Why I pressed reset during COVID-19 | Rachel Goldenberg
Monday, July 05, 2021 @ 2:46 PM | By Rachel Goldenberg
Seriously. Who leaves a sensible, enjoyable, rewarding job during this time of unrest and upheaval?
Me, that’s who. I have left my position with a respectable company to pursue a new adventure on my own, outside the realm of law. High risk, but hopefully a high reward once I have found my footing in my new career.
Leaving a stable position for the unknown is scary. But I am not alone in this brave new world. Many people have taken the time during COVID-19 to reflect on their lives and consider what makes them happy, what makes them unhappy, and what they want to change. We have all learned over the past 16 months that life is too short and too precious. For some people, the pandemic has been like hitting a reset button on their life. And that’s what I did. I pressed reset and decided to dive deep into unchartered waters, without the safety of a life preserver (or a boat, a paddle, some sunscreen, even a bottle of water would have been nice).
I am not trying to be insensitive or oblivious. I am well aware that many people have been forced to press this reset button as a result of temporary and permanent layoffs or as a result of childcare conflicts which require an unpaid extended leave of absence. I do not mean to suggest that this is a great time for them or that they are lucky to be home. The pandemic has been incredibly hard on everybody for a myriad of reasons. It has been very hard on me and my mental health. But it has also presented me with an opportunity to take on a new challenge in my career, and I have learned that I must be grateful for that.
I have also learned recently (well, confirmed my knowledge) that work is so much easier than childcare! I miss work. I miss using my brain. I miss being able to say, “Sorry honey, Mommy has an important meeting,” only to then discuss one quick work question then chat with an adult who is not my husband. All day long, “Mama! Mommy! Mom!” One time I even got a “Rachel!” What was the emergency that required my 6-year-old to use my name? She wanted a piece of cheese. It seems perfectly reasonable to bellow for a piece of cheddar, no?
I got these demands even before I was off work. During meetings, kids would run into the room (sometimes clothed, sometimes not) or cry incessantly because their sibling is not sharing a toy. Working parents all over the world are balancing competing demands. It is so tough. But I have spent the past two weeks focusing on only one set of demands, and I am not ashamed to admit this: I prefer splitting my attention over giving the children all of my attention.
Part of my excitement in embarking on my new professional adventure is that I will be able to split my attention and focus on work again. In fact, I will be able to focus entirely on work at times, as I will no longer be working remotely. That’s right, I get to put on clothes and head into an office, where it is quiet and I get to have my coffee while it is hot. I will miss the kids while I’m gone; I got used to spending a lot of time with them while I was home. But I can’t wait to miss them!
I’m not saying you should all go out and quit your jobs after reading this piece. But I am encouraging everyone to take a moment for self-reflection and consider whether they want to press the reset button. Or maybe the sleep button? Escape? As I said, life is too short to not be happy. Taking on a new and exciting challenge is my reset button. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go break up a fight over who had that piece of LEGO first.
Rachel Goldenberg is executive property manager at Adams & Waks Construction.
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