Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Choosing My Family Could Mean the End of My Career

Being able to stay at home with the kids is a dream for many people. For most, the choice is financial; supporting a family on one income is not easy, and many can't make it work even though they want to. Because the end of maternity leave is nearing for myself and many of the moms I know, going back to work has been a huge point of discussion. It seems that most women I talk to or read about online really wish they could stay home with their kids, and not go back to work. So why do I not have this feeling? Why did I cry and feel like I was mourning a loss the day I resigned from my job?

With Terry and Deaner on BT Vancouver
Logically I realize resigning was the right thing for me to do, otherwise I wouldn't have done it. But it doesn't make it any easier. I must admit, the day I sent in my resignation I looked at my son, happily playing with his toys, and I resented him. It was his fault my career dreams were over. And I cried.

You see, the problem is I worked in a dying industry. I was a producer in broadcast TV and I loved my job. I worked hard, and I took pride in my career accomplishments. But during my maternity leave things took a turn for the worse in the broadcast environment in Canada. The CRTC brought in new regulations which reduced the number of hours each day Canadian programs must be broadcast, thus threatening many local shows. On top of this hundreds of people were laid-off in the past year at City and the CBC: this in an industry where jobs are already scarce. What this all boils down to is that I had a great job I loved waiting for me when my maternity leave was over, and because I decided to resign I may never find work in broadcast TV again.
Cleaning up pee from a 15 foot snake

I had many reasons for not going back to work, but the main ones were that my job was in Montreal and my husband and I decided to move to Calgary so we could be closer to family and he could have better work opportunities (he is an electrician). All the main TV stations exist in Calgary, and if I didn't have a child I would absolutely go apply to all of them and get my name on a temp or fill in list and work my way back up. However, because my husband will likely be doing camp work and will be gone for weeks at a time, I need to find employment during daycare hours. It's pretty rare to find a TV job between the hours of 7am-5pm Monday to Friday, and so I find a roadblock in the industry that I love because I have a family.

The thought of not working in broadcast TV again really hurts. I was making my way up a ladder that is hard to grab hold of. I was respected and was confident in my skills. Of course, things weren't perfect with my job, and I wasn't perfect at it, but I was successful and on my way to even bigger things. For me, work was something I enjoyed, and that I miss after being away from. The thought of being at home with my son as a stay at home mom does not excite me. I worry that I will be bored. I worry that I won't feel fulfilled.

Working my boobs off at Taste of Edmonton
I want to have personal successes that don't involve being a mom. I want to interact with adults again and have conversations that aren't centered around naps and poop and baby milestones. But what kind of job can I get if TV isn't an option for me anymore? I have no idea how any of the skills I have honed in broadcasting transfer to any other industries. I am a great producer. What the hell else can I do? And how will any employer who doesn't understand broadcasting be interested in hiring me? I guess going back to school and completely changing careers is a very real option at this point. But there is nothing else I want to do other than what I did. Sure, I can arbitrarily chose something that makes financial sense and works well in my new schedule, but it's hard to think about doing a job that I don't feel passionate about.

I really don't resent my son, even though I felt that way for a moment. It's not his fault I am in this position. This is a result of my own choices, and I will have to accept whatever my future holds. There are days I wish I could change things, but I know that ultimately my family is the most important part of my life. I just wish honouring that didn't mean having to give up such a big part of my identity.

The first days of BT Montreal

1 comment:

  1. Great post. You're so resourceful, everything will work out xo