Change, they say, is one of the few things you can count on in life. Nothing lasts forever. All good things must come to an end. Closing one door opens another.
When I went back to work after maternity leave it felt good, but not great. Once Niko started daycare and Paul and I were juggling this new routine of dropping off and picking up each day, the not-great feeling started to outweigh the good.
To tell you the truth, when I started this job – as a copywriter at a brand agency – I never expected that I’d still be here nearly five years later. I was half way through my masters degree in nutrition when I threw in an application just for the hell of it, because frankly, interviewing for nutrition jobs in Swedish was getting me down. I didn’t really expect that I’d get the job, never mind that I’d be good at it; but I did, and I am.
Still, it’s always been a bit complicated when someone asks me what I do…. well, I have two degrees in nutrition but I work as a writer at this brand agency, freelance as a food writer and recipe developer, and have a small nutrition consulting business on the side. I’ve always had a hard time reconciling the fact that I spent 10 years of my life on a nutrition education – a really good one at some of the world’s most renowned biomedical research institutes – and then spent my days helping companies sell kitchens and cars and coconut-flavoured rum.
Don’t get me wrong, the agency job has been amazing. I’ve learned so much, grown as a writer and a business lady, and met some really incredible people who will be lifelong friends. Most importantly it has shown me that the time I spent in writing school back in my deluded late-teens and early-twenties – a time during which I sincerely believed I’d become Canada’s next Margaret Atwood – was not a waste of time.
Having said that, I feel that in the last six months I’ve experienced a fundamental shift in priorities. The high energy and long hours of agency life no longer feel right for me and my family. I want to be home on time for daycare pickup without that being a big deal, and I want to be able to take time off when it works best for me. I also want to shift from being a writer who moonlights as a nutritionist, to being a nutritionist who is also a writer; after all, that’s what I’m trained to do.
So, when a couple of opportunities fell into my lap, Paul and I crunched some numbers, had a few serious conversations, and agreed that the time felt right for me to take the plunge and leave my job. This is my last week in the office, and as of next week I’ll be waking up, dropping Niko to daycare, and then cozying into the office nook I’ve created in our spare bedroom. I’m going to be working with a fantastic nutrition startup as a consultant, doing some freelance food writing and recipe development, and taking on more nutrition clients than I have previously been able to. And of course, I’ll be here.
This upcoming change has been an emotional rollercoaster ride. When I resigned, I was fighting back tears. On my bike ride home, I couldn’t stop smiling. People keep asking me how I feel about things, and the truth is it depends on which day you ask me. Some days I’m super excited, other days I’m incredibly anxious. How things are going to work out financially is, of course, my biggest concern.
On the days when I’m feeling particularly anxious I’ve started making a list of all the things that will be awesome about being my own boss:
- I won’t have to wear pants to work anymore (although, a colleague pointed out to me as I sat in a morning meeting still in my bike tights, what I currently wear to the office hardly qualifies as pants anyways)
- I can go swimming in the middle of the day when the pool is nice and quiet
- My work hours will be totally flexible
- I can work from pretty much anywhere, which means the possibility to travel more
- I won’t have to frantically photograph blog recipes on weekend afternoons anymore
- I can make myself mid-day matcha lattes – a habit I got into on maternity leave and really enjoyed
Really, the list is infinite. There are so, so many benefits, and I just need to stay focused on them and not let the insecurity drag me down. Some days the decision seems brave and exciting, other days it seems crazy, but overall, I feel like I’m making the right move.
The best part – other than being my own boss – is that I’m going to be opening up my nutrition services offering. Until recently I’ve only been able to take on a couple of clients at a time in order to ensure I can give each client the time they deserve, but now I’ll be able to work with many more people. I’m going to be sending out a discount offer to my newsletter subscribers later this week, so if you haven’t already subscribed, now’s the time!
To finish, I had intended to segue into a how-to and recipe for my favourite at-home matcha latte, but this post is getting long and a potential segue seems increasingly awkward. So I’ll save the recipe for another day soon, and say thanks for being here. It’s about to get a lot more interesting!
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