Why I Ditched the 9-to-5 (and Why You Should Too!)

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In part 1 of this post, I explained how I ditched my 9-to-5, Corporate America job at Belk. Now, I’m going to give you the why. 

But this time, I’m referring to something a little different.

When I say the 9-to-5, I’m not really talking about your Corporate America job. Perhaps you love your job. And if you do, that’s awesome. You may even like working between the hours of 9 and 5 (or 8 and 5, depending on where you work.) Corporate America isn’t for everyone, but it is for some people. I’d even venture to say that the Corporate America lifestyle is beneficial, no matter what type of worker you are. The competitive environment, the professional dress code — even the strict set of hours I had to work — definitely helped to shape my skills as an employee and as a business person. I wouldn’t have become the leader I am today, were it not for the swift kick in the ass I got from Corporate America.

When I say the 9-to-5, I’m talking about a certain mentality. I’m talking about a mentality that says that in order to be a productive member of society, you must work in a cubicle or an office between the hours of 9 and 5 (or 8 and 5) with a one-hour break for lunch and 15-minute breaks every 2 hours to get up and stretch. I’m talking about a habit that everyone inside the Corporate America walls needs to break. Employees and employers.

Employers who confine their office employees to a strict, daily 9-to-5 schedule are missing out on how great their business can truly be. While some employees may enjoy the rigidity of a set schedule, in today’s society, I’d venture to say that most would appreciate flexibility, especially working moms. I’ve written before about how happy employees lead to happy customers. If your employees enjoy their jobs and are passionate about doing the work they do, they are more likely to serve your customers better, whoever they may be. In fact, ever since starting my new job as a W.A.H.M., I am living proof of this theory.

As I stated in part 1 of this post, I pretty much work around the clock. Sometimes I work from my kitchen table, my home office, my living room couch, my back porch or the Starbucks down the street. It’s the Saturday after a holiday, and I did some work today.

Why?

Well, it most certainly wasn’t because I felt like I had to. I enjoy what I do. I like my job. And because my employer respects me and trusts me enough to get the job done, without confining me to an office building, or to a set schedule of 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, I respect him back by doing my job. Sometimes it’s more than 8 hours a day and more than 5 days a week.

And, what’s more, I’m happy to do it.

I’m excited to wake up every day, knowing I don’t have to sit in traffic for 2 hours.  In fact, it’s liberating to know that it’s not my hours that are being counted at all. It’s the quality of the work I’m doing. And because of that, my quality standards have risen even higher than before.

I love that I can cook a healthy breakfast and eat with my husband, instead of rushing through a fast-food drive-thru window on the way to work.

I love that I can enjoy the natural light that floods through the windows and into my house. I know for a fact it makes me more productive.

I love that I don’t have to stress out when my baby starts crying and I have to stop working for a few minutes, or even for a few hours, to soothe her. If need be, I can pick up my work again when she goes down for the night.

As long as the job gets done, everyone’s happy.

This post is mostly for all the Corporate America employers out there. I realize that certain businesses have to operate within a certain window of time to be successful, and therefore, not all employees have the luxury of working “around the clock.” But flexibility and work-life balance are important to most people these days, and for that reason, the 9-to-5 mentality is becoming more and more obsolete.

So please. For the sake of your employees, for the sake of your customers, for the sake of your business: ditch the 9-to-5.

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