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 to 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 clients 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! 🙂 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 on earth.
What about you? Have you embarked on a major career change? Do you have any inspiring or cautionary tales?