My son is going into kindergarten this year, and I wish I could say that the past five years were easy breezy. Deciding to start a family had long lasting effects on my career and income. I am not sure I’ve shared this story before, but I wanted to talk about those first weeks after my son was born and how my career went on a sudden change. I wish I had read this book, Work Pause Thrive, before giving birth. I would have given me much-needed tips to pause for parenthood without killing my career!
Maternity leave is a privilege and not a right (even if it should be). At the company I worked for at the time, there were no opportunities to buy into short-term disability or any kind of paid leave. The only way I could take time off was to “earn” paid vacation with a maximum of three weeks. Can you imagine going back to work three weeks after delivery? Well, I lived it. I was absolutely destroyed when I returned to the office, and my work was less than spirited. What made matters worse was that I was fired five days after coming back. Maybe I shocked them by returning to work (perhaps they thought I would decide to not come back), maybe I wasn’t as attentive an employee since I just HAD a baby. Who knows. It was devastating. I was already severely underpaid at this position, yet it was at a non-profit that I could grow with.
Perhaps the most frustrating part about this is that I returned to work before daycare would even accept my little guy. Most daycares are for children six weeks and older, and my son was just three weeks. My husband and I juggled work schedules, and I asked if I could work a variety of hours instead of the normal 9 to 5. Perhaps the change in my schedule made it difficult to have me as an employee. Author Lisen Stromberg can relate.
When I flipped through the pages of Work Pause Thrive, I immediately felt a connection to the author. She describes how she worked for a company that wouldn’t allow part-time or flexible work. Lisen Stromberg is an award-winning journalist, sought-after speaker, and CEO and founder of PrismWork, a culture innovation consultancy. In her book, Work PAUSE Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career, she reveals how trailblazing women have disrupted the traditional career paradigm to achieve their personal and professional goals and provides readers with a blueprint for how they, too, can integrate kids with their career.
When you read this book, you’ll learn:
- Who pauses and how and why
- How pausing can enrich both your career and your life
- How to innovate your own path by strategically incorporating a pause into your career
- What we can—and need—to do as a society to make it pausing possible for more people to achieve their personal and professional goals
What I learned by taking an unexpected pause was that I was able to spend more time with my family. I could focus on what I truly wanted to do and not what I felt like I HAD to do. It was an eyeopening experience that led to professional and personal growth. Since then I’ve launched my own business, was a full-time blogger, and now have a fulfilling job in marketing that offers a flexible schedule with true work-life balance.