Based on the congratulatory comments I got on my last post I have decided that I must be misrepresenting myself. I do not for a minute believe that I have achieved "career success", nor do I feel confident that such success is within my grasp. What I do know, is that I have come to a point in my life that I am no longer willing to sacrifice my health, my relationships, or my sanity for my work. Been there, done that, and declined to purchase the commemorative T-shirt. Ready for something else.
I have seen colleagues put their families first and still manage to get ahead career-wise. I've seen others put all their eggs into the work basket and have it backfire. The sacrifice:reward ratio is NOT a constant, it seems to be completely arbitrary, in fact.
For some reason I imagine that these years in my mid (/late) 30s, more so than others, are important & defining ones. This is partly due to the magical & fleeting ages of my children and partly to the fact that I seem to have arrived at that indeterminate "later" I've been awaiting all these years. Yes, this is a critical point in my career, but there were many critical points before and there will be many more ahead. It doesn't really ever end, does it? I was content to put non-essential projects off for "later" because I believed that "later" would actually arrive. Now that "later" has come and gone, I realize the whole thing was an illusion. Life never slows down, you never feel secure, there is never a good time. If I want to align my life to my priorities and focus on the things that are truly important, I better do it now, because my "later" is here.
I know my career productivity has suffered lately; I just cannot put in the same hours and be the mother & wife I want to be. I am trying to be optimistic that I can still do it, by making more efficient use of the hours I do have, delegating more, and settling for "good" when I would have aimed (and spent countless hours working toward) "perfect". I very well may be fooling myself, but if I am, then I know that this career isn't the right one for me. I NEED my morning runs, my weekends soaking up my family, and a few hours a week to focus on myself. I can give them up for a week or two before a deadline, but that is the maximum I am willing to sacrifice. Watch me over the next few years...I'll either crash and burn and find myself on the job market, or I'll muddle through. Either way, no regrets.