In December 2007, Isaac was born. 25 months later, we welcomed Toby into the family. 28 months after that, Kara arrived. In January, 20 months on, I’ll have a new baby to look after.
No, no, no, not another child. A new job. (You didn’t seriously think we were going to have a fourth kid, did you?!?)
I’ve been at my current company for eight years – it will be exactly 100 months next week, in fact. That’s a long time in my world. To put that into context, the longest I had stayed at any of my previous companies was exactly four years.
Although I have had various projects and other responsibilities during that time, I’ve always been based in the same business. As of January, I’ll be moving internally into a different business – although in terms of physical location I’ll only actually be moving about 20 metres.
It might as well be 200 kilometres, though. A new business means a new boss, a new team and completely new products and markets to learn. It’s a little scary – but it’s also very exciting. Change always is.
So why has it taken me so long to jump into a new job – and why now?
Having the right opportunity and the right timing is a big part of it, of course. But so is the stage I have reached in my role as a father.
My current job has suited my home ‘job’ as a new father down to the ground. I’m office-based, I don’t have to manage a team and I can count the number of days I have to spend away from home per year on the fingers of one hand. In essence, I’ve had the flexibility to manage my work life around my home life, and not the other way around – the fabled work-life balance. In practice, it means I often leave the office early or work from home, fitting in additional hours in the evening or at weekends.
As a result, I’m usually home in time to help put the kids to bed. That’s been important to me – much more so than pursuing the next step on the career ladder. It probably means I’ve missed out on the odd opportunity during those past five years – for instance, I’ve always made it clear that I wouldn’t consider a European role involving lots of travelling – but it’s been a worthwhile trade-off for me.
But now that the kids are growing up – by this time next year, two out of three will be in school full-time – the idea of throwing myself into a new job and a new challenge which might mean a bit less flexibility and a bit more travel doesn’t seem like such a bad trade-off. As with everything in life, circumstances change and balance shifts.
I’m ready to move on to the next phase of my life/career. Like the kids, I’m growing up too.