Top 5 Reasons to Leave Your Office Job Behind
It’s amazing how many of our students here at Doula School had an office job prior to starting birth work. While some of us may thrive in an office setting, for others, the Monday to Friday routine in a small cubicle on the twenty-second floor can be a difficult way to make a living. Many movies (Office Space, In Good Company) and television shows (The Office, The IT Crowd) have depicted the monotony of corporate life for viewers.
With office work to birth work being such a common path for many doulas, we thought it fitting to look at the top 5 reasons to leave your office job behind. Of course the decision to change careers is a BIG one and we always recommend speaking with other doulas and birth workers in the field to understand the best way to make a switch.
If you’ve ever taken transit between 7 am and 9 am on a weekday, you know that dull, pained feeling that is in the air. People dragging themselves onto the bus, streetcar, subway, or train and making their way into the office. According to the Washington Post, by the end of your career, you might spend nearly a year of life commuting. You spend about 250 hours in transit each year.
That’s A LOT of time. Thankfully with remote work and work-from-home becoming more and more normalized, there is less commuting, but companies are slowly making a push to get workers back into the office. With doula and birth work, there is next to no commuting. Sure, you will have to visit clients, attend births, and head to classes. But that 5 day-a-week grind that has become synonymous with office work will be a thing of the past.
Office / ZOOM Meetings
It’s hard enough to stay awake during a 2-hour conference room meeting when you’re IN the office. You know the ones, a long, boring update on the quarterly sales figures. You have nothing to offer to this meeting and are just there because your boss thinks it’s important for the department to get some face time. Around halfway through the meeting you’ve mastered the ability to yawn while keeping your teeth together, so that no one notices.
Since COVID and many people shifting to remote work, meetings have somehow gotten even worse! Now you’ll be sitting at home on a ZOOM call, trying to stay focused. All the while your comfortable couch and beautiful TV are sitting there staring at you, begging you to come back and finish those 3 episodes of House of Dragon.
The good news is there are very few redundant meetings in birth work. When you’re connecting with a client or teaching a prenatal class, you know it’s IMPORTANT and your time is being well spent. More importantly you get the immediate validation when clients express how helpful it was and how glad they are to have hired you.
Ask any doula and they will tell you the importance of good coffee. With births that can last anywhere from 60 minutes to 36 hours, you’ll want to have some legitimately great caffeine by your side. At a standard office, they’ll have an old coffee maker set up in the break room. And since it’s the only game in town, you’ll mosey up and make a cup or two each day. Convincing yourself that it’s good because you’re saving money and it’s not really THAT bad. But it is that bad. In birth work you can make yourself the kind of coffee you love from the comfort of home before heading out to visit clients or teach a class. The office may not have your specialty Nespresso machine, but YOUR kitchen sure can.
Sick of Your Boss
Studies have shown up to 57% of employees who quit their job do so because they can’t stand their boss! While corporate life often has endless inter-office drama around who manages who, who’s next in line for a senior manager or director role, who gets the fancier office…etc. The birth world is a lot SIMPLER. In many cases you can be your own boss. Working as an independent contractor or starting your own doula agency means that you’ll be the one in charge. A chance to embark on your own entrepreneur journey outside of the rigid office structure.
Even if you do end up with a boss in the doula world (perhaps you join an agency or collective), the odds are the structure will be relatively flat and independent. United by a common mission to help local families, there isn’t the same natural tension that seems to exist in corporate life.
It’s Not Meaningful Anymore
When starting your career in corporate life there was almost certainly an excitement, a wonder to the whole thing. Where would it lead! What would you become! The possibilities probably seemed endless. Unfortunately, for many of us, after several years in an office a lot of the early excitement will have faded. It can be difficult to feel like you’re making an impact when faced with endless meetings, memos, downsizing, cross-functional teams, and annual reports.
What we hear time and time again from Doula School students is that there is such a joy in knowing they’re making a difference. Even if it’s just with a single person or single family, as a doula you know exactly the tangible impact you’re making and can see and feel it each day. There is a special feeling of gratitude you get when working with someone through their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey that can’t be matched with a big sale or promotion in your old corporate job. It’s hard to explain, but any birth workers reading this know what we mean.
If you’ve been on the fence about changing careers and moving away from the office, we are hear to help. You can talk to a member of our team by filling out this contact form. Or if you’re reading to take the plunge and sign up for one of our programs, you can see the full class schedule here.