On work-life balance decisions and Starting from Scratch with Mae Singerman
I connected with Mae after her post "broke the internet." It was like what she wrote was what so many wanted to say, think, allow themselves to do. She had over 14000 people reacting to what she wrote. She writes:
"I left a job I had for seven years and got a new one. I didn't move up or get promoted. The opposite, actually. I moved out of a management role. I stopped supervising and managing consultants, took a pay cut, no longer have decision making power over anything significant and lost my precious Director title. In return, I take pride in the daily accomplishments of administrative work. I no longer spend 5+ hours a day in zoom meetings, work in the evenings, talk to my therapist about work, have email on my cell phone or stress about taking a day off. With two young kids, a mom with dementia and an interest in being a human outside of work, it was the right decision".
What was the trigger for change?
"It's been building up for sure. I'm a helper by nature, and I had a big job. I also carried a lot of the team's emotional energy and took on more official and unofficial responsibilities. With that came low energy at the end of the day, late 10 PM dinners, and just an overall feeling that there was too much going on. One day I got sick. It was nothing too exotic, but I all of a sudden thought I might have been sick because I'm not happy with my work-life balance and mental health, and with two young kids, a mom with dementia - I had to prioritize that."
Mae was laughing. "You know when you are sick and Google your symptoms, and it is always stress-related? My illness had zero relation to mental wellness, but I decided it was and that it's a sign I needed change".
How did you plan your next move and created "The New You"?
Mae was initially looking for a recruiter role, thinking it's a good starting job she'd be great at as she's excellent with people and loves to connect and help them. Researching and learning more about the work to be done, Mae realized it wouldn't support the work-life balance she was looking for.
Mae then decided to activate her network and found a more project administrative role.
How's your work-life balance now?
"I exercise, eat well, I spend time with my family, I take the day off if my kids are off. Oh, and the biggest change I charge my phone in the kitchen and don't wake up with it in my hand!"
Who is on your personal board of directors and supported you through this decision?
I have many people I trust, but this was very clear. People don't want to see you miserable, and I was that annoying person complaining all the time, so I took it as a personal mission to make a change.
What do you think resonated so much in your post that so many responded so well?
"I think COVID helped. Several years ago, people would think I'm crazy for leaving such a big job and making a drastic career change. Now everyone understands or wants to have my courage".
The book "Starting from Scratch" recommends that when managing change to let go of old baggage? do you agree?
"Yes! I was actually thinking how I'd properly and truly say goodbye. What worked well was a long notice period and a 10-page long memo for the person who replaced me. Before I left, I was offered to stay on a contract for 20/hours a day which I knew would never work for me as I'd again work more. We stayed on good terms, and I'm there to support, but as it's not a paid job, we have a healthy relationship of connecting only when it's absolutely necessary. This allows me to really live how I set the plan to be."
Regrets, second thoughts?