“There are companies in this world that inspire you to grow and succeed and there are other companies that make you – for the first time in your life – feel happy about being temporarily unemployed!“ – Regina Inani
I have been a working calibre for the past ten years! Yes, TEN! This realization hit me sometime in 2016 when I realized I graduated 2006. In these ten years I:
- Travelled to Libya, Algeria, the US, Nigeria, Russia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Spain, France and Germany
- Attended at least 1,000 hours of training
- Delivered at least 400 hours of training, including the time when I was pregnant and standing in heels for a full day
- Wrote more e-mails than I can ever count and attended many meetings till I suffered from a syndrome I call ‘Death by PowerPoint’
- Missed many flights and caught much more
- Got to know people from parts of the world that I never set foot in
- Got exposed to areas of knowledge that I never knew existed
You see, I have been lucky and blessed. At a point in my life, I was so afraid to lose any of this, I believed that there was no other way to live my life. For someone who is supposed to be inherently fun, I spent 10 years being serious! I did have fun of course on the job but I never gave myself a break or cut myself any slack.
I knew in my heart that I am in a male dominated society in a male dominated job market and that, to shine, I had to never hold my horses. And I never did! Until things changed and I had to leave the employer that was like a godmother to me. I did not have a choice and I went into the job market not knowing what to expect. I had ups and downs that changed my whole perspective about work and about being unemployed.
Whenever I left one of my previous employers, I was always asked the same question, “Are you really going to stay at home?” You see, that is the part that I always hated about being unemployed; that I would immediately get a label like a desperate housewife or a damsel in distress. I hated the stereotype I would immediately be embraced within. Then I had a revelation: who said I will be staying at home? I honestly had the time of my life doing so many things that I had wanted to do for such a long time!
I want to go to the mall occasionally at 10 in the morning to buy stuff I do not need
- I would like to know the Starbucks menu by heart (I mean, who calls size small “tall”?)
- Play squash!
- Improve my cooking skills
- Read books that add no intellectual value
- Spend some quality time doing NOTHING!
I honestly had the time of my life. I still woke up early and slept early, but what I did in between was completely altered. I realized how much I do enjoy my own company. I had endless soul searching talks with myself, I had a great time taking long aimless walks alone without even music in my ears. I spent quality time in the rows of the supermarket comparing prices and products like there was no tomorrow!
You see, when you work, you keep on telling yourself that you are what’s important but before you know it, the job and the routine grow into you and the job becomes what’s important. Being a working mother takes your personal space to a whole new level; from tiny to zero! So, when the opportunity came, I SEIZED it carpe diem style!
I realized that I freaked out from the idea of staying at home; not because it is a bad thing but because of how the stereotype of the housewife is portrayed as a trophy wife, an arm candy who is an airhead, and this, I rejected and despised. Now that I gave it a shot myself, I realize how it is different for each woman. Every woman is free to choose what she does with her time off work; I choose to have fun!