This episode is with Vicki Jakes. Vicki is an online marketing and website optimisation consultant helping small businesses sell more stuff via their websites. She shares how following her baby getting pneumonia and her having to return to her high powered job a couple of weeks after, she had a reboot moment that she often looks back on as one of the defining moments of her life. She walked away from having it all in search of the simple things in life. Many women will resonate with this episode. There are nuggets, about feminism, how we have been conditioned to want to juggle it all and how precious time is, and lots more tips.
“It all kind of came together in my early 30s. And I definitely broke down kind of mentally for a little bit. I just couldn’t work out what I wanted to do. And I ended up just staying in the same world and getting therapy totally helped me to stay there. But it was one of the best things I ever did actually because I haven’t really burnt out again since.”
“I felt like I wanted to investigate seeing if there was something different out there. So I sort of parted ways with them after six, seven years, and it felt like a real relief, I felt a little bit institutionalised, being at the business so long, even though I could affect a lot of change culturally, it wasn’t my business, being away on maternity leave as well, which meant that had felt out of the loop as many women do when they go back to the office. And after that, I never found my groove again, in my career. I went to work for a software company in Brighton, which was fun, you know, but I wasn’t as senior as I had been used to being for like six, seven years, you know, I got promoted really young and you know, I’d learned an awful lot and then I kind of lost my gun and my badge if you like for a little bit.”
“I realised I loved, the family life, I really wanted that and I would do anything to create more time and something switched definitely inside of me around that time, and I thought I might try and find another business that I can work at where I could be senior again and help them grow, like I did with the first agency I mentioned, and just do something really amazing again, you know, really, really helped take them somewhere. And I started shopping around kind of doing interviews, didn’t realise as I started shopping around that, that I was pregnant with my second daughter.”
“The other option was just leaving and going to get a job at this other agency. And knowing that I wouldn’t have maternity leave, right. And for some reason, for some reason, I went down that path. Because what I wanted to do was short-cut the opportunity to do bigger things, because as soon as I started to have kids, the amount of time that I had just became really obvious, I didn’t have time to mess around” So I took a gamble. And I said to the person interviewing me that I’m pregnant, does that make any difference and went for negotiation. And you know, that they were able to offer me a really good package. Not great money, though and again, you know, not compared to the heady heights of London, but I say this as a really entitled, you know, like white person living in Brighton, because I’m sure some people would have appreciated the salary. But again, I had these big ambitions. I thought it’s okay. It’s a startup vibe, I’ll help grow it. And you know, I’d managed to negotiate like, you know, 12 weeks of maternity leave, I thought this would be fine. Right? This will be fine. So what started was the beginning of another burnout. That didn’t happen. This was a burnout, that wasn’t a burnout.”
“I went into this mini maternity leave, she was overdue quite a bit. So you know, kicking around for another 10 days after my due date until she came along. And then, you know, just tried to switch off a bit. I thought I couldn’t really intensely switch off but it was really unfortunate. When she was seven weeks old she managed to contract pneumonia and it was so severe actually, like (the onset of it) that we got rushed to hospital. She was intubated in the emergency room, and my husband had to be at home with my daughter. It was quite traumatic, like watching, you know, a seven-week-old like being intubated. And then she was transferred in an ambulance over to Southampton and I just sat by her side during my maternity leave until she recovered and it took 11 days for her to recover. And when she opened her eyes after she’d had the tubes taken out, it was just magical, like, just absolutely magical. It was like, “welcome back”.
“She was 11 weeks old when I went back to work. So I was back to work, husk of a shell of a woman, and clearly tired, right? Because that’s what newborn babies do to you. And I got on with it, but I won’t lie, grumpy, tired post-pregnant woman”
“As a woman at the end of maternity leave, you ask, can we afford nursery? How is our life going to change? Yeah, I just remember I was sitting in a stock room that was behind them, the main office where the developers worked was the only private place that I could go and sit and express milk because I had to express milk in the office twice a day. I was going to have to come back to the office more. I’d managed to negotiate working from home a couple of days a week, but that was going to end and I’d have to be back in the office pretty much every day. And it just sort of dawned on me as I was sat there in the office and all I can hear is like this express pump. There’s no Wi-Fi, no 3g, no 4g, so I can’t even look at my phone, right? And I’m just like, what, what have you done, Vicki? What have you done? This decision that you’d made to come work at a company help them build it up? Like, what were you thinking you could never help them? Like, you could never have helped them. It was just mad thinking that I could do that and have another baby.”
“You’re meant to see your kids more. This is the whole reason why you did what you did. This isn’t new, eight years ago, after that initial burnout going It’s okay, you know, do a bit more yoga, take some time out, I started doing Pilates or take some time out for myself, I have more holidays, you can’t do that now. And you can’t do all the things and I had a real reboot moment. I was a 100% Reboot moment in that room. And I’m going to quit came in my head, I’m going to quit, I’m going to set my own business. This is what I’m going to do. And I’m going to do this on my own. And every single penny I make, we’re going to make for me, I’m going to make my daughter’s and I’m going to see my kids more than anyone has ever been able to let me do whilst I was working for someone else. Right and that is what drove me out of that office hiding my milk under my jumper so I didn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable, right?”
“He said to me, we will make it work. We will make it work and I just, you know, I knew we could and I won’t lie like the first year of business for me was hard, really, really hard and you know, slapped on a lot of personal debt, like trying to get through that first year. I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
“We’ve been conditioned. You know, I think there’s an element of toxic positivity. When it comes to feminism, you know, we’re all like we spent all of these years in the kind of like the feminist arena of saying, career first, career first, you can have everything that men have, but like what men have, or what men have had in the corporate world for those years is the women looking after the kids or the or the nanny or whatever, right? So I think we forget that, like, we can have anything the guys have, but they’ve had support for a really long time. That’s how they’ve done so well. Right? So it’s a total myth, 100% myth.”
“I think from our generation, in particular, we’ve been pushed quite hard to try and achieve the same as men, which has not been a bad thing. I feel like it’s good that we’ve been told, you can get there. However, it’s a little bit like the hustle culture from recent years really is what we should have been asking all those years as well. Do we want it? Do we actually want to push ourselves that hard? Because there is something to say, for having a slightly quieter life, a slightly more considered life. One where you enjoy, you know, simple things, the kind of pathway that I’ve decided to go down. It’s a simple life that isn’t full of too many people. It’s not complicated. There’s no drama in my life, the friends I have are very pleasant people, you know, there’s, again, no drama. I’m very lucky to have that, I feel like I’ve spent many years cultivating it.”
“I am an addict, right? I am a workaholic, I was addicted to just sitting here and just doing non-stop work, sometimes until my eyes closed, and then I would get up and do it again. And, and then you know, I realised after a while after doing that sort of pattern, that is probably not a good idea. And I need to recharge and I’m not as young and bouncy as it once was.”
“I just did that with my socials. Basically, I’ve switched all notifications off any notification apart from text messages, but no one text messages me apart from my husband. So like there’s a nice sort of line of comms there. And I don’t follow anyone on Facebook.”
“I need these boundaries in place. Right? I have on my computer, a timer app in my browser. So once I’ve done half an hour on Twitter, it will shut me down. It won’t let me go and read it.”
“Keep it simple. Don’t complicate things. I feel like as soon as I started to pack my diary out and felt compelled to keep in touch with more than like the handful of people I know. Life got complicated and boring. Protect your time, your time is the only thing that you’ve got control over whether you give away or not. And you’ve only got so many hours right before you kind of head up to the kind of big stopwatch in the sky, right. So definitely like a kind of a rule of thumb for me in terms of how I live every day, as I look at my time and think this is how I genuinely want to spend my time. If this was 100 pounds would I do this hour would I just give it away like this? And where possible. I only spend my time doing things that I love working on my business with my family. I love reading. I love really bad TV, action movies, which really annoys my husband because he does not like guns and violence. And hanging out with my cat. You know, as simple life is definitely like one I can hardly recommend you can. When you slow down, you can just appreciate it so much more. And I’m sure like that’s mindfulness.”
“It’s about building it and growing it, definitely now I’m in business for the process. I absolutely love it. I’m in it because of my mission, I want to help my people for sure. And you know, the fact I get to make money from that is just like a privilege and a joy. It really is. But doing it in a kind of softer calm away is also definitely something I can recommend to others.”
#worklifebalance #family #business #haveitall #feminism #business
The Chillpreneur by Denise Duffield Thomas https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chillpreneur-Creating-Success-Freedom-Abundance-ebook/dp/B07D69Z6C2/
A Company Of One by Paul Jarvis https://www.amazon.co.uk/Company-One-Staying-Small-Business-ebook/dp/B07FQ2PFNN
Vicki Jakes is an online marketing and website optimisation consultant helping small businesses sell more stuff via their websites.
Using her 20+ years of experience leading teams of developers, designers, copywriters, user-experience specialists, and testers for global clients, she knows her way around a website and what makes your users want to buy from you.
She also has a passion for getting us all to want to take care of our websites and not be ashamed to send traffic to it or “forget” to share the URL when asked!
CONNECT WITH VICKI
people can contact me via my website: heyvickijakes.com
ABOUT THE HOST
Emma Last is a qualified Mental Health and Wellbeing Trainer and Coach. She has co-written both the First Aid Industry body’s accredited First Aid for Mental Health and Wellbeing training for Adults in the workplace and those working with children.
Emma also has over 20-years, experience in leading teams and developing strategies for change. She worked in senior leadership for a large corporate until early 2018, when she came to a turning point in her career due to being on the brink of burnout and wanted to gain more of a balance in her life. She then rebooted her life and founded her company Progressive Minds.
Emma also works with workplaces and schools on their Mental Health and Wellbeing strategies and provides training and coaching to support employees through challenging and changing times. Emma also works with individuals to help them to perform at their best by working on their mental fitness, which incorporates stress/burnout prevention and resilience and agility development through her Human Reboot Movement Coaching Programme. Her clients say they have become more mentally fit, happier and gain the results they want in their lives.
Her Human Reboot podcast achieved number 22 in the Mental Health category in Mental Health Awareness week. She is a #1 best selling author on Amazon
CONNECT WITH EMMA LAST
Find free resources, training and more info at https://linktr.ee/EmmaLast
If would like to find out how you can improve your wellbeing and results in your business or to find out more about my Rapid Resilience reboot book a free call https://schedulingEmmaLast.as.me/30min
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this podcast belong solely to the host and guest speakers. Please conduct your own due diligence.