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.