My First Real Job
My first real job was as an associate at a CVS Pharmacy in Detroit Michigan. I was 15 years old, the exact age I was able to legally work. I had been waiting for this day to come for ages.
I will never forget the day I started this job. I was so thrilled! Working meant I was independent, mature, responsible and I got to earn my own money. Until then, I was so disciplined with saving my allowance at the end of each week and deciding what to spend it on. Now I could work more and save even more! It was liberating and exhilarating to say the least.
The day I started my job it was raining. Cats and dogs to be in fact. It was a cold, bitter Michigan day. The normally crisp and colourful leaves on the roads were damp, flat and beige. There was no glistening snow and no bright shining sun, just a wet and grey day. But this did not get me down. What did irritate me is that I didn’t yet have my drivers license (only my permit) so my parents had to drive me to work.
I arrive to the slow, quiet pharmacy, make my way to the back of the store and enter the managers room. I was told to go here on my first day of work in order to get my name badge.
The first task handed to me was to use the pricing gun to price vitamins and place them on the shelf. I took it so seriously and I felt so incredibly proud to be using such an important tool for my job. As far as my naïve high school self was concerned, this is where real life finally started.
CHOOSING to Work in Motherhood
Fast forward nearly 20 years. I am a mom to two boys, and I am a happy entrepreneur. How did I get here? Let’s talk about purpose and motherhood, shall we? Loaded topic I know but hear me out.
As I mother, I inevitably have so much purpose. Without me these babies wouldn’t even be here! I am their source, love, life line and support – alongside their dada of course. But for years after becoming a mother, my innate “work-loving self” had me battling with the question of “was this my only purpose now? And is it enough for me?” The short answer is no. The long answer is layered, complicated and, depending on my audience here, a tad controversial.
Deciding to work as a mother came with many obstacles to overcome – who would take care of my kids? What if they get sick? What work can I do to offer some relative flexibility? In a nutshell, this is how I came to be a #mompreneur and why I love it so much.
I Work Best Independently
While I was so thrilled to finally get a real job when I was 15, I don’t think it lasted long for me. And neither did any “real job” thereafter. Besides working for myself or for clients, my “real jobs” have never lasted me beyond 9 months. There are many reasons why this is so, however, one of the biggest reasons is I work best independently and at my own pace (which, for the record, is usually a far faster pace than a normal working environment).
Working in a group of people is exhausting for me. I feel strapped by the need to over-communicate things, I feel discouraged by how things take longer, and frankly, I like to be the one to make the decisions. This means I am not the best team-player. To some people this might be a very bad thing, and for many jobs I attempted, it was! But the good thing is, I am a leader. I am independent, self-motivated, ambitious and I like to get SH*T done and NOW.
Knowing your strengths and accepting your weaknesses is KEY to succeeding in your life both personally and professionally. I am so grateful that by my (nearly) mid-thirties, I finally accept myself for who I am, and I unashamedly honour my strengths.
Multi-tasking & Time Management Leads to Efficiency
Even now as I type this, I am in my gym clothes (yet I still haven’t exercised). I am home in my room, my laundry is in the wash, my youngest son is asleep in his room. I have a to-do list right next to me and, all day long, I will re-asses my list of priorities in each moment, etching away at this list as I go. This is a mad skill guys and I am proud of it!
For years I felt so guilty that I just couldn’t find happiness in working for someone else’s company 9AM-5PM. I hated having to get dressed properly for my day by 7AM regardless of how I felt. I hated having to go to the office if I didn’t feel well, or if I had no meetings. Just for the sake of showing up!
I LOVE working at home in my gym clothes all day. I am more productive than ever. I love being able to call my medical aid at 11AM and not worry about infringing on my company’s time or picking my kids up early because I want to. This is my life, I am running it, I am choosing what is important and, most of the time, I get far more done than if I was a full-time marketing manager at someone else’s office. I also know this because I have done it before. I have taken those desk jobs, the salary, the team meetings, aimed for the KPI’s etc.
What did I see? I saw my colleagues sitting miserably at their desks, aching for their next smoke break because they just didn’t feel motivated to get their tasks done since they had 8 hours ahead of them to do it. And when you get home from that mindless time-consuming job? Do you squeeze in your run, have a play date with your kids, cook a beautiful meal? For me the answer was no. In those desk jobs I became a slave to the routine and was made lethargic and unmotivated by the entire process. Because when you’re only job is to show up for 8 hours a day, you somehow lose motivation to get it all done in timely manner, as you still have to show up the next day anyways.
I Like Being Home & Working at Coffee Shops
I am a morning person. But that is besides the point. The point is, I LOVE hearing the delicate sounds of the birds waking up, seeing the rays of the early morning sun shining through my window shades, smelling the first cup of coffee brewing as I sort through my thoughts and get ready for the new day. I love being in my personal space, finding creativity in my natural every day environment and entering a rhythm that just feels meant to be.
And when I get tired of the monotony of home, or I need to escape the looming pile of dishes or unmade beds in order to get my word count out or prepare for my next talk, I go to a coffee shop. Being amongst other entrepreneurs, seeing moms feed their babies banana bread while they nurse their 5th coffee of the day, watching people rush to get lunch during their daily work grind, fills me with a sense of connectivity, inspiration and joy, all the while continuing to enjoy my own quiet solitude amongst the beautiful noise about me.
Honouring My Purpose & Choosing to Design a Life I Love
I don’t remember any other moments at that first job, other than the very first day. It is ingrained in my memory like the yellow marker stain on our living room wall, faint but still there and never allowing me to forget the feeling of being in the moment that it happened.
What followed that job was a series of different jobs from babysitting to promotional modelling to business owner and so much more in between. Despite the journey and all the changes, one thing that has never changed is my passion for independence, working, and having a purpose. And I have never honoured or embraced these truths more than I have in motherhood.