Returning to the workforce for the second time this year

Unless something goes horribly awry in the next couple of days, I will be starting a full time job again on October 13, which will make it very easy to find something to be thankful for on October 12, Canada’s Thanksgiving Day. As I prepare to return to gainful employment, I’ve been thinking about how I feel a lot more than I did when I went back after maternity leave.

When I returned to work in January, after 9 months of maternity leave, I was genuinely looking forward to it. I had the promise of new challenges, new responsibilities and I liked both the work and my co-workers. Sure, the organization had it’s share of problems and I had my frustrations just as any other worker, but it never even occurred to me that I wouldn’t go back. I knew that my priorities had changed and I wouldn’t be willing to put in the hours I had prior to having a child. That’s normal, though, and my boss seemed to expect that from the moment I told him I was pregnant. I thought I was going back to the perfect job for a new mom.

Unfortunately, things really didn’t go as I’d expected and it was a real let down. By the time I was actually laid off – which was only partially a shock - even if I did feel as if my world had tipped upside down – I wasn’t too disappointed that I was leaving. Disillusionment can do that to you. Of course, I would have stuck it out if I’d been given a chance (in the hopes that things would improve), but perhaps that wasn’t the best path for me. I do believe that everything eventually works out for the good.

Having the summer off was good in many ways. I got to spend more time with Brandon, with friends and also doing a few projects. My biggest problem was that I like structure and having a defined purpose. Without an employer, I sometimes felt lost. It's hard to create structure and define a purpose for yourself if you're in limbo, which I was, not knowing when I'd find a new job. Fortunately, it hasn’t taken nearly as long as I feared to find the right job.

Ever since my first call with HR at my soon-to-be-employer, I’ve had a gut feeling that I would get this job. It’s only now that I’m committed that I wonder if I’ll enjoy the work. Will I like my co-workers and get along with them? Will the organization be a good one to work for? Will I be challenged and have opportunities to grow? None of these questions are answered in an interview and it takes more than a day, a week and sometimes even longer to find the answers after starting. My biggest hope is that the rightness I’ve felt about this position will turn out to be good instinct and not bad. Part of me feels terrible to be so wary, but each time I move to a new job, it takes me a little bit longer each time to observe and absorb what I need to make a judgment, primarily because I don't want to be the one caught wearing rose-colored glasses. (I'm naive. It happens.)

In the meantime, I’ve got a million things to do to get ready: get a haircut, make sure I’ve got enough clothes in the proper dress code, get a bus pass, etc. This is an exciting time and I’m looking forward to getting back to work, even if part of me is anxious about all the unknowns.

Note: This blog is about my personal thoughts, opinions and activities. I may mention work in general terms from time to time, but I will never specifically mention any organization I work for by name – past or present – or reveal any information about what they do.

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