My last day with Treefrog is approaching as I prepare for a new full-time role: having a baby and becoming a stay-at-home mom. I’ve heard the hours for this new job aren’t great — something about pulling all-nighters and not getting any sleep? — but the benefits are fantastic!
I’ve had the pleasure of working at Treefrog since May 2015, when I started as an intern. I then freelanced during the school year and worked part-time in the summers, and I’ve been full-time since I graduated from Indiana University (go Hoosiers!) in May 2018. Right after I married my husband, Randy, in June 2018, I started working remotely and have been for over three years. As great as it has been to travel with my husband for his optometry school rotations, I’ve missed seeing my coworkers every day!
The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to work from home for over a year, but we’ve been meeting virtually twice a day as a team since then. It’s been a blessing that I get to see my coworkers’ faces and talk with them about their day and our current projects. That has made working from home a bit less lonely!
It’s been a busy year with moving to Marion, Indiana (for Randy’s job as an eye doctor at Preferred Eye Care), preparing for a baby, getting a puppy, and buying a house for the first time. My team has been so patient with me as I take time to rest, get our house in order, go to doctor’s appointments, and more.
As much as I have enjoyed working with the Treefrog team and writing content for our clients, I’ve felt God pulling me toward motherhood over the last couple of years. I’m looking forward to cuddling with our little guy, reading him books, teaching him proper grammar (it’s important, people!), and showing him how to love Jesus and others.
I’ve learned a lot in my time at Treefrog, but here are my biggest takeaways:
Treefrog is an interesting company for many reasons, one of which is that we’re currently an all-woman team. It has been inspiring to work alongside women who are as strong and hard-working as they are kind and personable. I didn’t always know that you could be both/and, not just either/or, when it came to advocating for yourself on the job while treating others with respect. It’s a hurdle that many working women (myself included) struggle with for one reason or another.
For example, did you know that women are 19% less likely to ask for a raise than men? Even though my boss is a fellow woman (and an amazing one at that), I was terrified to ask for a pay increase for the longest time. But once I finally did, we had a great conversation about how I’d helped our company succeed (especially during the pandemic) and how I could continue to do so. It was really empowering, and I’m glad I was confident in my abilities and value to our business.
Advocating for yourself involves so much more than asking for raises, though. It’s respectfully speaking up when you disagree with someone, standing firm in your beliefs, and letting your team know when you need the day off. When you’re able to kindly but clearly share your opinions — and you take care of your body, mind, and spirit — you’ll be better equipped to serve your team and do your job well.
There have been times over the years that I’ve needed a helping hand at work — whether that was due to issues with anxiety, pregnancy-related fatigue, or just a day where I had a lot going on in my non-work life. I’ve never been great about asking for help, but whenever I do, a member of my team steps up to the plate to take something off of my plate.
People can’t automatically tell that you need assistance, as they have their own work and life to navigate. But if you ask someone for a hand on a project, or request a deadline extension, they’ll know how to work with you to get the job done. And speaking up when you’d like help is not a weakness; if anything, it shows that you can communicate your needs with others and show appreciation for them adjusting to accommodate you.
**Please note: I have not become an expert in this area and still don’t ask for help nearly as often as I should. But it’s something I’ve been working on, especially as I get ready for times with the baby when I’ll need an extra pair of hands!**
If you’re familiar with the Enneagram, I’m a 2 with a strong 3 wing. If that sounds like gibberish to you, what this personality type means is that I’m a helper (Type 2) with a tendency to also be an achiever (Type 3). I love being the one to take care of others and help them (see my previous section about struggling to ask for help), and I also like to succeed and cross things off the list.
A problem with this personality type is that I sometimes fall into the trap of getting things done for the sake of getting things done — or because it makes me look good. But I’m learning that if I let my day be dictated by how many things I accomplish, I’m always going to come up short and be disappointed in myself.
Becoming a homeowner (and a pregnant one at that) has taught me this well; for example, I’m not lazy or a failure if I decide to rest instead of pulling weeds in the driveway. Maybe I needed to recharge in that moment so I could be kind to my husband, and enjoy the rest of the day. And those weeds are just going to grow back anyway!
This has translated into my work life as well. While I’m in the home stretch of my job, I’m also trying to continue writing quality content that actually helps and/or interests our clients’ readers. The temptation is always there to just “get it done,” but I find longer-lasting satisfaction in keeping up a good rapport with clients and their customers than I do in just crossing things off the list.
If 2020 (and 2021) taught us anything, it’s that nothing in life is certain, and change can happen overnight. While I believe that working from home, limiting errands, and giving others space have all been necessary for the common good, the pandemic has greatly impacted my mental health (and I’m sure many others could say the same).
I could have let last year stunt my growth, but somehow, I found the motivation to:
While permanently working from home is not my preference, it has given me the flexibility to keep growing as an employee and as a person outside of my job. I’m thankful that a year and a half of big changes pushed me to grow, not stay put.
I will miss the Treefroggers, but I’m looking forward to stepping away from the screen and into the great unknowns of parenthood. It will be a challenging full-time job, but one that I know God will equip me for.
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