It’s been 4 weeks since I took a full-time 40+ hour a week job at TNT Sales and I thought I would update you guys on how it’s all going.
Or how it’s not going.
Because I get asked this question a lot: “How’s that new job of yours?”
Let’s start by saying that running a business and working 45 hours a week at a job with a 30-60 minute commute (depending on traffic) is seriously no joke. If I were a single person this schedule would be hard. When you add in my three kids and my also working more-than-full-time husband, well, things can get tricky.
Like now for instance. I had a late meeting at work so today I left the house at 7:15am to get to work by 8am, worked all day (minus a lunch break when my mom brought me lunch and some Kuhn Const. work I need to help her with), had a 6pm meeting and finally left the office at 7pm. By the time I should have gotten home I would have been gone for more than 12 hours. But instead I had to go pick up Bailey and her friends from soccer, practice ran late so by the time we got home from dropping Kate off it was after 8:30pm. My parents stopped by to give hugs to Bails (who leaves tomorrow for her first sleep-away church camp with The Gathering), I talked to my kids for a bit, got them in bed, talked to Chris for a few minutes and now it’s 10pm. I’m at my desk and finally eating dinner as I type this. After I finish this blog post, answer a few emails and get 5 orders complete it will probably be about midnight when I collapse into bed.
This is not a super unusual day – it’s quickly becoming the norm and school hasn’t started yet so it’s just going to get busier.
But at the same time it’s awesome.
I am cherishing my kids again.
I haven’t felt this much love for my kids in years. I used to resent when they came home from school because I loved my quiet time at my desk working so when they got home I was always semi-grumpy that I had to be a mom again. I never wanted to play with them or interact with them like I used to (if you’ve read my blog you might remember I used to be awesome about art projects and doing cool things with them!). In some ways I had kind of withdrawn a bit I think. Now I come home and they leap into my arms! I sit down and talk to them because I am genuinely excited to hear all about their days. I snuggle with them on the couch if we have time or last night (my one normal night at home this week) we played Ticket To Ride until 9:30pm, which is really late for them, because we were all having so much fun! Being away so much more than I ever have before makes me enjoy the time I get with them – like I’m coming out of a fog. I think the fog is that I put in a lot of really hard parenting years. Working two jobs is no joke but neither is three under three. That shit was hard. No sleep and lots of babies wears on a person even though I really loved that time of life. I am good with babies. Then suddenly they were independent and I could breathe and I think part of me kind of shut down. I was exhausted from being needed so much so I tucked parts of me away and became a hermit (in a sense). Now I feel like maybe I needed that rest so I can enjoy them again and being away makes it even easier to love them!
But it’s really hard to juggle two jobs too. Like how I have three sessions on Sunday. That’s insane. I never book three sessions in one day! But Saturday we are picking up Bailey from camp so our entire day is shot and I am blessed with clients that actually still want me to capture their families so I have to find time to get them in!
I was listening to a podcast (Start Up) and they were talking about how as they were starting their business they knew for at least a year they would be working long hours. So they went in knowing it wouldn’t just be a 40 hour work week. But slowly they found themselves at the office past dinner time. Then on the weekends. Then they were giving up all semblance of a social life and staying at work almost all night sometimes. They were exhausted and knew they were pushing too hard but things had to get done and someone had to do them! PJ, one of the hosts, said that it came down to finally giving up so much sleep that he realized he had given every single waking minute to work and was creeping into the few hours of sleep when his breaking point finally came. There just weren’t enough hours in the day.
That’s kind of where I am. It feels like nothing is ever done. Not even close. I leave work with a to do list for the next day and I come home to an ever-growing to do list for Fresh Art. My kids don’t get near enough of my time and it’s hard to even carve out time to watch tv much less see friends. The laundry, chores and everything house related has been on C’s shoulders but next week when he’s back at work full time I have no idea how it’s all going to get done. My mom mentioned a laundry service which feels crazy but also something I might actually consider! I have new client emails screaming at me to get answered. I am completely ignoring Fresh Art’s FB page and this blog is as dead as the thirsty plants dying on our front porch because I’m the only one who waters them.
BUT I still see blessings every day too.
Like how Chris and I have so much more to talk about. Have you ever heard the Chris Rock stand-up routine where he’s talking about his wife and he says something like, “she tells the same damn story over and over again so I told her to go get herself kidnapped so she’d have something new to talk about!” I am butchering it but you get the idea. Being gone for 9-10 hours a day and figuring out a new job and meeting new people gives me lots to come home and talk about! it’s been really great sharing all that’s going on with him – especially b/c I have been talking on the phone less so mostly he’s the only one I’m talking to about work. Before, during the day, I would talk to my mom, my sister, friends, etc. and by the time Chris got home I was pretty much talked out. I didn’t need to vent about my day because I already had. Multiple times! Now I listen to podcasts while I drive (I am OBSESSED with podcasts and staying off the phone is so much safer!) and have no time to be on the phone during the day so while my other relationships are suffering a little (thank goodness for texting!) I think my marriage will grow stronger.
I’m also learning an insane amount at work. Insane. SO technically I’m the Marketing Director at TNT Sales. But even more technically is that I basically take care of their entire web presence, advertising accounts, internal marketing (clients), external marketing, social media, etc. It’s a lot. And while I understand most of that fairly well I’ve also had to figure a TON out as I go. First of all, his budget is a lot bigger than mine ever was for Fresh Art so things like advertising on the radio are completely new for me. Second, I walked in knowing nothing about the trucking industry! I understand how photographers use social media but I had NO IDEA how truck drivers do. I’ve read more articles, listened to more podcasts and experimented more with social media than I ever have before. I’m also crunching numbers and watching analytics for the first time! As long as Fresh Art had clients booked I didn’t really care what my Twitter analytics were. Now I have spread sheets designed to record different forms of data so I can show my boss that my job is worthwhile!
Honestly, that has been the most fun – learning so much! It makes the days go by fast (usually) and it’s exciting to bring ideas and plans home to use for Fresh Art. Of course, I have no time to implement them around here but hopefully that will change.
I have blog posts in my head about all the things I want to share with you guys from how I manage so many social media accounts (for several different businesses) to which podcasts I love the most to awesome articles I’ve found. It’s funny because our Speaker Series next week is on social media and I could definitely teach it now!
SO anyway. I just wanted to check in and let you all know I’m still alive. I get asked a lot how work is going and I usually tell them it’s fine or great or I’m making it all work the best I can. Because people just want a quick and happy answer. But what I really want to say is that it’s a struggle. That most days I feel really guilty leaving the kids again. That most days I feel like I’m doing everything wrong at work. That most days i’m definitely letting clients down at Fresh Art. That most days I wonder if a steady paycheck is really worth it. That some days I cry on the way to work or on the way home or that I lose sleep worrying about things or that I’m so tired my eyes always hurt and I live on Excedrin. But that I also feel this invigoration for life. That I feel more alive lately because my brain is taking in so much new information and I love learning! That the extra money is helping our family in incredible ways already and that Chris and I haven’t fought about money in weeks. That I’ve hired new people at Fresh Art so clients are well taken care of even if I’m busy.
“How’s that new job?” is such a loaded question. It’s great and amazing and a blessing and hard and a struggle and stressing me out all at the same time.
I guess that’s just life. The good, the bad and all the in-between.
So pretend like you asked me how work was and instead of telling you that it’s going well I grabbed your arm and took you to the coffee shop down the street to take the time to REALLY tell you how it’s all going in my life right now. Because we’re friends and you care.
Thanks to everyone that has asked me how it’s going. I appreciate that question and hope you can understand that my answer is so loaded down it took an hour to write what barely scratches the surface of it all. I’m just so glad you cared enough to ask.