Whenever you decide to do something outside of your ordinary routine, your loved ones tend to end up concerned. They care about you and want the best for you, and in their mind, that looks like staying in whichever box you’re currently cataloged no matter how miserable you are there. This doesn’t just apply to me, but I will use my current plan to move roughly 3,000 miles away that appears idealistic and flighty to many of my favorite people to discuss this concept. Before getting into the nitty gritty, I want to go on record and state that every single person throwing a doubt or concern my way is doing so from a place of sincere love for me so I in no way want to appear ungrateful for the care and worry coming my way. I get it! Moving to a place I’ve never been before sounds incredibly silly on the outside. Particularly since my decision is rooted in wanting to play roller chicken for a different team and not because I already have a job lined up. Major red flags would go up for me if one of my friends came to me with the same plan.
The thing is, I’m still the same hyper-anxious person that runs through a minimum of seventy different scenarios before embarking on minuscule changes to my life, let alone Major Life Changes (TM). I assure you my mind is constantly running simulations on a daily basis on everything that can go wrong, right, or in between. I applied for two jobs thus far in my current profession. I’ve been a librarian for over a decade and find this field more tedious with each passing year. I can barely get out of bed some mornings because every cell in my body tells me this is not where I should be. I have a fantastic gig as a Teen Librarian with health insurance and a decent paycheck that many in my field would be elated to have. I understand the concern about moving away from this and heading into the murky waters of changing my profession in a distant land. I understand this, but my ability to show one more person how to properly print out their emails and issue a fifteen cent refund to avoid loud and lengthy complaints is running thin. When I did not get either librarian job, I felt relief. That should tell you something about the longevity in my current career track moving forward.
When you hear a vague proclamation like, “I’m moving to the Seattle area next year,” without seeing the exceedingly tedious work going on behind the scenes you’re gonna have questions followed by more questions. The trouble with this is that you are not alone in asking these questions. I have variations of this conversation on a regular basis. These same people asking me for dissertations on my life goals also tell me I don’t have to defend myself to anyone when I vaguebook about this phenomenon. Confusing, right? Some days I regret sharing this idea months before my move, but then I think about my friend Colin. We lost touch for a few years, but before he went to the Army he made it a point to tell me months in advance. Before he moved we hung out all the time and became even better friends for it. I’m grateful for that experience and wanted to offer others the same thoughtful consideration he offered me. I stand by that decision even if it means answering the same question for the 32nd time that month. I may not always answer patiently, but I assure you I try to remember these questions are asked with love and do the best I can.
I wish this blog post was as funny as some of my other pieces, but today you get a sneak peak into how completely laborious finding a new job in a different field can be, particularly when you don’t quite know what field you want yet and you’re moving somewhere without a network. Before my garbage memory permanently yeets the details of this week into the void, I’ll recap the steps I took every day this week towards my new goal. Will this stop the questions and repetitive conversations? Absolutely not. But maybe, just maybe, at least one person will be reminded that I’m the type of person who retypes their comment on a Facebook meme six times before I hit post and trust me the way I trust my path forward.
Realizing I have a lot to accomplish in the next few months, I opened Google Docs and began to list everything (and I do mean everything) I have to do before I left. This includes wrapping up financial entanglements, continuing to take care of my mental health, and searching for a new job. I would share this extensively thought out document with you, but there’s rather personal information on it so you’ll have to take my word. It clocks in at three pages and has multiple milestones for each goal.
I printed my new Google Doc as well as a 50 page document alphabetically detailing nonprofit organizations based out of Washington along with their contact information and a quick mission statement. I placed these items in a tabbed binder with the summary in the front and the nonprofit list in the tab dedicated to finding a new profession. I also began a master spreadsheet of mundane and major tasks I need to accomplish by New Year’s Eve. I did not finish this list, but I did begin hacking away at these items throughout the week. I don’t even remember what some of them are already so I’m not going to bother listing them all.
I didn’t do anything major on Tuesday, but it is my evening shift at the library. I had the luxury of waking up on West Coast time and was reminded that this is a good decision for me based on how much focus and energy I exuded throughout the day. My body is not built on East Coast time, friends. Anyone who has ever expected me to be on time to something in the morning should already know this.
I attended a training to learn Mental Health First Aid for adults serving young adults. Not only was this course extremely necessary for my current position, but it was in this class I received guidance on which direction I would like to take my future. As an invisible disability, my mental illnesses require me to defend my accommodations and symptoms on a regular basis. If it is this exhausting for a well-educated person with a decent ability to communicate what is happening, how tired must others without my advantages feel? I spoke with the instructor after the class to figure out how to best prepare myself to take my library experience to the behavioral health profession without going back to college. Only a handful of days after creating my Master Plan and I already have a direction!
As my Thursday programs require a lot of my spoons, I didn’t visit my plan much. Having ADHD means I should with new interests to see if they are a passing fancy or something I actually want to pursue anyway, so it was for the best. I printed out the requirements to become a Certified Peer Support Specialist in Washington and added it to the career tab of my binder. Spoiler alert: I do not qualify to begin the process until April 2020 so I still need to figure something else out in the mean time.
I try to eschew going out on Friday evenings when I have to work the next morning, so I tucked in with my binder and read each nonprofit description while I half-watched Lucifer. It took two whole episodes to get through, but I crossed off every single nonprofit I wasn’t excited about.
When I needed a break from what felt like a never-ending list of possibilities I tackled a different tab on the binder. I move the same craft supplies over and over again without using them. Not this time! Usually I delude myself into thinking I will sort my supplies months in advance of my next move and instead panic a month before and throw them all in a new box to move (and never touch) again. I added to the supplies I’ve already sorted by sifting through my bead collection and trimmed it by more than half! Go me. Less things to move means I can potentially have a smaller (read:cheaper) moving Pod.
I’m hanging out with my friend Juli today. We like to meet up and be productive on our various creative and life projects when we see each other, so I’m bringing my trusty binder to her house to color code the remaining nonprofits based on who they help. Green for conservation organizations, a calming blue for mental health organizations, and so on. I found color coding helps my disorganized brain stay focused and remember better, despite the extra work involved.
Now that you’ve gotten a peak into the less glamorous side of uprooting your life and beginning a new career, I hope you can rest assured that I’m on it. I try to do something every week, if not every single day of each week, towards my goal. Don’t worry…I assume I’ll still get the same repetitive questions, despite this post. I will do my best to have compassion in my answers if you try your best to know your girl is tired of being a parrot.
I am so proud of you. You are brave. You are making choices based on self care. You are taking the time to make sure your heart, your soul are on board in making your decisions. Above all these are YOUR DECISIONS to make. (Which can be daunting, therefore, translates to brave). You have one life to live, the life career you have excelled at for a decade, has run its course. It’s time for a new chapter. Only you can choose the plot. I only ask that you be safe, you take car of yourself first and love yourself, no matter the choices you make. As those choices good and bad are only more tools in your toolbox.
I had never been to Los Angeles or Charleston and both moves have proven incredible for me. People will judge and think you’re crazy (and inevitably try to talk you out of it).
I’m so excited for your journey. Know that I’m always cheering for you from the sidelines!
I’ve done the “unthinkable” twice- quit a stable job without another one lined up yet. I’m in a unexpected workplace now but feeling SO good about it.
You’re a smart and talented lady, you’ll figure this shit out and crush it!,