In three-and-half years, I have survived seven bosses. I even managed to get a couple of promotions. Now, I am on boss number eight and I am questioning everything. Recently, he pulled me into a meeting and explained that my schedule—and the schedules of everyone in my company—were changing.
Previously, our hours were relatively flexible. I needed to work 40-50 hours per week to manage my staff and be on top of my sales. How I chose to accomplish those hours were at my discretion. Not anymore. Boss #8 wants me to work from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. four days a week, and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. And, whenever needed, during critical times of the month.
During this meeting, I tried to stay composed. All of our kids have sports on Saturdays. Their weeknight bedtime is 8:30 p.m. I immediately pictured my son wanting me to cook his favorite dinners: homemade macaroni and cheese, broccoli, and turkey meatballs. I thought about my bonus daughters whom I only get to see a few days a week.
Because I was raised in a chaotic family, boring routines are fantastic to me now. I live for those moments when I am cleaning lint out of the dryer and a kid comes to me for leadership or love. With the new proposed work schedule, I will have less and less of these opportunities.
I told him that I respected the needs of the company, but long term, it may not work for me.
I wondered if there was any possibility for flexibility down the line. I asked Boss #8, "What about doctors' appointments and track meets?" He answered, "Those are one-offs. We'll accommodate." Did this very nice man just call my children and all of their needs "one-offs"? One of the only things I know for certain and forever is that I am a mom.
I told him that I respected the needs of the company, but long term, it may not work for me. He asked me what I meant by long term. I explained, "I have four kids and I live 45 minutes away." His face fell in compassion or frustration.
Since the big chat, the company has slowed on implementing the rigid schedule. Perhaps the blowback was not worth it. Or, maybe they are working on a schedule that will be even worse. Fortunately, my boyfriend just secured a new position which—if all goes well—gives me and our family wiggle room.
I actually enjoy my job, but I may have to wiggle on out of it. Climbing the corporate ladder in my current company is not worth missing too many moments. My career may be lateral for a few years while I parent my ass off. I am mostly okay with that because I am a mom before I am a manager.