Young Mother Decisions
While on vacation we talk a lot about the future but we also recall the past. I was talking to Fred about the frustrations I had as a young mother in the last company I ever worked for and he suggested I write about what happened.
Emily was not even a year old when we took a family trip down to DC to see my Mom. On the drive back Em’s chest was so congested I could hear her wheezing from the driver’s seat. Although she was our second child, and we had been through all the earaches and runny noses with Jessica, our oldest, this just sounded a lot worse.
I called the doctor who saw us first thing Monday morning and then sent us over to the hospital for a chest x-ray. I was freaked. I let the office know that I had to take my daughter to the doctor and would keep them posted.
After a super stressful morning of Emily crying and being poked at, the results came back that she had pneumonia. I called the office to let them know and their response was not take whatever you need but when can we expect you back this afternoon. My answer is I won’t be able to get back but in my head I was thinking fuck you. I do not operate my life like this. I had run a company for a few years before leaving to take this job which is a whole story in itself where I had complete flexibility.
I was gone from that company in the next week. They fired me because the reality is (as my boss told me) that I shouldn’t be in this job or even have his job but he should be reporting to me because I knew so much than anyone else there. True but I took the job because I wanted to work a structured schedule so I could shut off work the second I left and be focused on my kids. It wasn’t the right move but after the pneumonia I should have just up and quit.
Women (and men) need to be able to go to work, build their careers accordingly to their desires and abilities and still make their family priority number one. It is companies that create cultures that understand that life happens who will have a better chance of success because their employees are respected and in turn, they will respect the company. I think of that time every once in a while and remember what an awful place that was and wonder how could they treat me as a young mother with no care about my child.
I never worked for a company again, freelanced but never beholden to anyone ever again. It has worked for me. Perhaps if I was treated with the kind of empathy and care I deserved things would have turned out very differently. The best thing they ever did for me was fire me.