I am a Corporate Dropout

I’m a #CorporateDropout. I traded high heels for flip-flops and business casual for jeans and a t-shirt.

As a single mom, I was generally lucky to have a flexible boss who let me take a little bit longer lunch hour to make the special events at school, work from home when my daughter was sick and sneak out a little early to make it to whatever after school activity we had. But like all things, time changes and people move around in their careers and my new “boss” wasn’t quite as flexible. He tried; it just wasn’t in his DNA to be that guy.

As a widow, I needed an opportunity that allowed me to provide income for my single parent home as well as live in a world where my daughter didn’t have to suffer the impact too much of having only one (living) parent. After trying endlessly and unsuccessfully to find a remote corporate job that wouldn’t completely isolate me, I decided to open my own business and go from “working for the man” to #momboss.

I willingly left a steady income with benefits as well as other professional co-workers. There is a lot to be said about peer interaction and expense accounts! I definitely took that for granted. But there is more to be said about the smile my daughter flashes me when I’m standing at the door to pick her up. She’s super excited to offer me up as her personal uber driver to activities because somehow I’ve made it to the cool mom. I’m able to help the corporate working moms out now like they did when I needed it and somehow still swing an income.

It was a hard decision for me to make, and there are so many days I still wonder if it is the right one. I jumped in without looking at where I was going into owning a DIY creative art studio. What I needed to find was a business that allows me complete flexibility and the opportunity to be able to set my own hours, be a working mom and still make enough money pay the bills! I knew a restaurant or retail type of business wasn’t right for me and I needed something that I could learn easily enough with a reasonable financial investment. After some research I found the right “next chapter” in my career history and now have three Board and Brush studios in the Valley.

There are days I definitely wonder what I was thinking when I’m worried about making payroll and covering rent. But I have a place that friends can gather and enjoy an experience in a fun environment and leave all their corporate worries behind. I’ve met some of the most interesting people along the way too who all have a story to share. They get to join together in my studio and unwind and find their inner creativity, so that lights up my heart! I’m always fascinated at what brings people together so my new environment has a new kind of interactions I didn’t have around a boardroom. I can bring my daughter to work whenever I want and am teaching her a strong work ethic that she witnesses daily. But most importantly I’m watching my daughter thrive, not just survive.

There will be time enough down the road in my life for me to decide if the corporate ladder is worth me trying to climb again but for now, I’ll take the bottom rung of my own tiny corporate empire just to get to hear the laughter of tweenagers in my backseat as they ignore me and secretly hug me when no one is watching.

As far as pros and cons, there are certainly both of each situation. And they change daily like the tide, but for this stage of my life the pros outweigh the cons and love the time I get to spend with my daughter. So if you are considering working for yourself, there’s no time like today to just jump in blindly; you can always get another job but you can’t always get that time back with your little ones before they don’t want you in their space anymore.

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