Six years ago, I first met Deborah when Body Elements (now Physiofit Woman) was just starting and I remember her energy, passion, confidence and enthusiasm, that was infectious. This might have been one reason I attended her Pregnancy Pilates classes- I found her so inspirational (and the classes were very helpful as well). Back then I was just a couple of months in my amazing new job in a big corporation and it felt like a great achievement. I felt successful and I could not be happier.
Last week I went to the office for the last time. After six years of working in a sales role for a large US headquartered IT Company, I handed my badge and laptop to my manager and had my last free coffee. I was imagining this moment for quite some time and I thought it would be a little bit more spectacular – tears, speeches, cards, good bye presents… all that jazz. However the office was nearly empty as it was two day before Christmas Eve and there were no tears, no presents but I didn’t feel disappointed – I was elated! I was happy and excited as I was leaving my office job to focus fully on my new business and I could not be more ready than I was.
Although the company was extremely generous to its employees and it always placed high on various ‘best company to work for’, it was turning me into a moany bitter employee and it did not matter that it was communicated on a daily basis that this was a #dreamjob.
The problem was not with the job nor the company – the first couple of years were great. But then something happened – I changed. I was pregnant, I had children, children were sick, children were left in creche for 10 hours a day, children were sent half sick to creche because we just could not take another day off at the end of month (me and my husband had sales job and targets)… and then the vicious circle of guilt started.
You take a day off to stay with your sick child and you feel guilty about letting your employer down, you send your child to creche still not completely healthy and you are guilty about infecting other kids and letting your little one down when he needs you the most. You leave shortly before 5 pm to beat the worst traffic rush and again you feel guilty because you should have stayed a bit longer and finished that email. You get home and have exactly one hour and a half in which you have to make dinner, interact with the children, bath them and put them to bed. And of course you feel guilty about letting them watch telly instead of reading them a story because you need to unload the washing machine/dryer/dishwasher…
And then suddenly the new shoes or handbags or vacation abroad don’t seem to be so important and you start to find it increasingly difficult to justify sending a sneezing and coughing two-year-old to childcare with instructions when and how much of Calpol/Nurofen should he be getting when his temperature is over 38C (not if but WHEN). I redefined the meaning of success.
Slowly I realised that in order to have the desired work-life balance I will have to be self-employed. Luckily I have a talent that easily enables me to set up my own business – I am an exceptional cake baker. And this is not just me and my five-year-old saying it; when I took part in the Great Irish Bake Off I placed amongst the Top Three Amateur Bakers in Ireland. Baking has been my passion for a very long time and ideally in the long run I would love to have my own patisserie/continental bakery which requires quite a lot of investment. I decided to start smaller and in November I set up a collection and delivery cake business called Ali’s Adventures in Bakerland in Bray.
I am very well aware know that the circle of guilt will not end here and I am not choosing the easier option – nothing worth doing is ever easy. I had my first business when I was 19 – I am not naive about running my own business. I remember very well not having a single day off in a year. I remember making sure about suppliers and staff getting paid and sometimes not having enough to pay your own wage. It was extremely stressful and physically exhausting but also extremely satisfying (and sometimes extremely frustrating). I simply want to give it my best and see if I can make it work. I want to be able to respond with passion and enthusiasm when I get asked about what I do for a living, the same way Deborah does.
I am looking forward to this adventure and I wish you all a very successful (whatever your definition of it may be) AND Happy New Year!
About Ali Mitter
Ali attended our Pregnancy Pilates during her first pregnancy about six years ago. She just left her dream job in the corporate world to follow her passion. Ali is an amazing and talented baker and she was one of the three finalist of the Great Irish Bake Off 2014.
Ali started her own cake business Ali’s Adventures in Bakerland and of course I had to order our Christmas Coffee Morning Cake to Ali and I also ordered a cake for my Christmas Dinner with my family. What can I say…they were DELICIOUS!
Stay tuned with Physiofit Woman’s Facebook page as Ali has kindly offered a voucher for one Mini Cake or a Macaron Workshop. We will have a competition soon on our Facebook page.