FWP: An Uncompelling Post-Baby Worklife
PROBLEM: I gave birth to a beautiful little girl 8 months ago. After four months, I went back to work. But … something has changed. I used to like my job well enough but now the quality of my worklife is … uncompelling? I want to work, I even want to work full-time, I just don’t know that I want this job anymore and I’m not sure why. Is this something new parents go through? Or am I just having a one-third life crisis?
SB: This is totally normal. I’ll say that first, so that there’s no confusion here. So much happens when you have a kid (stuff that you’re aware of and stuff that you’re not). You just need a little time to recalibrate.
Don’t make any big decisions until you given yourself some time to reclaim some of your old identity and sense of who you are. Once you feel more like yourself, assess the situation to see if this job is still a good fit, or if there is something else you’re more passionate about.
MM: Most humans go through some kind of career crisis even without a baby, so you’re definitely not alone. I think you should start by examining the reasons you want to work, and what’s likely to motivate you. If it seems like your current job isn’t cutting it, give yourself some time like SB said, and start thinking of what you’d like to do instead.
It doesn’t have to be an overhaul, even baby steps toward something you’re passionate about can give you a fresh burst of energy and make for a higher quality of worklife. Hang in there!
KB: Welcome to life as a new parent. You now have competing priorities, and there is a very fulfilling, cuddly person at home. But remember that careers are lifelong endeavors, and they are dynamic. Your level of engagement and dedication to your worklife can ebb and flow, but this does not mean that you have to give up on your career. You may have dips in your level of interest as something else takes priority for a while, but it won’t last.
And babies aren’t babies forever. One day, your baby will need you less, or you’ll feel more ready to focus on something else, and you’ll be ready to throw yourself back into your career. And then one day, something else outside your worklife will again take the first priority spot, and the cycle will start again. Rest assured: This is just a normal part of adult life.