Thursday, February 5, 2015

Transitioning

Every week should be Last Week.

I've had lunches with old colleagues, had a chance to have completely personal and not work-related conversations with people I really like and respect. Emails and notes keep coming from unexpected places. And my boss is throwing me a happy hour tomorrow. I think people might even show up.

Gosh dudes, sniff, I didn't know you cared.

But amid the love fest, there are some reoccurring themes that I'm trying to process.

My new job comes with a title. One with a C in the front. And when I say it out loud, you can actually see some folks pause, recalculate and look at me in a totally different light. Never mind it is essentially the Exact. Same. Thing that I'm doing and have been doing for the last handful of years. Never mind that I am the exact same person with the exact same skill set that you already know.  In fact, when I met with my Board last week after they heard the news, the Chair actually said, out loud, "Wow, your stock has really risen."

a.) who says that?
b.) what does that tell me about my stock now?

One of the lunches I had this week was with a friend who just transitioned from an executive assistant to an executive. And she sadly affirmed that the exact same thing happened to her. Same person. Same skills. New title. People reassess. I think that's kind of shitty.

The new job is based in a different city than where we are now and will require me to be apart from the boys a few days a week, at least temporarily. We're keeping our place here (because we love it and its cheap) and getting a much smaller place to perch in the new city, which is about 2 hours away. M will get D to and from daycare or grandparents the days I'm away. Primary daycare will be here, for now. We'll decide where we want to spend the weekends as they come. We think we have the logistics sorted out. But of course, we won't know until we try.

I feel like I've given this explanation at least 2 dozen times in the last week. At least. It's what everyone wants to know. But what about D? How will D feel about all this? Have you thought about D?

This week, the state House and Senate are in session and I've spent a good part of my mornings just going up and saying goodbye and thank you to some of my favorites.  Several of the younger (male) members have new babies at home. At home. As in, not here. As in not in the same place they are spending 2-3 days a week in. Weekly.

Why is no one asking them these questions? When one legislator showed me a picture of his 4-month old, I didn't even think to say, "but did you keep him in mind when you were deciding to run for re-election this session? What about the baby? Who's going to take care of the baby" Yet, if I were talking to one of the (sadly, very few) women in the building, I bet they would have been asked that at every single campaign stop.

And every time I go on to explain our moving plan, it gives me an opportunity to question it. To judge myself, in anticipation of the listener judging me. I'm pro-active like that. And I remind myself that kids are amazingly resilient and adaptable. That there are plenty of families who live and work in different places and make it work. That this is all temporary....

All I know is that I have at least 25-30 more years in my career. And I'm done where I am. And I'm excited about where I'm going. And if it works, awesome. And if it doesn't, I've proven to myself that I can make a change. I'm ready for this change.


4 comments:

Noemi James said...

This is such an important post. These issues, these ways of thinking, these expectations of women... these conversations need to happen, we need to talk about this stuff.

I think it's AWESOME that you are doing this, that your family is making this work. I am so excited for you. I can't wait to see how it goes. I'll be cheering you on, from the other side of the country. Let us know how it goes!

m said...

Dear noemi, thank you. Thank you so so much for that affirmation.

Mali said...

Congratulations on the new job. I'm so glad you're excited about the new opportunity.

I was horrified at what your Chair said. I like to think that I would have responded something like, "no, my stock has always been highly valued by those in the know. But most people didn't buy at the right time." But I wouldn't have. I would have thought of it - or something much better - later that night when I was fuming!

I had a former boss make a comment like that when he heard I was Chair of the Board of a company he knew. His loss!

I know though if I had these questions, I think I'd revert to sarcasm. And yes, it infuriates me that no-one ever asks the men these questions.

nicoleciomek said...

congrats on your awesome new position and ignore these other people's comments.

It is sad to me that women can nearly be judged for getting better jobs and that it is seen almost in a negative light.

I started working for myself at age 31, and by age 33 have built a successful consultancy. But, I rarely talk to my friends about it because it feels in appropriate. I keep sensing this is partly due to the fact that I am a woman.

We still have very negative ways of thinking about women in the work place.

So congrats on all your awesome achievements! This is an exciting new journey unfolding in front of you and I'm glad to hear you are following your dreams and your ambitions!

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