I start a new job on Monday. After over a year of searching, trying to decide what the next step would be, going on interviews for positions that never came to fruition, and having multiple quarter life crisis moments, I am now going to be working a job that is actually in the field in which I studied in college and GASP- are actually passionate about.
I should probably also mention that I'm moving to an island. Yep, so there's that too.
It wasn't so much a secret, it was more that I was trying to tell everyone in my life my news before broadcasting it on the Internet, which I know is weird, because I basically live my life via various social media outlets. And even now, I know I still haven't individually spoken to everyone that I wanted to. Since finishing up my last day at my previous job yesterday, the outpouring of well wishes on Facebook finally gave way to the fact that a change was a coming for me. Also I have been told by multiple people that I never made an official statement via blog, so I figured this would be as good a time as any.
I have spent the last four and a half years working in a high end children's retail store. When I started, it was my first "real" job out of college. While I always had dreams of writing, after almost a year of searching and not getting anywhere (this was 2007-2008, so it wasn't like any newspapers or magazines were beating down my door or anything), I was discouraged, living at home, working another season at my summer job and felt the strain of looming college loan bills approaching. I had never thought about working in retail after doing some part time stints in high school and college, and certainly didn't consider that as one of my aspirations (as I discovered that most people that end up working in retail never did either) until a friend had told me about a new store opening that as a child I had been a fan of myself. I let myself be excited for any opportunity to in which someone wanted to hire me, with benefits, and I justified taking the position, assuring myself that I was working the events side of it, and not just straight retail.
Cut to four and a half years later, and I'm still there. In my first few years there, everything was an adventure. Opening a store of that magnitude was really exciting to me, and practically everyone working there was nice and friendly and some of us became very close, people that I consider great friends of mine now, people that I would want to hang out with socially as well. But when I started, I was twenty two. At the time it didn't seem like a big deal to work every weekend, every holiday, to stand all day and serve people, some who were pleasant and many who weren't. As far as retail goes, it was a great gig and definitely not your average "mall" job. I found that as I got older, I felt more tired at the end of the day, more frustrated that I couldn't spend time with my friends and family that didn't understand why I couldn't do something on a Saturday without at least six weeks notice, and just overall burnt out on dealing with consumers and their rainbow of emotions on any given day. I had worked in service based industries my entire life- from photographing weddings with my dad starting at age ten, to babysitting, to hostessing at a restaurant, to working at an ice cream shop to event planning. I understood that the customer was always right. But after a while, I was exhausted, and I found myself no longer being excited to come to work everyday, and I just started to wonder if it was worth it at age twenty seven to already have that chip on your shoulder, to be unhappy in the place where you spent the majority of your time.
The only thing that got me through some of the times where I felt awful (besides the fact that I always felt I should be happy I even had a job) were the amazing people that I had come to know as my friends, but who were actually my coworkers. It's certain people that probably made me want to stay there as long as I did, and it's those same people that made it so hard to leave. Upon being offered my new job, I grappled for days with my husband about whether or not it would be the right decision to take it. There were some days where I was totally gun ho and others where I cried to him in our kitchen, not knowing if I was going to ruin our lives or not. In the end, we both decided that I would regret it if I didn't take the chance on doing a job that I could actually love just because I was afraid to change, to step outside my comfort zone, to move out of the first home we had together, to live thirty miles away from the continental U.S.
By nature, I am not so much a risk taker. I was not a rebellious child. I never felt tempted by doing anything that I wasn't supposed to. I've always internalized every decision, going over things a million times in my head and listening to my conscience of whether or not I should do something. The last time I ever felt torn between two decisions was when I decided to transfer out of the first college I went to to attend a bigger school closer to home. I remember being unhappy with the direction my education was taking, but not wanting to leave all the friends I had made. I remember the panic of having to tell them that I was leaving, and then feeling such relief when it was over and they all supported my decision. I was always afraid that I would make the wrong decision and somehow derail what could have been the life plan that I was supposed to take. At nineteen, deciding to leave Cazenovia and go to Plymouth State was the hardest thing I had ever had to consider, and it ended up being the best. Had it not been for me following my gut, I would have never met Steve on my first day on campus at PSU. I never would have become an editor for The Clock, which led to my writing celebrity gossip column, which led me to blogging, which led me to meeting other amazing Internet friends, and has now led me to a new career combining many of my interests into one position.
I've never been much for religion. I don't really believe that there is one plan that is set for you for your entire life, being controlled by God, baby Jesus, Allah or whoever else you pray to. You are in control of what happens to you, and only you can decide what you think the right path is for yourself. And sure, sometimes you're going to make the wrong decisions. I feel like that's just part of it. But if you don't even try, then what's the point?
So that's what I'm doing. I am trying. I am making multiple decisions in a very short time span. I ended my job yesterday. I start my new job as a Communications Coordinator on Monday. I am packing up only my necessities to move to the island on Sunday. That leaves me today to pack everything. And of course, I'm blogging right now instead of packing because it's the first moment I've had in weeks to be able to collect my thoughts about what is going on in my life right now.
Saying goodbye yesterday was really hard. I intentionally wore no eye makeup because I knew it wouldn't make it through the day still in tact. The outpouring of cake and gifts and cards and well wishes from all my coworkers was astonishing. When you're unhappy, it's so easy to focus on the negative and doubt your abilities and think that what you do doesn't matter. If I ever had any doubts, those people assured me that I had made a difference being there- what better compliment is there than that? I cried not because I was sad to be leaving- I had been trying for a very long time to enter a new career field, and am grateful to have a new job and excited to start- but because it was so hard to imagine not seeing the people that I had come to really like. I cried half the car ride home. Then I felt relieved that it was over, because I had been dreading saying goodbye ever since I thought about leaving someday. Then I woke up today and cried again after seeing this music video on TV:
Because sometimes, a song will perfectly describe the way you are feeling in a way that you just can't.
So that's where we're at. I'm sorry I can't think of anything humorous to say, and there's no appropriate way to work in a Kardashian reference. Hopefully now that I'll have a more regular work schedule (and will be spending a little bit more time alone before Steve is able to join me on the island) I will finally be able to focus the attention that I've always wanted to on this blog. Thank you to everyone for your support, and hopefully there are many more good things to come for us in the future.
Until then, carry on, carry on.