Every once in awhile an occasion comes along that calls for a special sort of celebration. Life, as we know it, is about to change, and this change calls for a something really memorable. Last Sunday, he wore a suit, and I wore a black dress and we headed downtown for a special dinner at Manny’s Steakhouse. I could write about that dinner, because it really was something, but what I want to share with you is the reason we were there.
In order for you to understand the gravity of this celebration, however, I need to back up a bit, to August 2008. We had just purchased the cottage, and were in the process of unpacking and organizing and settling in. I had started a new job just a few miles away as a graphic designer and marketing consultant for a small firm, and my husband was working in the financial industry for a well-known company. It was a warm August evening, and I remember him walking into the bedroom after work, in a suit and tie, sitting down on the bed and putting his head in his hands. That night we had a conversation that changed the course of our lives.
It had come to light that he didn’t love what he was doing. It wasn’t a good fit for his personality, and he was struggling to stay focused and motivated in a job that, while it had the potential of being very lucrative, lacked any personal fulfillment or gratification for him. I’ve always been a believer in chasing dreams and doing what you love. That is why, that night, we made the decision to take a 180 in the direction of our lives. We were young, and it seemed that making a career change at this age would be easier than waiting, even a year or two. Two months later, he quit his job, and went back to school. For two months, he attended classes locally, and then, in January of 2009, went to an accelerated program at a school about 2.5 hours away. This meant he was gone from home for 5 days a week, for almost eight months. I lived at the cottage alone, and got used to frequent goodbyes, and a long distance marriage. I know that many people live this lifestyle all the time, but let me say, it isn’t easy.
Last July, he graduated at the top of his class, and moved back home. We both knew we had a long road ahead in the search for a job in this new field. It’s a difficult world to enter, to say the least. He found part time work in his area of study, and worked a side job, all while sending off applications for the limited number of available jobs in this field. The months went by, and he advanced in some of the application processes, but at some point, as one of over 300 applicants per job, he was eliminated from each hiring process in favor of those with more experience. We would move on, and he would keep applying. In April, however, he got a call. Along with the call came a conditional offer of employment. We were thrilled; beyond thrilled, really. Then began the endless process of fulfilling the pre-employment requirements. Paperwork, interviews, tests and more tests, while weeks and months ticked by, until finally, just a few weeks ago, the last of the requirements were fulfilled. He started his new job yesterday. I am so, so proud. Two years after making the decision to change careers, he is doing it. Really, really doing it. And this one fits him like a glove.
While he was still in school, I told him that we would go to Manny’s for a $50 steak when he was hired. And so we did. It was perfect. The meal was delicious, the details exquisite and the service top-notch.
But here’s the best part. We were celebrating a few other things that evening.
Namely, our 4th anniversary, as well as our recent accomplishment of becoming 100% debt free (besides a mortgage). Oh, and one other little thing.
See, when he got hired, this opened up a door for me too. Ever since I decided that I wanted to be a graphic designer, I knew, just knew that what I really wanted to be was a freelance designer. I wanted to work from home, at my own pace, where I could take advantage of the flexibility of being my own boss, setting my own goals and reaching for my own dreams. I suppose this was a byproduct of growing up under very entrepreneurial parents. At any rate, on my first day of design school, we had to write an essay about what we wanted to do with our design careers. I wrote about my freelance dreams. After graduation, I worked for a mid-sized firm designing books, and then I made the switch to a smaller firm which worked mostly with small businesses. Both were good jobs, but my heart was still longing after a different direction. I knew I couldn’t take the plunge while my husband was in the midst of his own career change. So I waited. Sometimes patiently, and sometimes not so much. I started Emmy Lu, and basically worked a second job in the evenings, coming home to emails, projects, blogging and business administration.
Then, he got hired. And he told me, that now was the time. So, last Monday, the 12th, I put in my notice. Tomorrow is my last day as an employee. I am on the very brink of diving headfirst into a dream that I’ve had for longer than I can recall. I have many, many plans and goals and ideas, and I just can’t wait to get started! The wheels are turning, and I am so ready to finally be able to dedicate my time to working on my business. I promise I’ll share more in the weeks to come.
Now, if you’d excuse me, I must go pinch myself. Or, probably more appropriately, take this moment to utter my thanks to the God who has had us in the palm of his during this crazy journey. I’ll be back next week my dears!