This is the often-requested (or so it seems from your comments!) update to the whole moving situation. If you’re new to this site, this post needs a little back story, so that’s what you’ll find in the little segment below. But if you’ve been reading along for a while, you can probably skip right down to the next section.
It’s almost surreal for me to think about it, but this week last year, I was finishing my last class for my MBA. It took a very long, stressful, schedule-bending two years to make it happen, but I did it. I’d met a life goal of getting a graduate degree by 30. I knew (or rather hoped, but with a deep-rooted sense of satisfaction) that all of the late nights, exams, and pots of coffee had been spent wisely. My brain may have felt like a web of overstretched rubber bands and wads of linty tape, but I’d come out on the other end with at least some of my sanity still intact (and okay, beer helped… a lot).
In the scheme of things, school was just one of the many moving parts I had going on at the time. I was also working full time, remodeling a fixer upper in north Atlanta, and – of all crazy ass things to do when you think you’re clueless – blogging the DIY tutorials I’d learned as the house progressed. But at the center of it all, moving me in all of these different directions, was a job I hated.
I had a fantastic boss, but unfortunately, the 40-plus hours of work per week that I spent at my software job were never fulfilling. There were some aspects I enjoyed, but I was stuck in a classic case of career limbo: our small company was bought out by a larger competitor, and the new owners were forever stalled on allowing opportunities within. The initial idea was that I would get my MBA, graduate, and find another, better job. But as the blog’s following grew, I found another source of income – either from the ads and sponsored posts that ran on the site, blog design work, or the freelance writing jobs that came from other websites. My weekend classes turned to subjects like social media, business marketing, and entrepreneurship, just as my small blog morphed into its own small business.
During one particular semester, I had been reading a book called Little Bets, recommended to me by Entrepreneurship professor. I’m not going to prosthelatyze that this book is life-changing or that everyone should read it, but I did get a few interesting ideas from it. Mainly, that the big ideas you see out in the world are often an amalgamation of lots (and lots) of experiments and failures. Kind of like my house. Kind of like this blog. I was comforted by this thought, and plugged away at my own “little bets“: the writing opportunities, my seasons with SheKnowsTV, the presentations in class, etc. Some of it allowed me to be analytical, while some of it allowed me to work off stress and do something creative. None of them by themselves were particularly significant job-wise, but they each taught me something new about what I wanted to do.
But like I said, I finally graduated. Things were
busy cluttered overwhelming, but they were good. And with my MBA done, I would have more time to speed up the progress on all of those unfinished projects and finally live in my house for a change. Maybe even go on a date that doesn’t end in an overwhelming need to take a shower to get the creepy off.
But, as a good blog friend of mine has often mentioned, the universe is drunk with power and doesn’t care about your so-called “plans”. One of the freelance writing jobs I took last summer turned into regular side work, which then turned into a job offer to work as the managing editor for their online magazine full-time. Out of seemingly nowhere, all of these little changes I’d been making turned into a job I was eager to accept. But before I did, they had one request: to take the job, I’d need to move two hours away to Alabama. Where I wouldn’t know anyone. In a matter of months.
Call it adventure, arrogance, or just plain stupidity (this is the same person who told herself “What the hell – I’ll fix up a two-story house on a limited budget all by myself and get a graduate degree at the same time – totally doable”), I still said yes. By working for a small company, I could have more influence. I had the potential to put my stamp on making a relatively new brand grow and thrive. It was more creative and connected better with my interests. I heavily weighed the cons for taking it, but this new job would be exciting, and my little fixer upper was never intended to be my forever home. I was attached to the work I’d done, and nowhere near the end, but if they were willing to make the financial means available to get the work done quickly and move me, I was open to it. And even if it didn’t work out and I decided I hated the job/hated living there, I could always move back to Atlanta – or to another city entirely.
At first, things were moving fast. The company pressed me to make a list of all the things that would need to be finished (a metric ton of to-dos, it seemed). I then announced everything on the blog because this was definitely happening. But with the house in so much chaos, it wouldn’t be possible to finish things in that period of time by myself and still work. They needed me to start right away, so they opted to let me work from home until things were sorted out. I put together a budget for them on hiring a contractor, moving costs, and simply started the new job from the comfort of my soon-to-be-former home.
During the first few months, I spent my time adjusting to the ever-changing needs of the job while learning how to work from home. The work itself turned out to be all the things I’d hoped it would be: fun, interesting, and challenging. But it was also very time-consuming. Even though school was over, all of the extra hours I expected to get back were stolen away again. I enjoyed the work more though, so it didn’t bother me much. While most of my daily tasks were handled online, I still wanted to seem like more than an email account to the rest of the new staff – after all, the presumption was that I’d be moving there soon anyway. I made regular (sometimes weekly, sometimes bi-monthly) trips to the office. Considering the rest of my time was spent at home, the 2-hour drive on those days wasn’t bad at all.
Even though I wanted to spend more time on the house, most of my work days were at the computer, save for the occasional break to switch out some laundry or run off to lunch. Working from home was freaking amazing, but it took time to learn discipline and get away from the computer. As time went on, I kicked ass at my new job. Instead of clocking in and out on the dot like my last, I liked my job enough to plug away at it whenever needed.
With so much time spent working, progress on the house was still slow. And not only that, but the job’s needs were close enough to what I did with the blog (writing, editing, branding) that the lines often blurred, which can stifle the creativity a little. As I made these adjustments over the summer, I could feel a change in my writing. My brain was fuzzier, and I became less interested in posting. But instead of forcing myself to keep an unrealistic pace, I chose to write less often until the need to write came back. It was painful to do, but I worried that my creative outlet was disappearing in my work, so it was better to wait and let it (whatever “it” is) come back on its own. Which happened, of course; the need to write came back.
But, there was also a gorilla-shaped fella following me around the house. The whole big fat MOVING thing. I announced it on the blog, began planning for it, and then all summer… nothing.
UPDATE: Based on the first comments, I’m still not answering this directly enough (sorry! I was trying to write the whole thing down and tried to cover it all, which may not have been clear enough). So I tweaked some of what I originally wrote below.
For these last six months, I’ve been as eager to answer the “is she moving or not?” question as you have been to hear it. I saw your comments on other posts, tried to answer them succinctly, but I kept waiting to write a full update because I didn’t feel like I had a definitive answer. After working for large, publicly traded companies for several years, adjusting to this size of a company has presented a lot of new things to learn, and things are less predictable. It comes with more uncertainty, but I’m much happier with it.
Over time, the pressure to move that I was originally under lifted, and the job became more about the work. There was no final “yes” or “no” discussed – it just didn’t feel urgent anymore, so the momentum stopped. It was less of an abrupt change than a simple shift of priorities over time, which left me with no straight answers to immediately pass on (thus my hesitation to write up a post about it). After making regular trips to the office, our entire team naturally adjusted to a new status quo. The urgency to move is now gone. But with no line in the sand drawn, it was hard to determine when I could finally provide answers, even with friends and famly (what’s worse than prematurely announcing something? Doing it twice).
When I announced it, moving seemed so sure that I thought telling you what to expect to see on the blog was the most practical thing to do (as opposed to wrapping up half-done projects that aren’t quite as I said I wanted to do them, and then suddenly announcing it when the “for sale” sign went up). I get it, though. To announce that I’m moving and then continue working on my house like nothing happened, buying art for walls I’m not supposed to need to decorate anymore, leaves a lot of confusion behind. Sort of like my last Tinder date.
So, here are the basic questions, answered:
- Am I moving right now? Nope. Not anytime soon.
- Will I ever move? Eventually, yes. I’ve always planned to. This house is not my forever home, but I do want to finish it before moving on. Like many other home bloggers have done, it will likely be another fixer upper. Unless something were to suddenly change again, that will likely be a couple of years from now.
- Do I still have the new job? Yes. In fact, my role is a little larger now between the online magazine and another part of our business. I work from home, enjoy it, and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. I make regular trips to the office in Alabama, but most of my time is spent at the UDH (which I’m perfectly happy with).
I am definitely not disappointed about this turn of events, since I would prefer to stay in Atlanta rather than move. I would prefer to feel finished with this house – and enjoy it enough – before moving out of it. I was willing to take a chance on a new job if it meant I would ultimately be more satisfied with something that took 40 or more hours of my life every week, even if that meant moving (which again, is no longer happening anytime soon). Those kinds of decisions are hard to make, but it felt like the right move. I took a leap of faith, and so far, it’s working out just fine.
To those of you who have stuck around, still reading through all of this confusion, thank you. Really. I’ve always tried to tell this whole story as authentically as I can, good or bad. But when it comes to my job, I am always cautious and deliberate when sharing. I don’t want to find myself under fire at work for what I’ve said on the blog (I’m sure you’ve heard a story or two like that before). But at the same time, I am blessed that the company I work for appreciates what this blog is for me, and I knew that saying nothing (other than a brief post update) was leaving a lot of questions unanswered.
So anyway… I hope that clears the air a little. The move was happening, I started working from home, and then work became more about the work rather than where I lived. And now I still just work from home with no plans to move anytime soon. And now you can all tease me about “the time Sarah was going to move and then accidentally pranked us all” until the end of time. Go ahead – you have my permission :)
Oh, and one more question to answer: while it’s still a possibility that they’ll ask me again at some point in the future (I suppose you could probably say that about many jobs), I’m content with how things are. And my assistant likes it a lot more too.
Now… onto more house projects!