new year, no job, now what?

Well y’all, happy new year. I can still say that, right? Since it’s technically still the first month of the year.

This post is something that has been sitting in my head, and then transcribed to sit in my drafts until I was ready to post.  it’s kind of a situation that’s like: “Do i post this? Do I not?”  Well, you know what?  FEAR IS A LIAR.

2013 was fine and all, but I know 2014 is going to be even better. It’s going to be the funnest yet (remember my instagram wish to everyone? #thefuncouple) “Really?” You ask, puzzled, considering the title of this post states that I am currently unemployed; seems like starting out in a new year with no job things are on track…right.

Well, let’s back up. Feeling ready to leave the area, for the 2nd time in less than 5 years, my boyfriend and I went to visit Charlotte. I had considered the move a few years ago, during the roughest part of the recession. While it did not come to fruition then, I felt like I was ready to give it another shot. With more experience under my belt and my resume fine-tuned, I am ready, more than ever to pursue a job in the Queen City.

We left on a Friday after he got out work and started our trek down Route 81. I started the drive, determined to know I could make it on my own. Well, by the time we got to exit 25 off of route 77 we were nearly to Charlotte. And then we saw the water. I wish I could remember what I said to him, right then and there, as we passed by Lake Norman. Let me back up for a second – we are water babies. Having been blessed to grow up on a lake, I could not imagine life any other way. Michael loves to fish.  He grew up with a fishing pole in his hand and it’s in his blood.  Back to present. He told me to pull over, let’s find a bar or something to “scout it out.”  Riiight, a bar is scouting it out. “No! I said, I have to make it all. the. way.” I am twenty-five years old. We were at exit 25. I pulled off. Maybe it was a sign, I thought…or the glass of wine that I knew was waiting for me. But let’s go with the former. It was a damn good glass of wine, too.  And they even had my favorite Sauvignon Blanc for sale (Napa Cellars, oh the grapefruit finish!).  We picked up a bottle of that for warmer days ahead.  After grabbing nearly every periodical that was on the wine barrel out of the door, we drove around the little center. Oddly enough it had character to it. Yes, similar to those we have here in NoVA but it just felt different. I said, “Well, I’d love to find a lululemon.” We turned the corner to find a little red sign and yoga clothes, all folded neatly. It was uncanny.

He drove us back to the hotel. We unpacked what little we brought and started flipping through the loot from the wine bar. I grabbed my notepad and pen to continue to take notes before I found myself more than ready for a good nights sleep.

We awoke the next day, found the typical greasy spoon that we secretly love and continued our note-taking. Well, just me, really. My darling boy was too enthralled in the fishing magazine and wanted ads for a center console… Our server was a sweet girl, and noticed maps, magazines and newspapers spread amongst the table. Now, I was truly impressed when she asked us what it was all about (I probably would have done the same thing). She told us that she lived in Ballantyne, and suggested a few places. We had heard that we should visit the Fort Mill area, even though it is in South Carolina. My boyfriend’s friend is moving there soon. As we wolfed down breakfast, eager to get on the road, we were approached by the couple from the table next to us. “We overheard you talking and didn’t know if you wanted any help.” We. Were. Shocked. “Seriously? Of course!” The couple talked with us for a few minutes and then proceeded to draw a map on my legal pad. The handwritten map was worth its weight in gold. I could not believe the hospitality. I was sold.

We began our trek to Fort Mill as the breakfast couple had suggested we do. Plus, we wanted to check out the other lake. Yes, there are two lakes with driving access to Charlotte. We loved the community and I created a grading scale based on a few parameters. I was to grade first, since I was in the passenger seat, then Mike next. We were off by .5 of a point on our first stop.

I plugged and chugged over a half-dozen communities into the maps app on Mike’s phone that day and multi-tasked with Zillow open on my phone to check out the cost of living in a rental.

We retreated to the hotel after nearly driving for over 6 hours. His old friend came for a quick visit before we went to visit his cousin to discuss the area more and then headed to dinner. Oh, dinner. Charlotte I can see the foodie metropolis that is about to happen in your town. This makes me very happy. We ate at Roosters because of their gluten free menu and sustainability to small farms and supporting local. After toasting with a glass of champagne, I sunk my fork into duck confit. No knife needed. It was fabulous. We then met up with Mike’s friend again, but this time, his wife was along his side. We got along famously, talked all things health and nutrition, until I could feel the sleepiness wipe over me like I had been hit by a bus. Driving Note-taking really takes it out of you.

We awoke the next morning refreshed and ready to visit a few more communities. Only after breakfast with my best friend, whom I’ve known since pre-school. How many people can say that, still? We got the low-down from her and her boyfriend, as they have been there for a few years. The server, yet again, was pleasantly hospitable and chimed in with some recommendations. He himself had only been in the city for over a year and loved it. I now know which communities are safe for my morning run…

Heavily armed with information, I took my legal pad and we were off. We visited a few more locales and found one or two in particular that we loved. We pit-stopped at a bar to catch a few minutes of the Giants game before we got on the road in the afternoon.

Our little two-and-a-half-day adventure was jam-packed. We drove nearly 1000 miles together in and out of neighborhoods. Mike listened to me sing (very badly) to every song I know (which is almost every song ever made). I only got distracted a few times, especially trying to figure out exactly where the Whole Foods was located in relation to where we were at all times. I never got to see the Whole Foods, but it’s there.  We scoured newspapers, dined in fabulous restaurants, talked to locals, talked to friends, visited friends and family- and then drove back. We did our research. And we’re ready.

so how did i get to be unemployed?

I returned from the trip more excited and driven about anything than ever. Although the farm allowed me to grow deeply on a personal and professional level, there were many realizations I came to….I realized that unless my partner plans on leaving his job to raise animals, that I’ll probably have to leave it up to someone else. It’s a 365 days a year job. Plus, did I not mention my love for water? I still truly believe in the family farm, but that’s what it takes — a family of at least 10.

I had been asked to give extended notice, not your average 2-weeks notice. As one member of our team was back home in the Dominican Republic for almost all of January, I definitely wanted to ensure enough coverage and help would be around. I had been signed up for a training and did not want to go through the training if I knew I was not going to be on staff; that is a waste of money and time.  I knew what I had to do.  On Thursday, January 2, I gave a month’s notice. My timeline for the Charlotte move is around March. I wanted to ensure I had availability to travel a few times to visit again, with interviews and finding a home. My letter of resignation went fine and I returned to work the next day. I was relieved that I felt a family would understand my deep desire to continue growth as a person.  Well, I guess I was wrong.  A couple of hours before the close of businesses, with that day as the last day of pay, I was told it would be my last day of work. I was caught completely off-guard.

I left, my mind whizzing.  Christmas expenses. Car payment.  Saving money to move.  I drove home and thought okay lets go through the positives.  “I am going to practice yoga as much as possible.  Get my mind and body right. Yeah, that’s what I am going to do.”  Now while this was all grand and positive and happy my days since then have not all been.  Has there been days where my mind felt paralyzed and I felt like complete shit?  Yes.  Did I return from an interview with a recruiter (added note: she was younger) only to feel that I had derailed my resume and failed.  For a second, yes.

But when I finally snap back to positiveville I think, “Failed? Nah. I learned.”  This didn’t happen overnight.  It’s taken a solid 28 days to go through the rollercoaster and get my mind right, as I said I would do that day when I was driving home trying not to feel sorry for myself. Ugh.

Here is what I learned:
+ I need a business environment that is energizing
+ I need a purpose and a workplan;  I need routine and I need it to be measurable so I can consciously reflect on how I am succeeding – or not – in the role that I take
+ I need management who is available with access to open and upward communication
+ I need room for growth within a company

When did I come to those characteristics?  Well I sort of had an idea over the course of this month when I have taken time for self-reflection.  But they became words that I spoke, aloud, when I was on a quasi-interview with the President of a company who asked what my eHarmomy profile would look like if it was a job.  I sat in his office, stunned.  Do you have any idea how much more powerful words become when they are said aloud? He took time out of his day to talk to me – a TOTAL stranger.  How come more companies aren’t built on his beliefs of bettering their employees for growth and development on a professional and personal level?  He also said a few other things that resonated within.  “Doubt kills more dreams than failure.”  and “You don’t need a fresh start you just need to start today.”  I don’t know why all of a sudden, things finally clicked.

I have had some tough days of being my worst enemy. Ms. Cara Alwill Leyba, author of “Sparkle” and “The Champagne Diet” broke down things so simply for me.  Cut the shit, you’ll be happier.  Negative talk – from within or the outside gets you no where.  And neither does jealousy. Then drink a glass of champagne to celebrate yourself, something I realized I didn’t do enough of.

So no, I did not fail at the farm, I did not derail my resume (after talking with multiple people), I learned what I need to be happy and successful.  It’s not selfish, it’s our duty and our commitment, we owe it to ourselves.

Now, I must go, I have a split of Moet rose that is just waiting for me…

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