Should I pursue my career goals or prioritize raising my family? This is a question that many women will face at some point. But do they have to choose one? Or can they truly have it all?
For me, the answers to these questions have become clearer over time. I think you can have it all; I just chose to not have it all at once.
At the pinnacle of my career, I chose to step out of the corporate world and focus singularly on the baby that my husband and I were about to welcome. Friends and coworkers questioned my decision to leave since I was, at the time, ranked number one in the country for major account sales at a nationally known Professional Employer Organization, which is a company that specializes in human resources management. It seemed like a lot to give up, but my husband and I were certain that it was the best decision for our family.
That is not to say that there was no sacrifice. I was leaving behind a job I loved. I was saying goodbye to a workplace filled with people I appreciated and admired. And I was letting go of an income that was beyond lucrative.
Also, there was the challenge of the career path before me. How long before I would return to work? And would I return to the same field? How much would the landscape of PEO sales change while I was changing diapers?
16 short years later, many of those questions have been answered for me. I loved every minute spent at home raising my five children, but now I’m ready to return to work. And I feel much more ready to do so, now that I’m handing my oldest son real car keys, rather than a set of plastic ones.
Eager and driven to find the right job, I began my search by contacting my former CEO. He and I worked together under the corporate umbrella of a Fortune 500 company that had acquired his PEO in 1997. Since then, he had left to start his own PEO company, AccessPoint Human Resources in Farmington Hills, to provide a more personalized approach for smaller employers.
I was delighted when he invited me to join him for an interview. And I was even happier to learn that AccessPoint was looking for an experienced person. Essentially, I was given my old job back. And it was my former boss, welcoming me back into the work force.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my transition back to work. In fact, my years spent parenting haven’t detracted from what I offer, but rather have given me new context and depth of understanding, which will serve me well in my sales career.
I understand that my situation has been ideal, and I am very grateful. Many moms, ready to return to work after an extended maternity leave, will do what I did and begin their job search with a former employer. But even when this isn’t possible, today’s technology makes it easier than ever to expand your employment options.
Online resources abound and range from community enrichment programs to online university classes. When you’re ready to go back to work, the work force will be ready to have you.
If I could give moms one message, it would be this: You can have it all, even if you put your career on hold for a time. As I look back on my 16 years spent at home, I have no regrets. And as I look forward to stepping back into a career I love, I have a wide smile on my face. The future seems very bright and promising — both for me, and my family.
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