Young women with growing families want careers that are fulfilling and flexible. Own it.
“Your position has been eliminated, effective immediately." Upon hearing those seven words, I felt like all the air had been sucked out the room.
I was 24 years old, a mom of two kids under 4, and a new homeowner with a new car note. Hearing that I no longer had a job (effective immediately, no less) was probably the worst news I could have received after I followed my boss into her office that chilly November afternoon.
I had been sitting at my desk, tweaking the company's website. I got up to take a quick bathroom break, and when I came back, the light on my phone was blinking, letting me know I had a new voicemail. It was my boss, sounding very calm and measured. She wanted me to come down to her office when I had a moment.
I put the finishing touches on the project I was working on, and grabbed my pen and notepad like I always did when entering her office. As I headed out of my office, I ran into my boss in the hallway and began talking a mile a minute.
“So I just finished working on Project X and I'll be sending an email to our design team before I leave today to update them on our progress and I really think…." I was so busy chattering away that I didn't notice how unusually quiet she was being.
It didn't start to sink in that something was amiss until she motioned for me to sit at the round table in the corner of her office and waved in the head of HR to join us.
“Tara, you have produced excellent work for the company," my boss began. “And I really hate to do this but…."
I was stunned.
After I gathered my things and took the slow, agonizing journey to my car, somehow I knew that this was the chance I had been waiting for: the chance to be self-employed and work full-time for myself.
And now here I am, four years later, still doing the damn thing.
Currently, I am a multi-hyphenate renaissance woman. I'm a writer, an editor and communications consultant who has worked with Fortune 500 companies and governmental agencies as well as the mom-and-pop shops down the street. In addition, I have a growing business as an empowerment coach, giving women the tools they need to bloom in every area of their life.
My days are busy but my rewards overflow. I'm able to chaperone field trips, cook dinner, be available for snow days or flu season and more. I'm also able to give my children an up-close look at what it's like to have a vision and execute it. (On more than one occasion I've overheard my daughter tell people she wants to be a blogger like me when she grows up.) My only regret about being an entrepreneur is that I didn't do it sooner, that I was too scared to make the leap because I had kids.
I've been giving lots of advice to women who were just like me: young, with growing families and looking for a career that is fulfilling and flexible. They want to be in charge of their day-to-day life and turn a profit in the process.
I say: Go for it. Entrepreneurship isn't for the weak, but it's a blessing.
Tara's latest book, The Good Life: Pep Talks for the Stressed Solopreneur, is on sale at Amazon.com now.