We live in the 21st century and boy am I glad! I have an office job… well sort of. I set up an events company with my business partner 18 months ago and have never looked back.
I’ve worked for several companies in my time climbing the ranks, some who offered flexible working and others who didn’t. Staff morale (especially in women) was higher in the former let me tell you.
We live in a society now where women CAN have the senior roles, the careers and the 6 figure salaries. We’re up there with the men (in some cases… not all!) technology may have advanced but science is pretty finite and it’s still us women that give birth. Which appears to put us at a disadvantage in the eyes of some companies.
I planned to, and was keen to, go back to work (it’s true what they say… being a parent is the hardest job you’ll ever do!) but my employer didn’t see the benefit of flexible working hours and with nursery fees at a whopping 1k a month I needed to re-think my strategy.
So I set to work with my friend Clare and shortly after we put our minds to it RubyBlosse events was born. I work from a home office now which, I love. I don’t commute daily, I don’t spend an extortionate amount of cash on daily coffees and Pret lunches. I don’t deal with office politics. I get up, make a cup of tea and crack on. I work hard, I work smart, I work the hours I need to. We work in events, often working hours are long, but when you work for yourself you don’t resent those long days, you feel empowered by them. Some days I don’t need to work at all and I don’t need to answer to anyone on those days. My washing doesn’t pile up (I even get to keep up with Home and Away… shhhh that’s our little secret).
I owe my thanks to the 70’s and 80’s (and the 60’s for the birth of my wonderful business partner!) The invention of the mobile phone and the World Wide Web. Big shout out to Martin Cooper and Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Hats off to you chaps. I can literally work wherever takes my fancy and nobody is any the wiser. In fact my business partner once sent me a card which has pride of place in my office which says ‘when you work from home you only have to sound dressed at 9.30 in the morning’
It’s true, working from home takes discipline. It’s not for everyone. You need focus, determination and self motivation in the bucket loads. But those of you that have cracked it you’re likely to cite that you’re less stressed, have a better work/life balance and don’t suffer from those Sunday night blues. In 2011 Staples conducted a survey which show some really positive results including a huge decrease in stress levels and increases in productivity. Win win.
Of course there are days when working from home is tough… when juggling family life and work doesn’t quite hit the right balance (ref pic!). I recently shared a story in the pub which I’ll share with you too… we were doing some home renovations and my quiet (child free) office space was under attack as we took deliveries of new sofas. It’s okay, I can get wifi in the lounge, I de-camped. When I received a call I desperately scrambled from the lounge (with cbbc’s music offering as my background noise) leaving the toddler with daddy day care and headed towards the office. Naturally I answered the call en route and when I closed the door to create a professional zone I realised my husband had taken it off the hinges to negotiate sofa movement. So if dealing with a toddler isn’t hard enough, sometimes you have to juggle whole doors too. There was another day (before my child could talk and continually repeat ‘mummy mummy mummy’ whilst on a call) when I had to hang up on a client because my daughter decided the toilet duck disc in the toilet bowl would be her lunch. She may have smelt ocean fresh for the rest of the day but she thankfully wasn’t hurt in the process. I may not feel the guilt that others feel when they have to leave their children to go into the office but a mother’s guilt is never far from you! Thankfully as our business has grown, I now get to focus solely on our clients and I have a wonderful nursery who take full responsibility of my daughter and they assure me she no longer ‘snacks’ in the bathroom!
It may not be right for everyone but it’s sure as hell right for me and I’m encouraged and empowered by the number of mums around me who have started their own businesses and are writing their own futures. I salute you all.