Wednesday, November 9, 2022

++++ "Everything that shine ain't always gonna be gold" ++++ the end of my career at Julie Vos

I have debated on writing this post for a month now, 
but I think it is important to discuss how seemingly impossible it is to be a mother 
and continue to have a career. 

When I shared Little Charlie's first trip to New York yesterday on the blog
that was actually me having to say goodbye to my Julie Vos coworkers. 

Some back story: 
I have worked at Julie Vos since April 2019 and have honestly loved my time there. I learned so much and made some great friends (and one best one!). 

When I first started there were only like 15 people with the company- now they are at 50+. I grew from a Wholesale Fulfillment Coordinator to Wholesale Fulfillment Manager in just 2 months. From there I was able to essentially create my own job in the company based off my deep understanding of the product, inventory and needs of the company. I became the In-House Inventory Manager. I was responsible for intake of shipments from our vendors, quality control, organizing the stock (designed an entirely new stock room), adding/removing products from the website, editing the line sheets/catalogues/marketing emails, helped pull orders - especially doing high volume seasons (sometimes over 2K orders A DAY), survived the pandemic with the company- made boxes in my kitchen and drove them in a uhaul truck into the city to support the team shipping orders in the office during lockdown. I was also one of the first people to go back full time, taking on additional responsibilities to keep the company running.

I was very, very good at my job, if I do say so myself.

So what happened:
When I found out that my fertility treatment actually worked and I was pregnant I was very excited to share the news with my coworkers (some of who knew my struggles, cheered me on, and manifested for us). I actively worked to make sure my transition to maternity leave would be seamless, including writing a 70 page "handbook" that included screen shots and flow charts for every aspect of my job. When I was leaving for maternity leave I discussed different options for my return and coming back part time was an option on the table. 

During maternity leave I reached out to further discuss options for my return. That is when I found out that I could use my PTOs to start back with a part time schedule. For the months I worked after maternity leave I felt like I had the best of both worlds, I was able to be home with my baby on Tuesdays and Thursdays and commute into NYC on M, W, F. I was happy from the break of the monotony of motherhood. It made me a more present mom and a more present, hardworking employee. Don't get me wrong, I missed my baby like crazy, it is unnatural to be away from your baby, like weaning a puppy too soon, no matter what minuscular amount of time you get (if any) for maternity leave.

But I enjoyed the balance. I felt like I was really in the groove of my job and making part time work. Turns out that is not how my supervisor saw it. I was informed that there would not be a part time position available to me, they wanted me back full time. This was relayed to me in a meeting titled "Part Time Questions Answered", so needless to say I was blindsided by this. After which HR insisted that I "verbally resigned" during that meeting which would have made me ineligible for unemployment insurance. Leaving me really high & dry. I had to insist over and over again that I did not resign.

So after my PTOs ran out (all of which I had saved during my entire pregnancy- never missing a day of work) I would be faced with an all or nothing choice- go back full time or be let go. There was no work from home option available to me (an option available to many other people in the company). I just could not commute to NYC everyday and be gone from my family from 7am- 7pm (at the earliest without any train delays, which seems to be an everyday occurrence).

So when push came to shove, I was let go.
I did not want to leave Julie Vos, I loved my job.
I tried everything I could to stay.

As a last ditch effort- I was offered a seasonal position that would be from Nov - Jan (on a part time schedule like I wanted), essentially to benefit them and help them get through the holiday season. In a seasonal role I would be hourly, would have to clock out to pump breastmilk and for lunch. No holiday bonus even though I worked the majority of the year as a regular employee. The real kicker is that I would be not be invited to the holiday party to celebrate the end of yet another Black Friday and holiday season. Yeah that was the last straw for me and made that decision an easy one.

Also my "mothers room" to be able to pump was a super temporary set up (talk about being the first notification that they didn't plan on keeping me long term). It consisted of a folding temporary wall in someone else's office. No real door, no lock, no light.

It pulled open up to a tiny folding table and chair. The whole area was about 4 feet wide. Gee thanks.

I am disappointed to say the least. The company has gotten so much larger and much more corporate and NOT in a good way. It used to be a place where we really felt like a team, all working towards the same goal. It is so different now. 

I really did think that there would be some flexibility available. Especially since there was for a male coworker who was on a part time schedule when I started to go to grad school. Apparently that was acceptable but not a part time schedule for a new mother, in a company owned and run by women. I thought there would be some support. I am one of the only younger professionals that had a baby. I hope this is a warning for the woman that I work with.

This is why women are taken out of the work force. I refuse to put my 3 month old in day care. I refuse to pay almost 2K a month for someone to put my baby in a crib by himself. I REFUSE to be an absent mother. I don't want to miss out on his entire childhood while spending almost as much money as I make to have someone else take care of him and paying for a full time commute, it is pretty much a wash. 

I miss work.
I miss my friends.
I miss the balance.
I hope I live on just a little from all my work at JV.

I really enjoyed the recap of Serena Williams essay for Vogue Magazine from @poojalakshmin on Instagram where motherhood is described as one long exercise in grief. She also talks about what if motherhood makes us better leaders, better athletes, better professionals. But a quote that I really loved and have been thinking about was this: "The capacity to know when it’s time to move on and make that choice is a powerful skill".

I love the brand and the jewelry.
I will continue to wear it too, but with a little more sadness in my heart where there used to be excitement for the future of the brand.

If you are someone that gets gifts from me- you will still be getting JV jewels for the foreseeable future because #1. I have a ton that I picked out already #2. I am now unemployed ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿป‍♀️

So I am on the "Pursuit of Happiness" and it looks different than I originally thought it would.

How could I leave this day in & day out:

I couldn't.

๐Ÿ’” but also ❤️ 

So many complicated feelings.

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