Why I’m Not Prioritizing My Job

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I work full time from home, but I am not always stuck at my desk or constantly on my laptop working, or even working eight hours every day. I’m probably many bosses’ ideas of who NOT to hire – because after my experience as an employee for several companies, I just don’t care to be a model employee anymore. Here are some of the reasons why I’m not prioritizing my career.

why im not prioritizing my career
This is me, bonding with my son when I probably should be working…but I don’t feel any guilt.

Job security 

First, nothing really makes a job secure. I’ve had my praises sung by my direct bosses, directors of my department, C-suite employees, and eve

n CEOs. But I have had eight jobs since entering the workforce. I was laid off from five of those (reasons include “trimming fat” before acquisitions, alleged lack of work, and of course, the recession of 2008 and the recent pandemic). The fact that I was a model employee never, ever mattered.

Being laid off this many times has taught me that I should not devote more than is required to a job. And if I can get away with it, ideally, I’ll devote a lot less than what is required.

Prioritizing what’s important

When I was in my twenties, so much of my value was tied to my career. Every layoff in those early years made me feel like a failure. But once I had a baby, my value wasn’t just tied to my career. My value was now in being a mother and raising my baby the best I could.

After getting laid off last year, and especially with the new normal the pandemic gave us, childcare was at a premium. I wasn’t about to work at any company, particularly one that’s controlling about when and how I work. Many other employees would agree that as long as I’m getting my work done well and on time, there should be no questions asked about what else I do during the work day.

My current situation

I was laid off in 2020 due to the pandemic, and I made peace with that. My days were very busy with my son, so my layoff wasn’t too traumatic. My husband took over my home office to work from home, and we were lucky to be in a position where I didn’t need a job. So, I didn’t actively apply to any.

A recruiter approached me about a fully remote position, but I turned him down. I didn’t want to make the choice between devoting more of my time and attention to work or to my son again. Every few months, he’d reach out to me. Finally I figured, okay, if this company wants to hire me, I’ll be honest with them and see if they still want to move forward.

Changing my approach

I put the least amount of effort into interviewing than I ever have before. First, I did not do any Zoom interviews where I showed my face – no one questioned why (the answer: I didn’t want to). Also, I didn’t write any “thanks for your time” emails to my interviewers. I told the CEO and my prospective boss about my child’s existing commitments multiple times a week, as well as how he is not in preschool, and won’t be until there’s a vaccine for his age group. No one pushed back.

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to be choosy with their next job. But economists are calling it the Great Resignation for a reason. The pandemic has shown that employees don’t have to work longer and harder for little to no benefits, or for a job that just isn’t working for them. And why should they? Companies replace employees at the drop of a hat if they need to – employees should be able to do the same.

My Work Days

You might be reading this and think that by not prioritizing my job, I don’t work at all. That’s not true! Here are two sample days from my workweek, and if I get any DMs or emails, I’ll answer those on my phone:

Tuesday

9 am – meet our play pod at an indoor play place

10 am – snack in the car, drive to Music Together class

11 am – 1:30 – play at home, get my son lunch while I answer emails, do any internal calls and handle work

1:30-2:30 – put my son down for a nap (it takes so long!)

2:30- eat lunch

3-4 – client calls

Wednesday

8:30-10- feed/play with my son

10- leave for speech therapy

11:30- get home from speech therapy, feed my son lunch

12:30-1:30 – playground excursion or walk around the neighborhood

1:30-2:30- put my son down for a nap

2:30- weekly call with a big client to make sure they’re happy

3- eat lunch

3:30- internal meeting with CEO and team

Making Work Work for Me

Prioritizing my son over my job doesn’t mean I don’t do any work – I’m just prioritizing his needs over my job. He comes first now, and my company seems to understand that. I don’t take any client meetings before 2:30 because he’s awake. But for internal calls, he’s around, and thanks to the pandemic, no one even bats an eye if he walks up to the computer, says “hi” to everyone and asks to type.

It could be that since I’ve been laid off so many times, I don’t want to get caught up in being an exemplary employee when I’m disposable; what matters most is how I raise my son. He deserves my full attention. And he won’t lay me off or fire me from being his mom (maybe when he’s a teenager, but we’ve got a ways to go there). So I think, given my experience, I’m going to go ahead and prioritize raising my son, and put my job second.

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