The “Real” Job

The Real Job

Next week I will return to the corporate workforce. After two years of freelancing I will be back in the bosom of security with a regular pay cheque, pencil skirts and the morning commute.

I am really looking forward to it. I didn’t make the decision lightly but in the end I wanted to work within a bigger organisation than I could create for myself. As an extrovert, I find working alone quite draining. The nature of freelance work meant that took on a large of number of things that weren’t closely related to my degrees. Which I loved – I learned a great deal. But the feeling that I wasn’t utilising my education and my talent kept growing.

Working from home is flexible but it’s also demanding. Work seeped into all the cracks and robbed more time from my kids that I had ever planned. Considering that I chose to work from home as a means to be more available to them, this made me so incredibly sad. That will change with a part-time role with defined edges. And, yes, it will be mean more money.

When I have told people about my plans, I have been met — more than once — with “Oh, you are going back to a real job.” Horrifyingly, I have even used the phrase myself. I wouldn’t give up the years I worked for myself. I learned things I could never learn in a corporate workplace. Those that haven’t freelanced might be dismissive, but I vow never to do so. Not to myself. Not to others.

Because it is a “real” job. The clients I had were real. The work I did for them was real. There was real value in what I did and created. Real invoices were issued and real payment ensued. I paid real tax. Real stress was involved. I worked really hard. And I faced all the real problems that every freelancer I know faces. For me, the hardest part was self-promotion. It was a real barrier that I could not overcome.

Some of the people I worked for run their own (very successful) businesses. There was no doubt a time when people regarding their endeavour as not quite a real job. For all I know, it’s possible that some people still think that. The parameters of a “real job” seem quite inflexible and tied to an office owned by someone else. No matter how lucrative or life affirming the alternative is.

I had a chilling conversation which made me realise that the more time I spent out of the corporate workplace, the less valuable my skills would be perceived by that cohort. While I had imagined my range of new experiences and willingness to try new things would be seen in a positive light, this conversation revealed that wasn’t the case. Rather that it doesn’t take long for people to pigeon-hole you based on what are doing in the now and to disregard the things you did prior. It was an eye-opener. And an attitude I hope to change within the corporate environment. There needs to be a less of a divide and more acceptance of a changing and flexible work place.

I am so grateful to the people that I met, worked with and learned from during my solo stint. I have made good friends and been in awe of the kindness and bravery that exists within the entrepreneurial space. This blog will continue and so will the relationships that I have formed.

Currently I post twice a week, and I hope to continue that.

One of the things I’m very sad to be leaving is the Styling You team. Nikki is one of the most incredible and generous people you could ever hope to meet, let alone work with. Jasmine from Petty Chuffed will be taking my place and do an amazing job. I will continue with style posts here and remain part of the lovely #everydaystyle community.

I’m also excited to be a part of a collaboration with some other mums with corporate roles on instagram — #corporatemumstyle. Because getting out of the door looking professional when you have kids is sometimes tricky, we hope to share some practical style solutions and hope you will join in with the hashtag.



Have you re-entered the corporate workplace after a stint away? How did it go? Ever have people tell you working for yourself isn’t a real job?

56 thoughts on “The “Real” Job

  1. Raychael Case says:

    All the best with returning to the corporate world. I’ve been freelance for almost 18 years now. I get the whole ‘real job’ thing with friends. In the beginning, I was seen as a free childminding service for sick days and school holidays for both family and friends. I soon had to put a stop to that and create some boundaries.

    • Robyna says:

      Ah yes, I can DEFINITELY see how that would happen (particularly around school holidays) – I didn’t have that so I’m lucky I didn’t have to put my foot down but I did go into school and volunteer etc on days I could/should have been working.

  2. Renee Wilson says:

    Hooray for #corporatemumstyle I’m so excited to be part of it! Best of luck with your return to work. I know how hard that decision must have been to make. When I was freelancing earlier this year, I experienced the same feelings/concerns that you describe above. I’ve met myself in the middle I guess. A job back in the corporate world with lesser hours to keep my skills relevant and up to date, plus I’m freelancing on the side which is teaching me a whole new range of skills. Enjoy your final week before work starts xx
    Renee Wilson recently posted…Awesome kids birthday cakes the easy way – Custom Icing giveawayMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      I’m letting the freelancing go altogether and I feel quite okay about that. I learned so much but I’d like to just breath for a little while now and concentrate on my other skills. It’s definitely a juggle! And yay for #corporatemumstyle – already lots of tags!

  3. Vanessa says:

    Congrats on the new job!
    I also am struggling with the “time out” thing at the moment. I’ve needed to prioritise a stable income over working in an area relevant to my degrees and again, that has been viewed negatively by some. But I’m finding my own way of working around that in 2017…we’ll see how it goes.

    • Robyna says:

      Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. As long as you have some other way to continue to hone your other skill-set. But it is scary how your last job is seen as the most important one – even if the ones previous to it are more relevant. I think that’s a bit of old fashioned thinking that will eventually change.

      • Vanessa says:

        It’s actually something that wildly frustrates me – I’ve had people judge my skills because I’ve had to take other jobs to pay the bills. I can’t just wait for a job in my field to appear. If that offends or bothers people then they are probably people I don’t want to work for.
        Vanessa recently posted…Health UpdatesMy Profile

  4. Bec Senyard says:

    I hope it all goes well Robyna. It can be so hard knowing what to do with work when you’re a mum and I agree, the work does creep in with family life. I guess the flexibility means you can always be there, but there are cons and pros for working in an office and working at home. I wish you all the best and will follow along with your hashtag, even though I no longer wear corporate wear, I enjoy looking at the styles.
    Bec Senyard recently posted…Partners in Construction – How to Look Stylish When You Work From HomeMy Profile

  5. deb dane says:

    Good luck. After 14 years at home with the kids (and my part time business) I have started applying for jobs. Returning to office based work after this gap will not be easy (in the sense of FINDING and getting the job) but I am looking forward to regular income, co-workers and structure to my life again. Now To get the job lol. Enjoy your new role and never let anyone suggest you were not doing real work in a real job (your employer was just YOU). Xx
    deb dane recently posted…How to incorporate spiritual practices into your daily lifeMy Profile

  6. Jenni from Styling Curvy says:

    How exciting! Congratulations and I look forward to following your new hashtag. Corporate style is not my thing and I always get enquiries about how to dress corporate, now I can point them in the direction of your hashtag.

  7. Denyse Whelan Blogs says:

    This sounds like you are more than ready to return to the corporate world. I believe it’s good to give the other parts of your life a go while you can. Staying home, working freelance and other things give us a chance to know what we like and might not like to continue. I wish in some ways my full-time work in education had allowed that but then again I could not have become promoted in the ways I did. I wish you all the very best for the future and the changes that I think you are a bit excited about too! Denyse #teamIBOT
    Denyse Whelan Blogs recently posted…Starting School in 2017. 2017.14.My Profile

  8. Deborah says:

    I hadn’t realised you were working with Nikki but can understand the need to return to the workforce.

    I tried to do the own business / freelancing thing for a while, but I’m single and have a mortgage so ultimately needed a paycheck coming in to pay the bills etc. I do envy people who can make a good salary working for themselves though!
    Deborah recently posted…My 2017 reading challengesMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      Working with Nikki has been so fabulous – as you know, she is just an amazing lady. I think if I gave myself a few more years, I probably could get my salary up but I know what that would take and I’m just not willing to ask my kids in particular to make the sacrifice. I don’t think there are truly that many “overnight” success stories. Everything is a juggle isn’t it?

  9. Amy @ HandbagMafia says:

    Sometimes I joke that I go to work for a break but what I mean is, I go for a break from mum life. At work, I’m just me. I can chat, work, go to the loo alone and drink my coffee while it’s hot! All the best with your transition xx
    Amy @ HandbagMafia recently posted…Got A Pen?My Profile

  10. Erika @ Ever-changing Life of a Mum says:

    Wishing you all the very best for your new job. I totally understand what you mean by the creep of work into family life, that’s one of the reasons why I decided to leave my role to spend more time with my family as it was becoming far too much! I hope it all goes well for you 🙂

  11. Sarah @sarahdipity says:

    I’m heading back to my ‘real job’ in a few weeks after a year of long service leave and working from home. Like you, I’m looking forward to it and can totally relate to what you’ve said here
    Sarah @sarahdipity recently posted…ReadyMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      So many women I know turn their hand to working for themselves to find more time with their kids, only to find that it doesn’t really work that way.

  12. Jenni @unclutter my world says:

    Congratulations & enjoy this next chapter in your life. I to have had the questioning looks and the snide remarks about opting out of the real work force and deciding to set up my own blog & business. Working from home for yourself is not easy and some times I think is the more challenging option, but it’s the path that I’ve decided to take at the moment and am really enjoying the challenge.

  13. Cat@lifethroughthehaze says:

    How exciting Robs! I can’t wait to hear all about your return to work. Isn’t it funny how society views freelancing v corporate. You will be amazing at your new job. What industry?
    I am looking forward to #corporatemumstyle I know you will be gorgeous!
    Cat@lifethroughthehaze recently posted…A letter to my husbandMy Profile

  14. Jo ~ Lifestyle Fifty says:

    Congratulations on your new job and many best wishes for the next chapter – and next adventure! It was lovely meeting you in Melbourne that day, and I hope we meet again some which way, but until then I’ll still be lurking around your blog 😉 which I enjoy very much.
    Jo ~ Lifestyle Fifty recently posted…To Do Lists or Not To Do Lists?My Profile

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