The First rule about fight club is that we should talk about fight club.
We should talk about the constant fight for women to do it all. We are supposed to be business women, short order cooks, waitresses, housekeepers, unpaid Uber drivers and oh yea, moms.
What I envision when someone says “Business Woman” is Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl.
1. Power suit with huge shoulder pads
2. Big office with name& Big TITLE on the door
3. Briefcase & Business cards
4. Stiletto heels
5. Big coffee
This vision seemed to be the only kind of women who could support a family on their own.
Have you ever tried to cook dinner in a dress, blazer or pantyhouse? Total fire hazard.
I could never imagine myself in this role, nor did I ever want to be. Plus I like to be comfortable in my clothes. I thoroughly enjoyed being a worker bee and a mom. I tolerated some humiliating treatment in the past because I thought that’s “just the way it is” and some things “will never change”.
When my kids both were in school full day, the “mom-brain fog” seemed to lift and I was able to think about myself again. I got my health and nutrition back in order and found personal development.
It began with podcasts by Chalene Johnson. I noticed that my day went so much better when I would listen to her podcasts before work. I felt more empowered all day and I finally believed that I did not have to tolerate anything I did not want to.
These podcasts brought me to the realization that after working at the same job for 12 years; I was bored. I was unchallenged, frustrated, fed up with coworker-scheduling dynamics and micromanagement. In my heart, I knew I was meant for more. I was also tired of working evenings, weekends and holidays.
I was ready for the next step…BOSS.
That is what “moving up” means, right?
You become what you think about.￼
So, I made Pinterest Boards entitled “CEO” “Like a Boss” & “Boss Bitch”. I began actively looking for clinical supervisors and managerial positions.
An opportunity presented itself ￼and I was offered a Clinical Director position.
I enjoyed giving my two weeks notice to my manager and advising him that I would be leaving to be a DIRECTOR of a department (a title higher than his). I fantasized about this moment for months and his uneventful reaction solidified that I made the right decision to leave. (However I was disappointed he did not beg me to stay, counter with a pay increase etc.)
If you could fight anyone who would you fight?”
“I am the Director of this department” was broadcasted by me as many times as possible throughout the day. I relished in watching people’s facial expressions change or check their tone when speaking to me.
I am IMPORTANT.
I am POWERFUL.
I thrived on getting up early, working out, sending emails, checking the status of “MY” department.
I owned it.
I rocked boots and $12.99 dresses from ROSS (I know-I am so fancy).
I listened to audio books on my commute. I was UNSTOPPABLE. This is what I wanted! I made it happen! I am killing it. I am making more Money and MONEY IS POWER!
After one month, I was hysterically sobbing after working late…again… and receiving a humiliating phone call with the CEO on my “day off”. My brothers wedding was that night and I didn’t want to go. I went with puffy eyes.
After two months, I was miserable all the time .
I was so confused. After all, this is what I wanted?
Why am I so unhappy? I assumed it was the growing pains of change. I missed the connections and laughing with my coworkers.
I was lonely.
However, I told myself every morning
“It’s lonely at the TOP” and I persevered.
I focused on what I COULD do. I created a cohesive, unstoppable team like a tribe! I worked on empowering my team members. I devoted time cultivating relationships with my staff and knowing them personally. I got in the arena with them and did the work. I became the manager I always wanted: Someone who has got your back!
I EARNED the title I had and proved to my team that I am their fearless leader.
That did not matter to management though. Now I understood my previous boss a lot better.
Now I was miserable…empty, exhausted, and depressed.
Yes I made a lot more money “per year”. However, In reality, I was putting in 55-60 hours a week at work and spending 3-5 hours in my car commuting.
How much more money was I really making?
Also, I noticed I never felt free. I finally was “off” on weekends with paid holidays; but I was never truly off.
I had no clue what was going on with my kids. I was missing the kids games and planned dinners with my family and friends. I was passing out in my work clothes next to my kids because I missed them so much. I was not sleeping well. I was getting massive carpal tunnel in my hands from holding the steering wheel so many hours and from typing, writing, and holding the phone.
The coworker “drama” I used to deal with became silly and comical; like a family argument that you look back on and laugh about. The coworker drama I was exposed to now was some serious shit and I was the one who was supposed to handle it!
So what did I do? What does every girl do when they feel empty? I shopped. I bought more stuff. I justified to myself that I, I need to look good: I AM THE BOSS. If I look good, I feel good. I worked harder and got deeper into the trenches of my arena.
I refused to give up.
I noticed at my kids games that I did make, I had to answer the phone and be available. I was preoccupied with how my department was doing.
My kids were not doing well at school.
I actually craved punching in and working a weekend shift like I used to. I missed working my ass off and then leaving for the day, completely free.
I believed I was being immature and this is what being a “Business Woman” is all about.
I have to tough it out. I have to keep fighting.
Then one day a friend said to me, “You never smile anymore.”
I started to cry. It was the painful truth I was avoiding. I was no longer myself. I realized my kids looked sad and stopped asking me to do things with them “because you always have to work.” Then I noticed that I stopped giving a fuck…about anything…
“Worker bees can leave. Even Drones can fly away. The Queen is their slave.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club.
One night another friend said to me, “Your kids need you.” The guilt, pain and loneliness was unbearable.
After a chain of extremely stressful events that left me feeling lost and sitting in the parking lot, crying by my car; I had a moment of clarity.
What I wanted to be is the BOSS…OF MY LIFE…
I knew in the gut that this job was not the answer. I didn’t call my husband. I didn’t ask anyone for advice. I didn’t ask for permission.￼ I trusted myself.￼ No excuses.
Thankfully I kept a plan B, I stayed on as registry at another hospital. My supervisor there said he could guarantee me at least 20 hours a week. ￼
I walked in and resigned from my “BOSS” job.
I felt like a failure. I felt like a quitter. Yet I knew I made the right decision. It was a terrifying ambivalence.
It felt like I put my heart and soul into building and decorating a house and establishing relationships with a family; only to hand it to someone else. -Quillan Kelly-Dunn
Then I randomly found some podcasts by Marie Forleo who described failing as a “WIN” because at least the risk was taken and there wouldn’t be that “what if”.
By taking a risk, you found what didn’t work. At least you know now what you don’t want. -Marie Forleo
Not gonna lie, things were rough in my marriage for two months, but I appreciated my kids and every moment I had with them more than I ever did in my life. That was PRICELESS.
I enjoyed going to their games, being present, making dinner and punching in and out. I enjoyed the “freedom” of being a worker bee.
My husband eventually realized how stressful it was without me being home and how much time and money we were spending on gas, tolls, and trying to figure out childcare. I was smiling again without the stress of what to wear, what to eat and was able to sleep.
I assumed the full-time career I longed for did not exist; however, I wrote it down anyways.
I surrendered by trusting the universe and having faith. I let go of worrying about how my resume looked. I let the chips fall where they may. I gave up the illusion of control.
Things became desperate financially. Out of this desperation, I accepted the first job offered to me. It was less money, temporary, and not that great of benefits. ￼It turned out to be an amazing fit for me that utilized all my strengths. I found my passion, my drive, my balance and my purpose again.
It turned out to be a job I had never done before in the field and working from home. I spent less money on clothes, food, gas, childcare, & commuting. I was free to drop off and pick up my kids every day from school. It also turned out to be exactly what I had written down:
I wrote down: “a job where I could balance between my family and career while maintaining myself, my sanity, my integrity, and be in charge of my own schedule.”￼￼
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club.
I was looking to feel important, powerful, unstoppable, assertive, ballsy, fearless, empowered, driven and fulfilled. I was looking for a job to make me feel that way.
What I truly wanted was to feel in charge of my life=a title does not equal that.
I am without a full time job again today 1/23/28(my company closed 1/12/18). I am writing this in my yoga pants, with messy hair/no make up on; yet I feel more important than ever.
I feel in control and more powerful than I ever have.
I feel like a business woman.
I can give myself whatever title I want.
My office is anywhere I want it to be.
I can wear yoga pants or a Ross dress if I want. I’m ready to FIGHT.
“What you see at fight club is a generation of men raised by women.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
After all, you do not have to “get ready” to fight if you are already wearing yoga pants.