May 6 | Written By Jonna Botsas
Image by Freepik
The wish started in August 2022, after returning from a trip to Asia. It was a simple wish: I wanted to start working again. After being a stay-at-home mom for six years, part of which was spent in Toronto, returning to New York City and putting my son in school made me wonder what was next. Before being a mom, I had worked in various corporate roles in the finance sector. The last job I had was working for the former head of communications at a prestigious investment bank and my first job of ten years was with the largest investment firm in the world.

Given that I had been out of the workforce for some time, I wasn't sure where to begin. It felt like a big leap and quite scary to be job searching again. I always believed, though, that if I put in the work, anything was possible.

   "The intention was made"
My initial thought was that a part-time job would work well because it would allow me to still continue all my mom duties, while exercising my professional brain during my free time. When I started reaching out to friends and old colleagues, however, I got more traction interviewing for full-time roles. None of them, however, made me feel excited, or sure that it was the right move. I was working out the logistics of childcare after school, days off, sick days, and vacations. I was uncertain of how much time commitment was necessary to do the job well and excel in it. Was it worth it to devote all that time to a job that I wasn't excited about?

Nonetheless, I knew I wanted to work and often reminisced about my old professional life. I continued to tell friends and acquaintances that I was looking for a job. Many of them were open to helping out, which was reassuring and what kept me going for another three months. By December, I decided it was time to reach out to my old boss. I was hesitant to call her for so long, maybe because deep down I knew she would clarify things for me. We had a nice catch up, and she asked me to think about what I really wanted to do. After a week of musing about this, some clarity came. Maybe going back to corporate was not the right move for me at this point. It felt like a big disappointment, to let go of an idea I've been so attached to over the last several months. I decided to focus my efforts elsewhere.

A serendipitous thing happened one day, when my neighbor, who knew that I was looking for a job, told me about an opportunity at a non-profit that he was involved in. They were looking for someone to join their team to fill in for someone who had just left. The role was more junior relative to my level of experience, but it was part-time, flexible, and remote. Which meant that I had control of my time, am able to do work from home and elsewhere, and not have to worry about outsourcing childcare. The organization's mission of using design to build more resilient and sustainable cities, was also exciting and meaningful to me. I followed through with it and two months later, I got the job.

      "My dream job, it turns out, didn't resemble my old professional life in a full-time role.Currently, it is working for a non-profit in a part-time capacity that makes space for both my professional self and life as a mom. It balances out my bigger goal of prioritizing my relationships. And because of this arrangement, it makes me feel that I can be successful in my family and work life."
It also highlighted important lessons for me: Sometimes it takes patience and openness to what the universe will return to you. I learned that people are generous and genuinely want to help. And, that things do work out in the end, when you make an intention, put in the work, and be open to serendipity.
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