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Striving for a bit of Work/Life balance

barbed-flower

For over twenty years I’ve worked outside the home and always plugged away at my career in a pretty much take it as it comes approach. That’s worked pretty well for me. I’ve had more great jobs than bad, and the learning opportunities at the bad ones (mostly) made up for any negativity.

This past September I decided to take some time off (ha!) to focus on my kids. Looking back, I’ve discovered that I haven’t done exactly that.

  1. I’ve added blogging here,
  2. volunteering at the kids’ school,
  3. pro-bono consulting for friends,
  4. paid consulting for a promising startup,
  5. a long distance job hunt to get us back to NY,
  6. a writing gig that pays very little, but will be a good experience for a number of good reasons,
  7. and an editorial gig on a blog that I am thrilled to be contributing to.

Now that the olders are out of school for the summer, I don’t have Little T’s nap-times to count on for my working hours and I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a tangle of competing responsibilities.

Oddly, I just realized that I’m not in a panic over it. Having just written the list out, I can clearly see which projects I’ll have to step away from.   I’m not the sort who ever likes to say no — it’s something I’m working on.

Following the last Dot.Com bust I worked at Stanford for a number of years, and one of the benefits I appreciated most was that they had a Work/Life Office. I learned a lot from the woman who runs that group, probably the most important being that it’s good to stop and take stock every once in a while. Oh, and remember to breathe.

Doing that now I recognize how much I truly love to work in a collaborative environment. I get a kick out of learning from others and sharing what I know. It’s gratifying and feels right.

The trick now is to manage the job hunt so that it doesn’t interfere with the kids’ well-deserved fun time, and to pare down the extras to a manageable level of insanity.