Up until about 6 months ago, I was working for an investigative agency of the federal government of Canada. I won’t go into the details of this job but I would say that I really did love it. It’s both challenging and mentally stimulating and the files I handled are very relatable. It’s rare for people to find jobs where they see the impact of their work on other people’s lives and so I feel fortunate that this job that I held for several years does have this perk.
However, inasmuch as I enjoyed this job, I had to leave. I left even if I was in the middle of an investigation for certain files. I left even if my team needed me to finish certain tasks. I left even if there were new employees that needed training. My files, my team, my coworkers… they needed me. But I had to leave.
I left because a tiny human needed me the most.
My new job has features that are far different from my previous job.
For one, I no longer have to do the morning commute to work. I work from home now which is great! I love the convenience of it. Plus, I get to reduce my environmental footprint.
I no longer follow a strict day-to-day schedule. My work hours are a bit more unpredictable now. I’m no longer tied to the rigidity of a 9 to 5 work schedule. In a way it’s both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it’s great to have the flexibility. On the other hand, I got used to the predictability of the schedule that comes with an office job. So when I transitioned and didn’t have this anymore, I sort of felt lost — like where do I even begin? I had a myriad of tasks but no starting point. It could easily feel disorienting. At the same time, there is no end time. Work doesn’t finish at 5pm anymore. It could go past the wee hours of the morning. Work continues on during the weekends as well, whereas before I had the weekends to unwind and forget about work.
I no longer sit in front of the computer all day. My new job requires me to be much more active now. I’m not sitting all day, holding a mouse and typing away with my keyboard. Instead, I usually find myself holding feeding bottles, high contrast books or visually stimulating objects. These are the requirements of the new job.
But if I really think about it, there are also some stark similarities.
I still work in a team setting and my team leader pretty much decides how my work day is going to look like. My team leader decides on what tasks I should prioritize over others. It’s often based on needs. The urgent ones get taken care of first. Some tasks are important but can be done later. Some are ad hoc and these get done as time permits, and in a bit more creative way. I love the variety although it’s definitely draining at times. I’m glad there are other members in my team that could take on some of these tasks especially when I feel overwhelmed. The teamwork in this new job, I must say, is A+ and is key to the success of the whole team!
The job still entails research and investigative work. My research and investigations are no longer bound by a governing federal law. The topics are different — they are now more about health and nutrition, cognitive development, simple day-to-day living, among others — but the premise is very similar. It’s being presented with a problem or a situation, and trying to see what the appropriate remedy could be.
I give a rundown of the day to other members of my team especially at the end of every day. When it’s time for me to hand over tasks to other team members, I have to make sure I give an accurate update of where I’m at with a certain task so my team members could help and pick up where I left off. I quite like this because it makes me remember how fun, albeit exhausting, the day was. Sometimes it feels like the day was so busy but at the same time as if I accomplished nothing. So when I give a recap of how the day went, it gives me some sort of affirmation that the day was indeed productive.
I do get rewarded for a job well done. I really love this part of the job. The rewards are different now though. Whereas they came in the form of promotion, raise or awards of recognition in the past; they now come in the form of a smile, a hug, an immediate end to a cry for help, and most importantly a healthy baby!
This new job is tough but I must say I’m quite enjoying it. I feel lucky because now I’ve joined millions of women who see the impact of their work on their kids’ lives everyday. The days may be endless now but the rewards surely make up for it.
While I would eventually have to return to my previous job, mothering is my forever and most favourite job. It’s the best job ever!