Darling You Can’t Do Both and other noise to ignore on your way up

Blank bookcover with clipping path

When I saw this book, at first I thought that by the title it spoke directly to me. You know…like faith or some greater guidance. But then I started to read it and fail in love with it! Literally!!!

Yes, yes these women have had great careers and paved the way. But also:

“It can look harder than ever to pull off the two-full-time-jobs thing with unprecedented pressure to be perfect at both. It’s easy to spot women struggling to be Super Mom at home and Wonder Woman in the workplace,…”

When I read this it rang my own bells. Just in case nobody read my bio here’s a little glimpse of my past with the explanation along with it. But most importantly why I would never go back to those jobs but most importantly why I took the decision that myself, my kids, my husband and my couple is more important then anything else. More then a job. More then a career. And certainly more then a not to nice boss.

As any human being, I have courage, strength, empathy and I’m one tenacious women. That’s really good in an interview, because they realize you’re no quitter, but soon enough they realize that you’re tailgating, helping and trying to help them but then you get to be annoying, controlling and scrutinizing them. Then they show you or you take the exit on your own.

As for me, I used to work as an administrative assistant for two financial Planner. I was doing great! For almost two years, I:

  • answered the phone
  • took messages
  • did some telemarketing (that included debriefing the needs of the customer in order for me to slip in the appointement files the appropriate documents. In other word, a pre-made sales)
  • Filling
  • Decluttering
  • Tracing : for some old customer
  • Organizing system to put in place
  • Keeping track of their commissions
  • Mail & emails
  • Opening the business accounts for the Group Insurance that was set up
  • Check all the files
  • Etc.

Now you’ll ask me and you should, yes but what’s the difference between this specific job and any given administrative assistant job. Well easy, they took advantage of me, not physically, but professionally they paid me peanuts and got the big bucks (one of them made 150 000$ more that year because of me and gave me 200$ as a bonus, WOW!) and when they were done they shown me the golden steps, sweet talking me with better skills, better pay and that one of them would become a mentor. Ya right!

When the pill or hook was swallowed and I began on the journey of becoming myself a financial security advisor and investment representative, I thought that I would help people. I did. But not myself. I scramble pennies. Gladly my husband was by my side. I’ve done every single mistake they requested me to do. But I shouldn’t. I followed their rules instead of the logic or my close ones. Worked for 14 months. Made 54 000km on a brand new car. I was covering a territory of 130 km in a straight line. Worked 7 days a week. Even encountered friends in a supper-business-family reunion to make business, NEVER AGAIN will I do this. Drank coffees and ate a muffin a day, because I needed to keep going. Made 350 clients. Encountered 550 potential client. I didn’t want, with all that was going on to unstabilize my son, so I made 56km morning and night to keep him in his own school. I cooked good meals but never had time to enjoy them or with them because I had to meet with some new client at their convenience, because I taught that was the way for a better life.

One day, my alarm went on and I couldn’t even glide off the bed, my body was aching. Called my doctor for a quick appointment because I thought I needed some vitamins. I needed to keep going. At first, she received me and asked me how I was? And then I started to cry and babbles about all of it and the job how I felt driven. She listened all the way. And then she said: “You can’t go back”. I was baffled. I thought she was joking. And then she pinned pointed all my symptoms and she stated the obvious :

“Anick you’re in burnout. You need to crawl in bed and sleep and then you need to start to eat healthy again, and then you need to have a life aside from work, you need to be with your family not just to sleep for a couple of hours, but really be there with them and enjoy being with them too.”

I hope you read this story, which is mine, and don’t pity me, but understand the profond meaning of our message. You can work, but not to your breaking point (PSST! I’ve never seen the dust police come to my place. And if they would come I would happily hand over the cleaning equipment for them to do it themselves.), you can oblige but not at your expense, you can give but giving isn’t a one way street. And don’t forget money will never replace anything!!!

N.B. : I know I haven’t spoken a lot about the book, but it’s a good one that any women & business women should read. So buy it, rent it, borrow it but please read it!

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