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The last two weeks of work and thoughts on where to go from here

06/17/2013

Belle

This photo is completely unrelated to this post. :) I am going to spend the next 14 days really focusing on my cats before the baby comes home and changes their lives forever. I want to remember them in their child-free happy cat state. Not that they won't be happy with baby, but it will be different. Here, Euclid and Fermi have a rare loving sister moment and share the bird watching window.

This photo is completely unrelated to this post. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am going to spend the next 14 days really focusing on my cats before the baby comes home and changes their lives forever. I want to remember them in their child-free happy cat state. Not that they won’t be happy with baby, but it will be different. Here, Euclid and Fermi have a rare sweet sister moment and share the bird watching window.

Scrambled Eggs has been a blessing to me on so many levels. This blog has allowed me to connect with thousands of women all struggling through similar hardships. It has provided comfort when no one else knows what to say. It has connected me with people I today consider real friends.

What you might not know, is that Scrambled Eggs has filled another void in my life. It has given me the opportunity to write daily for an audience who reads and appreciates my words.

Once upon a time I was a news reporter and editor. I specialized in community journalism and focused on audiences that the mainstream media too often ignore. I wrote about the catfish farming crisis in Black Belt Alabama. I wrote about the stray cat epidemic and the noble people who were sacrificing their personal time and money to try to stave it off. I wrote about dreadful overcrowding in the county school systems in rural Florida. I wrote features on every person who turned 100 years old in the area. I wrote about a woman battling breast cancer. I wrote about a child abducted and not found. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote.

People read my articles and reacted to my work daily. I can say with the utmost confidence that my years as a journalist made a difference in the lives of those in the communities I called home. I’m thankful to have had this opportunity.

My career in journalism was short-lived. The industry was starting to crash and I was growing tired of 60 hour work weeks and very little pay. When I saw the opportunity to leave the newspaper industry and transition to corporate communications I took it. In Birmingham I worked for the international headquarters of a Fortune 500 company. Here I worked my way up to editor of the internal magazine and again spent my days writing feature stories on the products and people of the company. It was surprisingly fun work where I still wrote in-depth pieces with “pull-quote worthy quotes” all while enjoying excellent benefits and pay. I loved the work I did there and planned to stay forever.

And then I met the Professor and suddenly my priorities changed. A year later I left this dream job and moved to Kentucky where I started what I hoped would be an exciting writing career in intellectual property at the University. I’ll keep it brief and say I did not find my dream career in this job. I did gain lots of experience into all kinds of new arenas – web site design, graphic design, Constant Contact and other software platforms. It was challenging and I learned a lot. I did not, however, write like I had hoped.

When my current job opened up I jumped ship and entered the non-profit sector. Here I manage marketing on a statewide level for a non-profit providing small business assistance. I find satisfaction knowing that the work I do helps keep the American entrepreneurial dream alive. I work with a great group of folks who are all passionate about small business ownership in the Commonwealth. I’ve learned a lot at this job, too. Sadly, though, I still don’t write like I used to.

The industry is changing rapidly and with it our audience is changing. People don’t want to read a long client success story that paints a beautiful picture of the people we helped, complete with stunning photography and pull quotes. Now readers want bullet points. They want a quick head-shot and facts and then to move on. I meet these demands daily and chop my work down to the bones. Every pull quote that is sacrificed carries a little bit of my heart with it but I’m thankful for my job and I’m thankful for the opportunity toย improve the lives of small business owners. It’s a love/hate sort of relationship.

I have two more weeks at this job and then I will step down and embark on a new journey – motherhood. I’ll be moving to New York City in eight to ten weeks and with that move comes the chance to remake my career. I’ll be in one of the greatest cities in the world for opportunity. I’ll also be in a city where you can stand on any street corner, throw a rock and hit a writer square in the face. To say it is overwhelming is a serious understatement!

I’m incredibly lucky to have a little time to spend at home with Chicken and really reflect on what I want to do with my life. While finances will be scary tight on one salary, they will be do-able if we maintain a box wine kinda lifestyle.* So here I sit, two weeks out from meeting my baby, two weeks out from unemployment and two weeks out from the opportunity to change my career path.

So what am I going to do?

Honestly, I’m still not sure. I’m going to update my resume and once we are in NYC I’ll start combing job boards for another writing job. I’d like nothing more than to return to the kind of job I had in Birmingham. That said, I realize the economy has put many companies in dire straights and that one of the first departments to be cut is communications. Finding another job like what I left in Birmingham might be a tall order.

I’m also considering going back to school, getting a personal training certification and then working up to a master certification. This is a huge shift, I know. But hear me out.

Not only has Scrambled Eggs helped me through infertility and given me an outlet for writing, it has also shown me just how powerful this community of women is. We are a feisty, driven, insanely determined group who will stop at nothing to build our families. And I’ve seen amazing and awe-inspiring stories of how diet and exercise can help some of us go on to conceive and bring home healthy babies. Will it help everyone get pregnant? Sadly, no. If it did we’d all be knocked up, fit and have an extra $20k in our bank accounts – or at least a lot less IVF debt!

For the past year I’ve been toying with leaving the marketing/writing industry to build a personal training and nutritional coaching business that works solely with pre and postnatal women and those struggling to conceive. I can’t promise diet and exercise would get someone pregnant, but I can promise that it will help the infertile woman wake up every day and hate her body a little less – a feeling I am intimately acquainted with after month after failed month.

I’ve been looking at two certification programs in New York. It would take roughly six months to complete and then I’d start working with a gym making anywhere from what I make now, to twice as much. As I built experience and clientsย and added additional certifications I could branch out on my own. The small business expertise I’ve learned at my current job would be invaluable. The marketing experience from past jobs would be a perfect asset. And my writing? Well, I could continue writing about infertility, health and life. In a perfect dream world, maybe I could provide columns on infertility for papers and magazines?

The more I think about this, the more achievable it seems. Or maybe it is just pregnancy induced delusion! ๐Ÿ™‚ Either way, I know I have a little time to reassess where my career is heading while living in one of the most amazing places ย on earth.

What about you? Have you embarked on a major career change? Do you have any inspiring or cautionary tales?

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20 Comments

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  1. Mo #
    June 17, 2013

    I think that sounds like a great path, and not delusional at all! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it makes sense to consider a path change at this point. I’m struggling with similar issues myself. Maybe I’ll even write about it soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • June 17, 2013

      You SHOULD write about this! If for no other reason so we know that at least on other person is considering a big change after becoming a mom after infertility just in case that is NOT enough big changes ๐Ÿ™‚ And thank you for saying it does not sound delusional ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. June 17, 2013

    Sounds awesome ๐Ÿ™‚ Go for it!! Once Chicken arrives you’ll have a better understanding of your time demands and energy reserves, so you’ll be able to figure out how to fit something like this into your life. It sounds like it is something that can be flexible, which is good, and portable, also good! So good luck!!

  3. Kathy #
    June 17, 2013

    Sounds like a great plan. A healthy lifestyle and body is a great way to start working on having a baby. I also hope you will always be a writer, you are really good at it.

  4. APE #
    June 17, 2013

    I think you are driven enough to accomplish whatever you put your mind to! I want you to be successful in this, because it is inspiring…and fun to live vicariously through someone else! I can’t wait to read about all of the adventures you have in the future!

  5. June 17, 2013

    I think your goals sound very attainable, and very promising for not just you, but for those you would be helping! You are so right that we hate our bodies more and more as we work down this spiral of IF doom – and doing something to take care of US is what a lot of women need.

    I love how much you love your kitties!

  6. Jennifer #
    June 17, 2013

    That is not delusional at all! I’ve been considering freelancing from home for more than a year now and now that Clare will be here in August, I’ve decided it’s the perfect time to just do it! Now, I just have to swallow the lump in my throat and tell my employers sometime, who are expecting me to come back from maternity leave. Plus, what you’re wanting to do sounds much more like a calling than delusion. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • June 17, 2013

      Can I just say how happy I am to hear you say “now that Clare will be here in August”!!! Girl, I’m so happy for you and can’t wait! And yes, after all the hell we went through, wouldn’t it be nice to find something with a flexible schedule so we could enjoy the fruits of our labor?

      • Jennifer #
        June 17, 2013

        Indeed! Indeed! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. June 17, 2013

    Go for it!! I think this sounds like an amazing blend of your talents and passions. I think there certainly is room for PCOS-specific fitness and diet consultants, especially given that this is the first thing that most REs will address. And, if they don’t, they should. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!

  8. June 17, 2013

    I absolutely love this idea! In fact, as a resource in your journey to coaching I highly recommend the work of Dr. Dittmann who wrote a book that changed my life called “Brighton Baby: A Revolutionary Organic Approach to Having an Extraordinary Child.” It’s like an encyclopedia of nutrition and non-toxic at home remedies for future parents and includes an entire plan to prepare bodies (male and female) for pregnancy. I began reading it when I started Chinese Medicine for endometriosis. I truly believe that changing my diet (gluten-free, low glycemic index and only high quality grass fed meats) in addition to the herbs/acupuncture is why I’ve just celebrated my 2nd cycle pain free! I even believe that these lifestyle changes helped me get pregnant naturally (though I miscarried). This was a miracle when my RE said I had a 1% chance of conceiving without medical intervention. There are many misconceptions and much misinformation out there and women really do need partners/coaches as they navigate fertility and fertility awareness. They need an objective professional to help them make the necessary lifestyle changes BEFORE they begin stims etc. I know I certainly would’ve appreciated a coach when I started my journey almost 2-years ago. Having a fitness blog in addition to my fertility/life one gave me an edge because I’m always researching diet/exercise, but so many out there don’t even know where to begin. That’s where you can help! And it’s exciting.

  9. Shinara #
    June 17, 2013

    I miss good writing in newspapers, magazines, online, etc. I still remember an article in National Geographic about a family of pygmies in Africa. The writing was so great because it literally made you feel like you were in the forest with them while you were reading. You could sense the diffuse light and moisture of the air on your skin just by his words. The respect he showed with describing the families and how they lived also impressed me. It was one of those pieces where the writing was so much better than the photos. I sometimes try to find that article again online, but so far no luck. Because of this author’s writing, I became impatient with all the other articles that have been written in Nat. Geo. To the point where I have canceled my subscription because I got tired of the unimaginative writing. It’s amazing to me that with a subject like the people, animals, and the planet we have that writing can be so dull.

    Belle, I like your writing because it’s clear and honest, and, I have to say, your blog’s layout and typeface are beautiful. It’s not a jumbled visual mess you usually see online. I wish Mother Earth Magazine would take some pointers from you. I get a headache trying to surf through that mess of a website…anyway, this is all beside the point. Whatever you do in New York will be a success. Think creatively and be brave.

    Oh, and are you going to try cloth diapers? That would cut costs.

  10. Amy #
    June 17, 2013

    I think this sounds like a splendid move! Check out mommypotamus & locally mamaseeds for some inspiration of other women with similar ideas who are making it work.

  11. June 17, 2013

    Omg I am so so so SO curious to see what you end up doing! I’m in a very similar position, currently a journalist but have realized after 8 years of it that this industry is totally fucked. You just can’t make decent money in it, despite all the fun perks (interviewing celebrities, press trips to exotic locations, etc.). Now I’m really stuck, unsure whether to delve into the corporate world and try something like speech-writing, or go back to school and do something completely different, like become an arborist or an environmental educator. I’m just worried that once baby is here, I’ll feel paralyzed or like my resume is totally outdated and will be super intimidated when it comes to job interviews… anyway, very excited to see if your master vision for future career success gets fulfilled — will be a HUGE inspiration, for sure!

    • June 18, 2013

      I have to say, the upside to having a journalism background is that most employers view you as a hard working jack of all trades. Also – it is OUR JOB to interview people. Being interviewed will be just as easy, promise ๐Ÿ™‚ Leaving the industry was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and still, many years later, feels kind of like I lost a limb. That said, it allowed me the time to have a marriage, to have a family and to dabble in other jobs and learn many new skills that never would have happened had I been chained to my news desk for 60+. Hang in there. I know you’ll make the right decision at the right time!

  12. June 18, 2013

    Love the idea! I was running one of the latest healthcare accounts for a global PR firm and I got burned out after 10 + years in the business. So, I left and started freelancing. There have been highs and lows – sometimes more lows but in the end it’s a blessing in disguise because I had a premature baby and freelancing has allowed me to stay home with her. Good luck!!

  13. June 18, 2013

    I ran part of one of the largest healthcare accounts for a global PR firm and I burned out after being in the business for 10+ years. So I left and started my own freelance PR business. There have been a lot of ups and downs but it has been a blessing in disguise because my daughter was almost 2 months premature. Freelancing has allowed me to be at home with her. Good luck!

  14. June 18, 2013

    Totally love the idea. Its only win-win for you. As you progress in your career as a personal trainer/nutritionist , you can choose the hours you want to work. You can also help many people who are struggling to lose weight(with a majority of America in the almost obese category), you will never be short of clients. Plus, you are passionate about working out and eating well. Not many I know or follow are this meticulous about diet and working out. It will be a great passion for you and you will be laughing all the way to the bank!

  15. nonsequiturchica #
    June 19, 2013

    I absolutely LOVE your new job idea.

  16. June 24, 2013

    Poor all of your stress into writing. You are great at it and help others. Win, win!

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