A few months ago I transitioned from part-time work (editing and writing this blog) back to a full-time reporting position.
The decision was a tough one and took almost a year to make. I knew that full-time jobs in journalism were hard to come by and felt I should grab the opportunity when it arose. I also was excited to work with managers I really respected. I was interested in the beat (writing about workplace and management issues) and being able to execute some of my story ideas would realize some of my career ambitions. And I would be doubling my salary (although much of those gains would go right back into child care.)
At the same time, I was giving up something that had grown extremely valuable to me in more than three years as a part-time worker: time. Not just time with my kids, because as an at-home worker, I actually feel very connected to their daily activity. But time for myself. Time to exercise and see friends and read and not always being worried about being rushed. Just rich, unhurried time. And I was also giving up a job I really loved spearheading this blog and interacting with Juggle readers.
Ultimately, though, I felt ready to take on the new career challenge. In part I was inspired after reading a New Yorker profile of Facebook chief operating officer(formerly a top exec at Google) who said that men rarely hesitate to take workplace challenges but that women often are reluctant to 'lean into' their careers and take assignments that stretch them. The New Yorker's writes of Sandberg:
She struggled with her own work-life balance, and developed a sense that too many women at Google and elsewhere were dropping out of the workforce after becoming mothers, in part because they had not pushed to get a job they loved before they began having children. In her six years at Google, she had hired scores of male and female executives, but, she says, 'the men were getting ahead. The men were banging down the door for new assignments, promotions, the next thing to do, the next thing that stretches them. And the women─not all, most─you talked them into it. 'Don't you want to do this?' '
Reading that was a 'you go girl!' moment; soon after I told my boss I felt ready to come back full time. At the same time, though, my husband decided to leave his job at a global tech giant and go to a smaller, pre-IPO firm. So I've been thinking a lot about when it makes sense and when it might not to take on new career challenges. It hasn't always been easy. Not only did my husband start a new job at the exact same time, but my younger son (almost two) recently started at daycare, after being home with a babysitter and me. As a result, there have been a lot of transitions in our household and in our schedules vibrating screen. I've chosen not to write about the changes in real time because I was too in the thick of things I needed time to reflect about whether the choices we made were working.
But so far so good. My new work has been invigorating, though I do miss that sense of unhurried time (not to mention leisurely workouts at the gym.) And I do miss daily interactions with Juggle readers! dryer machine. Readers, when did it make sense for you to take on new career challenges? When have you passed them up? Have any of you taken on new career challenges at the same time as your partner or spouse? How did that work out?