone directing you on your day’s tasks. It may not be completely micromanaged, but usually there’s some structure. During pregnancy, I craved that structure. I’m normally very disciplined and have no problem getting through the workload. There’s something about pregnancy that zapped that drive. Pregnancy brain hit me hard. I was completely scattered most days and my creativity levels were scarily low. It’s really hard to write sales copy or come up with a new strategy when those synapses aren’t firing. The structure and team environment of an office always seemed like a good tonic to these problems.
Oh the big one. I was completely shocked by how much it costs to have a baby. Yes, we have insurance, but not the cushy kind I’d always taken for granted when I worked for big corporations. With every doctor’s bill, my old job was looking better and better. And on top of all that, I would have been getting ready to take three, fully paid, 100% unplugged, months off of work. That was the maternity leave offered. Instead I was bargaining with myself for more and more time and scrambling to make it work financially.
So the siren call of the corporate job was loud. But in the end, I didn’t answer it. For better or worse, I had built this life, this business, for my son and my family. Many days are hard, but when I hear him wake up from a nap, I take a work break, walk into his room and see his smile…and it’s all worth it.
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