It's working for Amy Oztan
Brooklyn, New York
"To change our work and family schedule and arrangement, it would really have to be my dream job."
This actor turned leading parenting blogger, freelance writer and now, podcaster, found her way to what Is Working through trial, error and ultimate success.
Amy Oztan, known online as SELFISH MOM and the mother of Jake (14) and Fiona (11), has a unique back to work story. She has always been the owner of a non-traditional work schedule, first as a working actor in New York, and currently as a freelance writer and online influencer. She left acting in the second trimester of her first pregnancy. “There was no way I could do the crazy hours that acting involved. I have no idea how anyone does it. The schedule is not only really tough it is really last minute.”
Amy found fulfillment at home caring for her children for the ensuing years and nursing for a year each, and she found herself extremely involved in volunteering at her children’s school. Once her daughter was in school full time she took a job in a production office, fulfilling her personal assumption that she would head to work once her kids reached a certain age. But what she found was a schedule that did not work at all for her family. “I worked about six hours each day, but after a 50 minute commute each way and paying for child care, I was making nothing. After two months I decided it was not worth it, and at this point it was not purely financial — I was utterly exhausted.”
With a spouse who worked long hours outside the home, Amy learned that work that afforded her flexibility was key. She found this needed flexibility in writing. She began chronicling her Civil War-era home’s renovation in 2006 for a real estate website, and then contributing articles to a parenting website. After founding her own site, SelfishMom.com, in 2008 she started to be contacted by brands seeking her reviews of products and presence at events. She realized that though her blog began as a personal endeavor, it should become professional. “Eventually I realized I was spending time and money and everyone else — the PR company, the brand, the driver to the event — was making money. That’s why I decided I needed to turn it into a business.”
Over time Amy realized that that autonomy afforded her as a blogger and freelance writer was essential to her family. “Except for the day I head to the recording studio for my weekly podcast PARENTING BYTES, generally during the day I’m working here at home. My husband works out of the home and long hours. Once he gets home at night he’s been gone for 12 to 14 hours. I don’t know how parents do it if they are both out of the house.”
However, Amy recently encountered her dream job: SOCIAL MEDIA PRODUCER FOR THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT. It is an opportunity that, if she is accepted, would require her to be out of the house every day at dinnertime, placing the “evening shift” burden fully on her husband. As her biggest supporter, he agreed that she should try for it. “There are a million jobs that pass in front of my eyes each day on Facebook and elsewhere and I have never applied. To change our work and family schedule and arrangement, it would really have to be my dream job.”
Although Amy has entered a new frontier of It’s Working, she has some sage advice for parents just beginning their journey: “Follow your instincts and do not worry about what everyone around you is doing differently. Don’t doubt yourself.”