"Lean In." I read the book. I was enamored
with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s words. They spoke to me. It was like she
had taken up residence in my brain and everything she said was meant for me and
only me. I was inspired and the whole
message made me want to lean even further in than I already had been leaning.
After a few
months of leaning I started to look like this:
Photograph by MJJ Productions, Inc.
realized how miserable I was. So I went
the opposite direction and “Leaned Out” in a big way. I quit my six-figure job. The vice president position that I had spent
15 years working for no longer seemed like a prize. It seemed like a big fat waste of my
life. I felt under-appreciated and
under-valued, and the time I had with my kids felt rushed and empty.
I’m going to
go ahead and write your nasty comments for you now:
“Fuck off, I’ll take
under-appreciated and under-valued for six-figures”
“You looked like Michael Jackson and
were making six-figures?!? Impressive!”
“I don’t understand your
problem. Take your money and shove it.”
Instead of leaning in, I kind of twisted and turned until the pieces came together in a way that works for me and my family.
is, it doesn’t matter how much money you make. If you wake up with a pit in your stomach every day, money doesn’t fix
that. Leaving my job was a huge
decision. I was the main breadwinner of
our family and we needed my paycheck. It
was not a luxury, it was a necessity. However, my health was starting to suffer from the stress of being a
full-time working mom with such a demanding career.
I quit with
no solid plan. Just a gut feeling that
something drastic needed to change and it would all work out. I’m a huge planner, so this was completely
out of character for me, but I had reached the breaking point.
In the past
three months, my life has COMPLETELY turned around in the most incredible
way. Instead of leaning in, I kind of
twisted and turned until the pieces came together in a way that works for me
and my family. I became authentic.
client reached out to me and asked me what I wanted to do now that I’m
“retired.” I didn’t give him a sales
pitch or a PowerPoint presentation. I
told him I actually did want to work, but I want to be productive and use my
time and energy in a way that’s beneficial to me and my clients. Bada-bing, bada-boom … he signed a contract that
day. I now manage his advertising, from
home, on East Coast hours so I’m done with any heavy lifting before my kids wake
up in the morning and handle minor emails throughout the day.
else can I twist and turn my way into?!? I’ve always loved writing. I
decided that’s something I’d love to incorporate into my new life. I reached out to CAbi Clothing and told them I have a background in advertising and driving sales (not a lie,
just a creative way to solicit my services). Bada-bing, bada-boom … they gave me a writing assignment and that’s now
turned into me writing their blog content, weekly email blast and social media
content. I do all of the writing at
night, after my kids are asleep.
shit is working! I’m actually making a
living doing things I really like! What
else do I like?!? I like moms! “Hey, mom.me, I’m a writer … can I write for
you?!?” Bada-bing, bada-boom … you’re
reading this aren’t you?
CEO Sabrina Parsons wrote an article saying “leaning in” isn’t the answer. She agrees with Sandberg’s stance on
decreasing the gender gap, but argues, “What needs to change is how and when
women work.” I think she hits the nail
on the head. I don’t work less now than
I did before (OK, maybe I do work less, but that’s by choice). More importantly, I work smarter. I juggle East Coast hours and late
nights. But in return, I get quality time
with my kids during the day and I’ve given up the ulcer of my corporate
amazing. We can multitask like it’s
nobody’s business. Now is the time to
get creative and determine what works for you. Maybe that means busting your butt at the office. Maybe that means being home full-time. Or maybe that means you twist and turn to
find a balance that works for you on your terms. You might be surprised to find that others
will twist and turn to make that work for you.