Would I Quit My Job Again?

I get asked this question a lot: Would you quit your job to stay home with your children if you had it to do over again?

Because after staying home with my children for almost 20 years, and then going through a divorce, I am starting over, not just in my personal life, but in my career. And, I am starting over without the back-up of a second income. It’s like being 25 when you’re 55 in the work force. Adding to the equation is the whole notion that at 55, I am beyond hiring, and beyond making any real money.

Let me address the age issue before I get into the “would I have quit my job if I had it do over again” question.

The age thing:

  • I am finally at an age where I can work without distractions. I am not trying to balance home life and work life.
  • I can travel or move anywhere in the world.
  • I do not have to take sick days because someone other than myself is sick.
  • I can work 24/7 if needed and I often do. A typical evening for me is to come home, shower, cook something simple (okay, that’s a lie, I eat key lime pie) and then start working again.
  • I take countless courses, and obtain as much training as I can personally get (and pay for it myself), because I am passionate about what I do, and I can be single-minded about it. Nothing competes for my attention or time.
  • At 55, I am not idle. I don’t look to the future and see years ahead of me. I would like to retire when I am 72. So, the next 20 years have got to count.
  • I am way more mature than most 20-somethings (not all, but a lot) and I have connections that they do not.
  • I am often considered by clients to be a more responsible person to interact with–and it is not uncommon that I have a personal relationship with the clients.
  • I am healthy and work a job that requires me to lift up to 50 pounds, crawl up and squat down, and be outside all day in every kind of weather, on my feet. I can do that. I have worked in some of the worst conditions possible (hail, rain, freezing cold). My 20-year-old son, who plays college soccer, has said he wouldn’t and couldn’t do what I do. All this to say that the idea that I am a poor health choice is ridiculous.
  • I am hungry. Hungry people work hard and are grateful to do so.
  • I do want a career. After years of raising my boys, I’d love to have a full-time, meaningful, and something to be proud of, career.

So, that’s my answer for the age thing. There is absolutely no reason not to hire me. In fact, there are many reasons to hire me.

Now, on to the first question. Would I have quit my job if I had known the divorce was coming, and I’d be in this scramble position of creating a career? Yes.

Absolutely I would do it again. For me, it was the right decision. Being a mom, creating a home, giving them a safe environment to grow up in, was my first and only priority. And, I am not a multi-tasker. I truly can’t do two things at once. I knew that about myself and I know that about myself. So, for me, it was exactly the right decision. Please note, it is not the right decision for all moms. It was the right decision for me. And, yes, it was a huge financial sacrifice for us, but life is about knowing your path and following it.

Listen, I read a lot of career advice, and what it mostly says is that I committed career suicide by staying home, and when my husband left, the last nail was nailed into my career coffin. I am told that I should find a way to live without enjoying a career now, or making much money. I suppose I am constrained to old lady-hood by society’s standards. What a load of bull. I plan to have an exciting, adventurous career that helps create a better environment for my granddaughters–if I have to invent that career myself.

So, yes, I stayed home to raise my children and I’m glad I did. I was fortunate to do so. Now, I’m going to have a career that helps my grandchildren have a healthier world to live in.

Ultimately, it’s all about the babies.

And, now, before my bedtime, I will write up notes for two clients. I will work on promotional material to give clients tomorrow so they can more easily refer me. 10 years ago, I’d be reading bedtime stories.





Advice from a Blue Collar Girl

A guy asked me out recently. (Oh. Stop. It can happen.)

Anyway, when he found out I was a horticulturist, he lost interest.

I’ll quote him:

“I didn’t realize you were a blue collar girl.” he said, pausing to consider the ramifications of this on his personal life.  “I thought you graduated from Furman University.” Silence, while he pondered this newsflash a bit more, rubbing his chin a lot like my divorce attorney did. He concluded. “I don’t really want to date a blue collar girl.” 

My response:

“Oh good, because I didn’t realize you were an a**, but now that I know you are, I don’t want to date you.”

I know. We can’t all be as classy as I am.

So here’s my topic. I’m going to give ya’ll some career advice. The dating advice was a freebie that I just threw in. You’re welcome.

Career Advice from a Blue Collar Girl:

1. There is no shame in hard work, blue collar, or whatever collar you wear. Be proud of your job, and your hard work.

2. You can work in the pouring rain, melting heat, blowing wind, freezing cold, and baking sun. You think you can’t, but you can.

3. DayQuill will get you through even your sickest days.

4. Don’t wait to be brave to do something. Bravery comes with doing, not waiting (or reading a self-help book).

5. Get over the idea that you should be at the same place someone who has been doing their craft/job for decades is.  Stay focused. It will come. Don’t compare yourself to others. Just persevere.

6. And, while we’re on that subject. Perseverance is the number one thing needed to succeed at whatever you’re doing: work, career, family, marriage, hobby, gardening, writing, etc.

7. Most people quit way before the finish line; some quit when it’s in sight. Don’t quit.

8. Your body, no matter the age, can do more than you think. Push yourself.

9. Training matters. Not every job or every person needs a college degree. But, training is important. Take lots of extra-curricular classes to improve your job skills, and add to your resume (it is all about the resume these days).

10. If you don’t know, do ask. And, don’t bs your way through. Horticulture is a knowledge based industry and the knowledge changes daily. It is vast and wide. People often remark to me that they had no idea just how deep this industry is. I’m assuming the same could be said about your industry. So, don’t be a know-it-all, but do aspire to know it all. 

Advice from a blue collar girl.