Sometimes change is exhilarating. Or terrifying. Welcomed, or feared.
Sometimes it’s all of these at once. The winds have been shifting in my family’s world lately, and I have felt all the feels about it (don’t worry, everybody is ok and no one is getting divorced!).
After 11 years working alongside Lee with Heideldesign, we recently found ourselves having conversations about the pros and cons of a regular job. A “jobby job” as I call it. A child with a broken arm and two surgeries makes you crave better health benefits.You know what else is pretty cool? A pension and a 401K (and we’re not getting any younger).
So we agreed to peek at some job boards, and maybe make some calls to friends and see if any doors opened. If the perfect door swung wide, I might just walk through it.
I dusted off my resume, and tried to think about what that perfect job might look like. Before I joined Heideldesign, I had a great job in state government with nice coworkers and excellent benefits. The work was challenging but not overwhelming, and I felt we were doing some good in the world.
I’m friends with the person who replaced me there, and called to see if she would be a job reference for me. So imagine my surprise when she said, “Sure, I’d be glad to. But just so you know, we may be adding another position here.”
And there it was. I’d cracked open the door, and over the next several weeks that door swung wide to show me a path back to the job I’d had before. My old job but improved, because I’d have a partner in the office to share the duties.
So I applied, interviewed, and was offered the job as Risk Communicator for the Coastal Health District.
And I panicked.
Not because of the job – I knew it was a great job to which I was well-suited. But HEIDELDESIGN! I’d be giving up lunch and work meetings every day with my sweet husband! My flexible schedule! Working in my pajamas if I wanted! All those afternoon walks and bike rides around the neighborhood! And travel at a moment’s notice! And … and… and…
I was talking with a dear friend, describing all my anxieties about making a change that would have such a big impact on me and my entire family. And then she said something that broke through that noise like a clear bell.
“This has God’s fingerprints all over it.”
Whether you’re religious like I am, believe in divine intervention, karma, coincidence or just good luck, things had certainly unfolded with an uncanny ease.
- I started looking for a job like my old job, and ended up getting my old job in an improved form.
- I worried Camille might feel abandoned, not having me so available – but she was ecstatic about the idea of more time to herself, as a girl expanding her independence.
- I worried about how Lee might manage all my Heideldesign work on top of his own, all while opening a new retail comic book shop. I reached out to a trusted freelancer, and found that she was looking to take on new work and could fill some of the holes I’d be leaving behind.
So how could I NOT walk through the door?
I accepted the job with gratitude, but in the days leading up to my first work day, I was a little surprised by the main feeling that kept floating to the surface: grief. Not so much about the work I’d be leaving behind, or even the flexible schedule, or pajama days, but about no longer working side-by-side with Lee. When I first joined him at Heideldesign, we both admitted concerns about what might happen if we weren’t good business partners. Lucky for us, we turned out to be great business partners. I knew I’d miss sharing my work day with him. We had become such a solid unit both personally and professionally, and I grieved about the change.
But the shifting winds are filling our sails and pushing us in opposite professional directions. I do find a lot of comfort knowing we are such a strong team that if our paths turn out to be the wrong ones, we’ll course-correct. We still have each others’ backs.
On my first day at my new job, I found this card in my purse, from Lee.
Not only is he a thoughtful sweetheart, he’s right.
So, 2 weeks into the new gig, I’m enjoying my job. Lee and I do miss each other, and value our time together outside of work, while also squeezing in a few lunch dates here and there. We’re adjusting.
We may not be full-time business partners anymore, but we are still full-time partners, all day long. Always.