Go big or go home. Right?
For starters, I left my company to become a full time writer.
Four years ago, I stumbled into project management. It wasn’t a career path I ever set out to journey down. I just had the right skills at the right time, and in 2009, the words “steady job in the tech industry” were all I needed to hear.
I didn’t love my first job as a PM, but I figured it was the lack of community. The coworker closest to me in age was nearly twenty years older. My job was just a job. So, when I looked for the next one, I searched out somewhere where I could value what I was working on and who I was working with.
I lucked out when I found SEOmoz and sent them my cover letter on pizza. I was looking for community, and I found some of my best Seattle friends in that office. I wanted enthusiasm for what I was working on, and I found a company that let me change roles in order to work on the marketing team where I was incredibly curious to dig into creating organization and process.
But last summer, I knew something was missing. I had the job and the community, but I wasn’t living wholeheartedly. I would come home and burn through my Hulu queue, and even more telling, I would get sucked into every bit of drama and frustration that surged at the office.
I wasn’t grounded in what I was doing, and so I was emotionally swayed by projects that went sideways, deadlines that went out the window, and unrealistic expectations that were set.
And I cried. A lot.
For so long, it felt like those tears were a result of the frustration. It took me months to realize that they were the symptom of being so deeply involved in something that I didn’t love. When I discovered that I loved writing, the tears stopped.
I started writing my book and took up posting on this blog. I became more wholehearted than I had been in a long time. Oddly enough, I became better at my job because I rolled with the punches, and I rolled with the punches because I was grounded by something I absolutely loved doing.
It just so happened that what I absolutely loved doing happened between me, a good pen, and some paper. Not spreadsheets and meeting agendas.
I knew I wouldn’t stay a marketing project manager forever. So, four weeks ago – when my team’s structure began to rumble and the stress started getting to me – The Mister introduced the this isn’t worth it conversation…and I agreed.
Three days later, I gave notice.
I don’t have a back up plan. Or even a foolproof plan for success (aka steady paychecks). But, I have gumption coming out of my ears and words flowing out of my brain onto the page, and I’m sure as hell going to take advantage of that.
Besides, the cost of living is lot cheaper where we’re headed.
Because the Mister and I are moving to North Carolina…
For the past couple years, we’ve tossed around the idea of getting out of Seattle. We’ve never been any good at handling the nine months of gloom and doom weather, and we were born and raised Midwesterners. We miss being within driving distance of family.
At some point, we started to daydream about settling down in other cities. Boulder. Madison. Boise. Ann Arbor. Boston.
Being a research queen, I dove into the details: the job markets, the best neighborhoods to live in, the cost of living…
Relatively early on, we thought about Chapel Hill/Raleigh/Durham. We took the area into consideration. Then, we set it back on the shelf. We picked it back up again, and put it back down.
And at some point, we realized that it was the best fit for what we were looking for. We might absolutely hate it after a year, but I think we might absolutely love it. So, we’re going to give it a shot.
…by way of a three month road trip.
When my parents moved out of Michigan for the very first time in their lives, they drove a U-Haul across the country.
I thought they were absolutely bonkers at first, but my mom explained that she didn’t think it would feel real if they just got on plane and landed in San Diego four hours later.
It makes sense.
This isn’t vacation. This is moving across the frigging country.
It’s saying goodbye to the last four and a half years in Seattle and all the good times and great friends. A four hour flight doesn’t do it all justice.
A week long drive would have probably been enough, but when I started to think about all of the beautiful places and good people we could see along the way…I knew we had to do this up right.
At the end of June, The Mister and I are putting our stuff into storage and going on a three month long road trip. We’re going to camp and couch surf our way across the country.
I don’t know what I’m more excited about: my new gig, my new digs, or my adventure.
So yeah, it’s been awhile.
I haven’t published a blog post in seven weeks. Making big changes – radical changes, really – is an emotional process. It’s sounds so simple to say, “I quit my job, I’m going on a three month road trip, and I’m moving to North Carolina.” When really, the cascade of decision getting here was anything but easy.
I went radio silent while I sorted out the details, and now, I’m back.
And I’ve got lots to tell ya on the writing and the adventuring. So, get excited, it’s gonna be good.