Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The End of an Era (bye bye St. John)

hard at work in the NY showroom during market wearing the Kelly Coat
On my way to my sister's wedding rehearsal in the polka dot dress
Wearing St. John Sport at the Saks Contest Weekend at the Ritz in Laguna
I still have this ruffled leather jacket! this is NY Eve 2003
I had a break in my routine today. Today, this Tuesday, for the first time in almost 2 years, I went to a company other than St. John Knits to work.

Last week layoffs continued at St. John as they have on and off for the past few months. Some people near and dear to my heart were let go, as was I. In actuality I wasn't laid off, rather my contract was ended. Back in December 08 when lay offs started, I was lucky to maintain a position at St. John as an outside contractor, whereas I had previously been a part time employee. So as the economy continued to struggle, the lay offs continued and so they really couldn't justify having an outside contractor on staff when people were losing their jobs.

The funny thing is is that I had mixed feelings when I first heard the news. For the past year I had been debating whether I should continue on in my part time role. You see I had a lot of conflicting feelings being "part time". While many other women and moms would tell me how lucky I was to have such a position, I often felt neither here nor there. While at home I often thought of work, and while at work I often thought of home. Being part time I no longer played as vital of a role as I used to. While at St. John I had been a Business Rep, an Account Manager and the West Coast Regional of Sales. Now I sat in a cubicle (not that there's anything wrong with a cube, just a new experience for me!) and I really wasn't "in the mix" if you will. I looked in on all the exciting things going on everyday with envy and longing. My friends were going on trips to NYC (a place I really miss visiting), they were involved in all the important happenings of the company and were buying Louboutins, etc. I missed my old positions and almost thought if I wasn't there then I would be able to let the envy go and move on. I really felt I wanted to and needed to move on but some force was holding me there.

On top of the feelings I had while I was at work, I also felt conflicted about being away from the kids even for just a couple of days a week and thought that if I gave up my PT role, I would be more focused and more relaxed while with the kids. And on top of all that I had a husband literally begging me to come help him at his office.

While I could wrap my head around the fact that all my job envy was simply due to my ego, I couldn't understand why I had such a hard time giving up my role and just being happy as a stay at home mom. While Art supported me in whatever choices I made, I knew deep down he really wanted me to leave and either stay home full time or come help him at the office. I honestly couldn't understand why I always felt stuck in the middle and conflicted. I know some women who willingly and happily continue to work full time as well as stay home full time. Neither option necessarily appealed to me. Say what you will about Dr. Laura, but I think she has it right that many women in my generation today have a lot to blame on the women's movement. We strive to have it all; the career, the husband, the family, etc. Can we really have it all though? And in reality, if you don't really know if you do want it all, are you left feeling a little lost? I am. I wanted to continue to have a flourishing career, but at what cost? I wanted to be a devoted mother to my children, but would I really be happy completely catering to their every need all day without feeling like I had an outlet for myself? Anyone reading this please take note that these questions I raise are entirely for myself and my issue alone. If anything, I actually am really envious of both the full time working moms who do so on their own volition and the stay at home moms. At least you know what you want and went for it. I told this exact same thing to my dear friend Jenn who recently went back to work FT. I still often feel like I don't know what I want and it makes me crazy sometimes! Anyhow, I digress.

Back to St. John. Basically, that chapter of my life is now closed. It took me a few days to process it, but I now feel really good about it. I have witnessed it too many times in life to not believe that everything happens for a reason. As Art said, "Andrea, you would have never left that place on your own free will so it's better you didn't have a choice about it." Amen. After months of debating back and forth the choice was made for me. I will now focus the time I spent there on helping CIU flourish and succeed. I plan to focus on that for the next 2 years, and then when Syd starts kindergarten I may go back to school or who knows. The choice is mine really and even with all my wishy washy back and forth feelings about work or no work, I know that I am extremely fortunate and blessed to be in the position to choose my future for myself.

All in all I had a wonderful 8.5 years at St. John. I can honestly say that I worked with the best group of people there. So many wonderful memories, so many great places visited and so many great meals! I traveled to Oahu, NYC, Maui, the Virgin Islands (St. John), Boston, Chicago, Texas, all over Florida, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle and San Francisco to name a few. I met so many great people and feel fortunate to have worked with so many talented individuals. I quickly scanned through some old pics and found a few memorable ones wearing St. John. Bye Bye KNITS! Santana, you are an original!

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