• Milly Skiles

Thoughts on Returning to Work After an Absence

Coming back to work after being a stay-at-home mom kind of feels like waking up from a coma in the middle of 2020. Things look the same on the surface, but really everything has changed.

For one thing, the process of finding work has changed significantly from what I last experienced. Scrolling through hundreds of job posts on multiple platforms, revamping my resume, building a website, setting up a business, networking, staying organized, learning to manage my time. There's already a lot to learn.

But coming back to work in August 2020? Well, that's just bananas. No one goes to an office. Meetings are entirely on Zoom. It's very two-dimensional. And that's just the beginning.

The new normal was – and still is – inventing itself everyday. I have a friend who took the “business-on-top” Zoom look to its most slothful extreme, wearing only socks and underwear on the bottom for most of the day. My own kids often attend school in bed, wearing the same flannel PJs for days on end. And I let them. Because ... why not?

A lot of the rules are being pushed firmly out the window, and it's fascinating to watch modern business culture evolve.

For years I had juggled work calls at home while pretending my poop-smeared kids didn’t exist a mere two feet away. I became an expert at toggling the mute button to cut off their screams at just the right moment. Now, it's considered an accepted – nay, required – badge of honor to have your kids bomb your video calls.

In a strange sense, 2020 has leveled the playing field for me.

While women have been dropping from the workplace, here I am, a salmon swimming upstream, looking to onramp my career. Letting my family fend for themselves and closing the door to my room so I can work is akin to going on vacation. I love it. It helps me set boundaries, and I get to feel very busy and important.

For the past five months I have been working my ass off laying a strong foundation for my career goals. In reality, all it's really done is bring me to the start line.

Making a lateral career move from journalism to marketing takes time, but I have learned SO much every step of the way. I’m still chomping at the bit, scratching out meager gigs and filling my time by writing blog posts. But I have big plans for the new year.

I recently participated in an intention-setting workshop for 2021. The leader guided us through a journal writing session and offered ideas for possible goals: slowing down, making time for family. Not me. My goal was: “I hope I get so busy with work I choke on it.”

A new year is approaching. I just reorganized all of my files. My pencils are sharpened, my desk is arranged just so. And I am ready.

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