I remember the fateful day when my (then) general manager called me on the phone. I was employed by Brisbane’s largest media company and had proudly worked my way up a pretty male-dominated chain to a role that I absolutely adored. As senior editor of a stable of lifestyle magazines, every day was equal parts challenging and rewarding. I had a team of the coolest cats around me, helping me look great. I literally had the coveted corner office with windows for days. But this fateful day, I was sitting on my back deck, on my second stint of maternity leave, with a boob out, feeding a hungry newborn (of all the ironies of being a dedicated working mum…).
“So, Bel, I hate to say this but Rupert has decided to close down all the magazines,” my GM said, slowly. It was the era of the GFC and I should’ve seen the writing on the wall, but I was too focused on smashing the glass ceiling to worry about walls. Always an optimist, I struggled for the right words, and for breath, while jiggling the newborn to keep her quiet. But what I didn’t realise in that sliding-doors moment, as I struggled to keep the tears from spilling over (pregnancy hormones were still exiting my system, people!), was that my GM had actually given me the greatest gift – a reason to fulfill my dream of self employment. So I tucked my boob in and got on with the job!
My business is seven years young this year and it continues to go from strength to strength. It gives me the greatest satisfaction – while also depleting me of more sleep than two newborns ever did. I’m working harder than I ever have before, but I’m loving my ‘job’ more than I’ve loved a job in my life. My business gives me a sense of purpose, freedom, flexibility, happiness and (let’s be honest) the ability to enjoy the finer things in life. Ultimately, I feel proud of the legacy I’m leaving my girls. So, if there’s one thing I can encourage even one other person to do, it’s to take a chance and walk through that sliding door, if and when it presents itself. Just tuck your boob in first.