My days of moonlighting with Starbucks have come to an end. I’ve given up the glamorous green apron (red for the festive season of course) and the daily free coffees.
Instead I’ve put on my big-girl pants and started a grown-up job!
Our time in Switzerland has been humbling for me in my, until now, unsuccessful attempts at landing a job. I applied to countless jobs. Everything and anything which even remotely fit my past experience. Knowing I needed to concentrate on English speaking jobs it became evident that I’d need to be willing to commute to Zürich to join one of many international companies based there. That being a mere 25 minute train ride from here, and a truly spectacular city, the commute would be short compared to some of my Alberta commuting days. Plus I still love the urban-ness of riding trains!
Turned out though that a Zürich based company could actually be located in any number of the small villages and towns near and around Zürich. That commute would look more like an hour, or more. Both ways.
Having spent the last year and a half as a Hausfrau, while revisiting my past Starbucks glory days, facing a full-time work day plus a 2 hour commute felt like a tough pill to swallow.
Luckily for me, for us, none of those big, fancy international Zürich based companies offered me a job.
Because rejection can sometimes be a saving grace…
Prior to Christmas a response came in to a resume I submitted for an Assistant Marketing position to a company based here in Winterthur. My cover letter addressed the “obviously over qualified” nature of my CV but that “I welcomed the opportunity to support a team in this new environment”. Their response, delightfully, acknowledged that I appeared to be more suited for the Marketing & Communications Manager role, a posting to lead the team which had not yet gone live.
Why yes, yes I would be well suited for that role!
So I proceeded with the interviews. Excited and nervous as hell. 16 months as a Hausfrau does a number on your self confidence. I even solicited help from my 9 year old to prepare an outfit for the interviews. (Sequins and glitter are always a good choice for an interview, right?)
The interviews went well which presented me with a new set of challenges. Months and months of applying for jobs had allowed me to languish in an ever hopeful but non-committal world of being a job-seeker. Faced with the transition to the other side, to the job-offer side of things, was a scary proposition.
And the offer came. Just in time for Christmas. Holy crap!
What made this first job offer so special was that of all the jobs that I had applied to, none offered the same work-life balance this one offers.
(Let’s face it, Starbucks, while great for life balance – notwithstanding the 4:00am daily wake-up – wasn’t so much a real job but rather a place where I was allowed to show up every morning and play with the machines to make very expensive coffees. It was like revisiting a happy time from my youth, hanging with the other youthful baristas, pretending I belonged.)
This new job is the real deal. It allows me to take my career off hold, to put my grown-up brain back into action, to shop at the grocery stores that have otherwise been off-limits to us!
But the very best part is that it allows me to still walk my kids to school, to join them for lunch and to be home shortly after 5:00.
It’s the best of all worlds; offering me growth and challenge while at the same time letting me still feel present and available for my family. My office is less than 10 minutes from our house, along the same route the kids travel to school.
Had any of my previous resume submissions been successful, I would have found myself wrestling with the immense guilt that comes with being a working mom whose job removes her from her family for over 10 hours a day.
I’m not naive enough to believe there won’t be plenty of guilt and difficult choices ahead with this job, but there is something about walking my kids to school each morning that feels like a pretty nice balance.
Stay tuned for more details to come on my new world as a working mom as I get familiar with my new surroundings. The good news is that our office is free of scary revolving doors, threatening to trap me and humiliate me in front of my very clever coworkers. The self humiliation mechanism present here is sure to reveal itself in good time…