I look at my reflection in the office building bathroom mirror and smile nervously. My grey suit looks perfect, as does my styled hair. I am a viable candidate for the job. Yet, my stomach is filled with butterflies.
It’s nine years ago and I’m a fresh graduate of Baylor University with a degree in Computer Science. This is my first interview. And no other company has contacted me.
Despite dozens of job applications.
Despite a 4.0 GPA.
Because I have no practical experience…
My husband has just started a Ph.D. program. We bought a townhouse. I need this job.
Later that evening, I get a call from HR. Yes, they would like to offer me the job. I’m so excited and relieved I don’t even try to negotiate the salary.
I have a job!!!
I have the deepest and sincerest gratitude toward Edgenet for hiring me when nobody else would. I worked in a multitude of roles there, moving from the custom programming side to product management and eventually to the executive level during my nine years of employment.
We gave each other a lot.
At times, I gave too much. I got my priorities mixed up, working 65-70 hour weeks, assuming my family would take care of itself.
As my salary increased, we did what most people do. We bought bigger and better. We moved into a large home with a view of downtown Nashville. At the housewarming party, one of my friends half-jokingly remarked: “Well, you have achieved the ‘American Dream.’ You have this great, big house and no time to spend in it.”
This planted a small idea in my head. An idea that maybe this isn’t the way to spend ones life. Working, working, working. Buying, buying, buying.
A few years later, my husband got a 3-year appointment at Luther College and we decided to move from Nashville and live in separate locations (he in Decorah, IA and the rest of the family in Brookfield, WI). I was now the primary care-taker of our then 11-year-old daughter and Bichon Frisé. During this time, I started reading books like Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle and Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth which opened my eyes to the world of Simple Living.
This combination of events saved me from my workaholism.
I had to get home and cook dinner for my daughter and make sure she got her homework done. She healed me, slowly but surely. And by reading lots of books and visiting fabulous sites like zenhabits.net, I became more mindful of how I spend my time and my money. I also became re-aware of the severe environmental issues we face. What could I do to help?
I continued to work hard, but smart (using productivity skills I learned along the way). Work was challenging, yet rewarding. However, we were tired of living apart. Todd had to drive four hours one way most weekends to see us. We went to see him in Decorah once a month and loved it! What a great little town. Imagine if we could settle down here!?!
Then back in December, we got some wonderful news. Luther had offered Todd a tenure-line position! It was a dream come true. So we bought a house, moved our stuff, our daughter, and our dog to Decorah. I continued to work at Edgenet, driving over to WI most weeks. We continued to miss each other, simply trading one home base for another. Our situation was anything but simple!
In June, both of our fathers passed away within days of each other. It was another reminder of how fragile life is and how we must take advantage of our time and do something we are passionate about.
I am passionate about my family. I am passionate about wellness. I am passionate about community and building strong relationships. I am passionate about music. I am passionate about fighting hunger. I am passionate about writing. I am passionate about having a flexible schedule and working from home.
I knew what I needed to do.
Three weeks ago, I picked up the phone and called my CEO and told him I needed to leave Edgenet. He understood completely and on August 12, I hugged my colleagues goodbye and drove home to Decorah. One last time.
Is it scary? Heck yeah! But it’s the right thing to do.
Now I sit here with a clean slate. I look forward to community building, sharing meals, making music, starting a micro-business, being available to my family, relaxing, working harder to end hunger, improving school food, spiritual awakening, having fun and laughing lots!
I can’t wait to share the next chapter of my life with you.
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