I loved every job I have ever had. Well, except for Brown's Chicken. I liked that one, but I was saturated in grease every night when I came home. That part I didn't really like so much.
I've been a cashier, a teller, a receptionist, a waitress at a karaoke bar, I worked in a factory that made switches for airplanes, a sales associate, I sold homes, I marketed real estate. I built websites. I've loved each job.
For 12 years, I sold and marketed real estate. After my son was born in 2006, my company let me work from home. He still went to daycare; I wanted him to have someone's full attention. But I was close by. I loved that. I worked hard and was successful. In 2008, I made more money than I had ever dreamed of making: a six-figure income. (Not boasting-I make less than a quarter of that now. I say this with a smile.) I was on top of my game.
When the crash of the housing market truly began to affect the company I worked for, the layoffs began. It was scary. The company would call everyone into the office and line everyone up. "This line will go into conference room A. This other line over here, conference room B."
I was in conference room A.
"The people in conference room B are all getting let go today. Sorry. But the good news, everyone in this room, you all still have a job."
I wasn't really sure if that was a blessing. I was grateful. But I couldn't help but think of the people in conference room B.
I can recall about seven times the day played out like this. It was nerve-wrecking. I'd make the drive to Hoffman Estates thinking, "Is today my day?" My position was unique in that I was the only one who handled online marketing. But someone could be trained for the position. No one is ever truly safe.
In 2011, I was called in for a private meeting. The company was combining internet marketing and print marketing. The position required me to work in the office in Hoffman Estates every day. I was offered the position. It was enticing. The office had a view of the Chicago skyline in the faint distance.
This was the start of negotiations. I negotiated; three days in the office, two from home. They said no. I negotiated the hours. As a single mom, daycare from 6am to 7pm was a huge pill to swallow. They would not budge on the hours. I cried in the shower. I prayed. They gave me a three-day deadline to make my choice.
I called into a conference call to report my decision. My boss, the division president, and the regional president were on the phone. My hands shook. I kept my voice level.
"I've made my decision. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I have loved my time with each of you. I must decline. This is not a match for me."
I knew it was right in my heart, but it hurt and was scary.
I dove into my plan. To make websites. To market local businesses. I was doing that already, but I needed to amp it up. And to be a better mom to my son. I had no idea how much I had missed out on with my son. Just to be able to fully shift my attention to him. It was a gift in disguise.
We had to make a lot of lifestyle changes. I eventually sold my house to move into something less financially draining. Our house now is as big as a minute. I can probably twirl around in a circle and touch everything we own. It's just enough. I've budgeted tightly. There's been sacrifice.
But in the end, for me, it's brought huge perspective. What do I really want? What am I willing to sacrifice to achieve it?
My job now is to be a mom first and work around my son. I work every day. Before he gets up. After he goes to bed. While he is at school. While he is visiting his Dad. Weekends, too. And I love it.
The builder I worked for is officially done in the Chicago market as of May this year. My ending there would have happened - but without a choice.
Even today, at the end of the day, I can still say, I love my job.
Life is short. Change it up. And love what you do. Whatever it is.