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MIA FREEDMAN: 'How I dodged the "walk of shame" in the months before I started Mamamia.'

For almost a year, when I was working in a corporate job I hated, I learned about something called The Walk Of Shame.

I had two kids at home, one of whom was just six months old and I was still breastfeeding. My job involved a commute of around 45 minutes each way but often it was more than an hour if the traffic was bad.

I was new to the company and I was trying to prove myself. I was determined to show that I could mix it up with my coworkers and that I was committed to my job but they were almost all men and very few of them had families. Nobody else seemed to care about getting home in time for dinner or to see their partners or kids or take their dogs to the park.

Mia Freedman LadyStartups
Balancing work and being a mum is no easy task. Image: Supplied.

Paranoid that I would be seen as a slacker if I left on time, I developed a way to avoid the Walk Of Shame that so many women do when they leave the office before their co-workers to pick up their kids, take care of aging parents, go to the gym for their mental health or any of the other things that would fall into the “having a life” category.

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Do you know the Walk Of Shame?

Where you get snide looks from your co-workers because you’re leaving before them, even though they know nothing about how hard you actually work. They’re probably just sitting there on Facebook!

So at this job, at lunchtime every day, I would take my handbag and my coat and put them in my car which was parked downstairs. I would hide my car keys under the seat and leave the car unlocked and then at 5:30, I would pick up my phone and a manilla folder full of random bits of paper and pretend to be having a conversation as I walked confidently to the lift as though I were on my way to a meeting in another part of the building.

Then I would slip into my car, duck down behind the steering wheel and whizz out of the carpark, praying that nobody saw me and branded me a ‘slacker’. It didn’t matter that I logged back on and did hours more work after I’d put the kids to bed. I knew I was being judged by the number of hours I was sitting on my desk which is bloody ridiculous.

After seven months of this - hell, after two months of this - I realised this was no way to live. I couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted to be able to manage my time like the adult I am. I wanted control and flexibility that I was never going to get when I worked with a bunch of people who just didn’t understand my life and the demands on my time or care about my wellbeing.

So I began making plans to leave and start my own business. Five months later, I resigned and that same day, I pressed PUBLISH on my first post here on Mamamia.com.au.

Mia Freedman LadyStartups
From a living room blog to an office with over 80 employees. Image: Supplied.
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The rest is history. I now run, along with my husband and around 80 staff, Australia’s largest women’s media company. And it all began with that walk of shame and realising that life was too short to keep living that way and not to pursue my dream of working for myself.

Which is why I'm now so passionate about helping other women who dream of doing the same thing. It’s also inspired me to create The Lady Startup Activation Plan - a six week online course to take anyone from idea to launch.

I pulled together all the information required to launch your own business and have specifically designed the course so it can be done in your own time, after-hours, after the kids are in bed and you can do it at your own pace. But you get to be personally tutored by me in a series of videos with the added benefit of doing the course with a group of other women on the same page and at the same stage as you.

If you never want to do the walk of shame again and if you’ve always dreamt of working for yourself, you’re inviting to join us when the next class starts on 29 October.

Find out all about The Lady Startup Activation Plan here.

Are you familiar with the work 'walk of shame'? Tell us about your experiences below!

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