Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Before I became a Stay at Home Mom

Last week, I asked you to submit any questions you had for me on a Get to Know Me post. I will be answering those questions in posts, starting with this one from Finding Lori.

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It is hard to believe that I have been a stay at home mom for over a year now. It seems like just yesterday that I worked a 40 hour traditional job. Being a mom has been more challenging than any job I have ever had, but it also has more benefits.

In January of 2007, I escaped the horrible life of working in retail and began working at a call center. I was working on completing my last “two years” of a B.A. in English Language and Literature and this new job turned out to be the perfect job as a student because I was often able to study at work.

I worked on various accounts and with each one I learned more. I learned about taxes and engines and eventually ended up with a door and window company in August of 2007. Let me tell you, call center agents are not paid nearly enough for the abuse received from some customers. It is an emotionally draining job.

I learned the most at this last account and I know way too much about windows and doors. I have installed the products, taken them apart and reassembled them, ordered parts, toured multiple factories, diagnosed service problems, ordered countless parts, and talked thousands of customers through the steps of fixing their products. It was not a job for the weary, I will tell you that. The turnover rate was pretty high and it took considerable time for people to “catch on”. It was a constant learning experience.

In 2011, I finally graduated from college. It took me four years to finish the last “two years” because I was also working full time. At this point, I was ready to find a new job. I actually hated working at a call center by this time (not as much as I hated retail though). There were unrealistic expectations at times (most of which have been changed), crazy drama, and office politics. I was so happy when I was able to begin working from home, but I still dreaded my work days.

Around this time I began working part time as a newspaper reporter in addition to my full time job. Eventually, I worked part time hours at both. Being a reporter was a good experience for me because I got to know a lot of people in my small town and learned how much I love to hear & write about others, but after about a year I realized that this wasn’t the job for me.

During this time, I was also offered a new position at my other job and I finally started to love my job—at least the work part of it, but not being highly underpaid. I was back to working full time hours at this place again.

This was a new program for which I was the first writer. I wrote content for both customers and phone agents. The type of work that I did at first would be considered technical writing.

After a while, the program expanded and the corporate office hired someone at their location with the same degree I had. I don’t think the client actually knew I had a degree—either way, I was doing the work which I was qualified for while still earning the same paycheck as I did as a call center agent. I was super bummed--but so it goes when you work for a call center because you don’t actually work for the client. It was really frustrating to realize that there was no way I could move up any further as a writer with this type of client relationship at a call center.

And so I decided to look at the job as simply a way to get experience. And it was great experience. As the program became a little more organized, they gave us official role names. For a while I was an editor until they decided to only have editors at the corporate location again—another bummer. And then I was a content author.

Long story short, I wrote articles and instructions for both agents and customers. This was written for the web, so it was much like blogging where I also included pictures, etc. I created an entire glossary for the company and even drew many of the pictures myself—I was pretty proud of it and so was the company. I wrote countless articles about varied topics.

Eventually, I was the only person at my office working on this program again. I was responsible for training the entire team, of about 40 people, as we learned more and more about the program—until they delegated that task to the “trainer” of the account and so I assisted her when she needed. It was a constant shift in organization as they figured out how it should be organized using their current structure of people.

I was pretty happy that maternity leave was nearing. I worked on creating a training guide and trained the person who would fill in for me when I was gone. I tried to have everything in order and a lot of organization to the way everything worked so it would always go smoothly.

After a long day at work and after having just taken on another project, I went into labor later on that evening and baby girl was born the next day. I eventually made the final decision that I would be a SAHM and went into the office one more time to talk to my boss and give my resignation. He told me that the call center and the client were really going to miss me and if I ever wanted to come back he would hire me immediately. I’m glad that I left on such good terms.

This job showed me how much I disliked working in the “business” world. I used to have to go on business trips and sit in meetings and get through dinners out with the clients. The people were super nice & the fancy restaurants were amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I just didn’t feel like it was where I belonged. I hated the competition and the way people acted to try to move their way up. That just isn’t me—I am a genuine person and don’t fake who I am.

But I did love the challenge of my job. I loved having to research and work on technical questions. I enjoyed working through a problem with a product and then figuring out how to put it all into words so that a 5th grader could understand the process. The mental challenge was awesome and kept me from getting bored and feeling unchallenged. I loved being able to work alone but also collaborate as a team.

Overall, I think I hated more aspects of my job than I loved but it was a great experience for 7 years. I learned a lot about myself. More than anything, I learned that jobs will always disappoint you in the end so it’s important not to put your entire life and soul into the job. Faith and family are most important to me and no job will ever rob me of either—it’s all about priorities.

And so this all contributed to my decision to be a SAHM and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to do so. It means less money & expensive things, but the trade off is worth it to me. Now I am able to chase after my real dream of being a writer and publish a book. I’m just getting started!

5 comments:

  1. I also have a BA in English (writing emphasis) :) I've been a sahm for around 9 years now? Wow, time has flown! I had always planned on going back into the work force after my youngest started school, but life took an unexpected turn and I'm now a learning coach for my oldest child (virtual charter school). That, along with watching a friend's child part time, keeps me plenty busy lol.

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  2. Wow...you have been busy....you need sometime to relax. ;-)

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  3. You've been busy.

    Its definitely worth trading everything to be a stay at home mom

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  4. Thanks for sharing! I'm sure baby girl is happy that you took time off to be with her :)

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  5. I somehow missed this post! Anyway. Your pre-baby job sounds like it definitely kept you busy. I'm glad you were able to have the opportunity to stay home with your baby, and that you're happy doing so!

    I agree that faith and family are first--I do think that's contributed a bit to my lack of a strong career, but I'm okay with it. I've never wanted to have a career that demanded crazy hours of me. I'm fortunate in my current job, as my employer definitely puts faith and family first and has no problem with us taking off for family things.

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