Who I am, not what I do

by Lesley on September 1, 2011 · 17 comments

in work,writing

I might as well just get to the point. I’ve quit my job at 3fold, official today. To some people the decision may seem sudden. But, in reality, this new move into motherhood and freelance work actually started a long time ago.

When Jonathan and I moved to Sacramento five years ago (!), I didn’t know what to do next in my career. Earlier that spring I’d quit my first marketing job in Santa Barbara so that Jonathan and I could travel to China. When we returned, and he got into law school at UC Davis, I had time to re-evaluate what I wanted to do for a living.  Even though I hadn’t particularly loved working in marketing, I figured I’d go into the field again because I didn’t know what else to do.

To keep busy during my job search I signed up for a writing class at the local community college. During that fall I remembered just how much I loved to write. Since I was a little girl I’d been filling up spiral bound notebooks with novels and stories. Where had that passion gone?  I think it got lost academia—teachers focusing more on grammar and essay skills rather than heart and soul.

That next spring I published my first two articles—one in a national magazine and one on a website. I also landed a PR job at an agency in Rocklin. I wanted to write, but I needed a consistent paycheck and benefits. Agency work gave me just that. One year later, when the economy really started to tank, I left the agency in Rocklin for a new gig downtown at 3fold Communications.

At 3fold I immediately received more responsibility, co-workers that became lifelong friends, access to fun events, lots of media interviews, the opportunity to train, manage and grow in my career.  I was really, really happy. I was also really, really busy.  I couldn’t complain—I had a great job when a lot of people around me were losing theirs.  But, I was spent creatively.  You might remember that last summer I took a break from blogging simply because I needed time to breathe again. I couldn’t remember why I loved writing because my mind was constantly jumping from one social network and event to the next.

At the same time, Jonathan and I started thinking about what we wanted for our future. We wanted to buy a house, I wanted to be a mom, and I wanted to write. How could we make it all happen?

We’re praying people over here, so we began asking God if His vision matched up with our vision. Should we buy a house? Where? When should I get pregnant? And, when would I finally have the freedom to write?

I also began asking myself questions like, “Why in the world would you consider giving up the career you worked so hard for?” and “If you quit your job, you might get bored at home” and “What if the economy tanks even more than it has, and you’re not making an income?” and “What if you can’t be successful as a writer?” and “What if people judge you for wanting to be at home with a baby?”

Last October, everything happened at the same time. We decided that buying a home in East Sacramento would be too expensive if I wanted to quit my job someday, so we started looking in the Tahoe Park neighborhood instead. We also got on the baby making train. Two days after placing an offer on a home, we found out I was pregnant.  We wanted change and we got it. Gulp.

Over the last 10 months I’ve prepared for this transition, but it doesn’t make today any easier. I knew I’d pack up my office and say goodbye to kind and competent people who are few and far between in the working world.  A small part of me hoped motherhood wouldn’t be all that thought it would. But, it is. I love being home with Anna, and I love having flexibility to pursue interests I’ve put off for a long time. With excitement I step into a new journey, while also mourning the loss of my career at 3fold.  As much as I’ve never wanted my identity to be wrapped up in job, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I will miss being “Lesley3fold.”

Speaking of identity, I’ve given a lot of thought to my new “identity.”  Besides baby chasing and book writing, I plan to take on some contract marketing work for individuals and companies. (That’s my only plug- promise! Contact me if you need a PR/Social Media Consultant.) Yes, I’m taking on new roles but they don’t define me.  Over the last year I’ve realized that I will never be defined by what I do but rather who I am.

To my friends and family—thank you for listening to me over the last few years as I processed my next steps. To my friends in the business community—I hope to keep in touch. You’ll still see me around town at events, and on Twitter too. (I’m @LesleyMiller starting today!)

“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others…devote yourself to your community around you…and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” –Mitch Albom

pic credit to examiner

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15 comments
kelsey
kelsey

so happy for you! we are praying, praying, praying over here for a job change for both my husband and i. i want my #1 priority to be a woman of faith/wife/mom. our daughter has been in day care for two months and i still cry sometimes! ugh!

Kristin Ritzau
Kristin Ritzau

Spent some time catching up on your blog today. Thinking of you and your little family - holding you all gently. Lots of transition and bit thoughts for sure amidst all that is changing. Lots of love to you all today too.

Geralyn Murray
Geralyn Murray

Congrats Lesley. So thrilled for you as you begin this new chapter.

Joshua
Joshua

I'm the Josh who gave the slightly obnoxious tweet about fitting in as a stay-at-home Dad. Actually, I'm an unemployed-trying-to-look-for-work-or-gigs-while-my-wife-teaches-part-time Dad... and, your tweet about moms making it work reached me right after reading an advertisement about an indoor playground for kids that said something like, "meet other Moms in our cafe while your kids play!" I thought, "I'm not on the dating scene... wait, they think I'm a Mom!" Normally, it doesn't bother me, because I know that women need social networks that are geared toward them, and I'm okay with it. It was just a strange sensation, is all.

Suzanne Phan
Suzanne Phan

Lesley, you've been remarkable at what you do. No doubt, you will continue to be remarkable--given your passion, compassion, and talent. All the best...

Justin
Justin

Lesley, I think that your decision is fantastic...there are very few that dare to do what they really want to and trust that their needs will be met. It's this type of faith that will continue to grow you as a person, wife, and mom. Jon and Anna will look back at this in years to come and be grateful that you don't let your job define you...And I know that's tough too. When we moved to Spain I didn't realize how much I allowed tangible results to shape about how I felt about myself...a great time of learning. All the best...

Jeff Marmins
Jeff Marmins

Well done Lesley. Congratulations. I'm confident your talents will be useful and valuable in whatever capacity to you decide to apply them. I admire your path and your passion. - Jeff

Tamara Powell
Tamara Powell

So proud of you for pursuing and your true loves -- God, Jon, Anna, and writing :)

Megan Emmerling
Megan Emmerling

Congratulations Lesley! Little Anna is a lucky girl to have such a doting & inspirational mom to spend time with. I know 3 Fold will miss you tremendously, but glad you're able to make what you love work for you and your family. Best wishes, hope to still see you and meet your little one. :)

Judy Farah
Judy Farah

I got criticized when I left my exciting job as a news reporter in Los Angeles to stay at home with my two young daughters. (How could you give that up??) Then I was criticized when I went back to work and news. (How could you leave your children behind?) Don't worry about what others think. You are doing what's right for you. It's your life. Embrace your new journey. Best wishes.

Ashlee
Ashlee

So SO happy for you! You inspire me ;)

Amy --- Just A Titch
Amy --- Just A Titch

Happy and excited for you, Lesley! You're a talented writer and a great mom (I'm sure of it). Blessings to you in this new chapter! xo

Laura Good
Laura Good

Best wishes to you in this journey Lesley! This post will inspire many to do what they love!

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