Taking time-off from work? No prob-llama!


Taking time-off from work? No prob-llama!

The other day, my daughter had her first field trip to the wonderful Carlson’s Lovable Llama farm in Waconia, and I volunteered to chaperone.

It was a half-day trip that I could have easily skipped. In all honesty, I have tons of work on my plate and I’m in a particularly busy season with my business. Going into my third year as a business owner, I’ve never been busier and as strapped for time as I am right now.

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My business partner/husband and I are on-boarding a new employee and saying goodbye to some that have been with us for a while and are moving on to different pastures. We are hyper-focused on developing a new business pipeline, all while establishing processes and procedures and tightening up our foundation. Not to mention our 9+ client accounts and all the work that is entailed in running a business. Nevertheless, I took the time out of my day to do go to this event and be there for my daughter, even when I knew it would put me behind on work.

Llama, llama where’s your mama?

There was another mom on the trip who mentioned in passing that she had to do some real scheduling acrobatics to be able to go. She asked if I was easily able to take the time off from work. I paused for a millisecond–barely long enough for her to notice my hesitation. Once I mentioned that I owned my own business, she commented that it must be really easy for me to take time off from work whenever I want. I know her comment was not supposed to be negative. But I still felt a pang of guilt. Partly because–yes, in theory, it is easy for me to take off work whenever I want. After all, I’m the #boss! But truthfully, taking time off whenever I want is not something I do for myself very often. And lately, not at all.

Too busy working? Alpaca lunch!

We live in a culture that values work, work, work, work, work. As a business-owner entering a stage of rapid growth, I feel a real pressure to work long, hard hours with little regard for everything else in my life–much to my own chagrin. And not to mention the fact that I’m building a digital marketing agency–an industry that is notorious for prioritizing speed and long hours. Work-life balance be damned!

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A beautiful mama and baby llama pair at the llama farm!

Yet, one of the tenets of my company is to build a culture that allows our employees to grow and cultivate their careers, while also being able to take time off whenever and however they need. To find the balance they want while working remotely and providing for their families. My daughter was born severely premature back in 2015 (24-weeks gestation). I became a stay-at-hospital mom (6 months in the NICU), then a stay-at-home mom for 22 months–neither of which were in my career plan. Proofpoint was conceived from a challenging problem that existed for us–and also affects so many like us in the world today: 

How do we balance our professional life and our family life in a meaningful way that allows us to do both, yet still maintain priority on all the things that drive us and fulfill us in life, outside of our job?

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After the exchange with the other mom, and realizing I shouldn’t feel guilty for having a flexible work schedule, I became even more resolute in my pursuit for growing my business and creating a culture that allows others to find meaning in their work, and also the ability to enjoy their life outside of work. Work is important, but life outside of work will always be the most important. Taking time off work to go on a field trip with your kids or just a personal day with your favorite Netflix show shouldn’t be a problem. It should be no prob-llama at all!

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Needless to say, my daughter and I had a blast at the llama farm! I took the time off from work; rearranged my schedule with a few clients, and I was still able to get the work done I needed. We spent 3 hours learning about, playing with and caring for these gentle giants. The day was glorious and the simple pleasure of spending time with my daughter while loving on these lovable llamas was just the break I needed to get back to work the next day.

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