Hello everyone! I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I am that it is in the low 80’s outside right now. This right here is enough to make me break out the scarves and the Pumpkin Spice. FALL HAS ARRIVED!! Just kidding… I think it will be back up to 100 tomorrow. At least it was a nice break from walking outside and feeling like you’re just standing in front of a giant hair dryer.
Sorry I haven’t blogged in FO-RE-VER… It’s been a crazy couple of weeks! I recently made the decision to transition to a new job! It’s crazy exciting to start a new chapter but it is truly bittersweet leaving this one behind. My last day in my current job is August 31st. Coincidentally, August 31, 2012 was my last day at my job in Arkansas. This time of year always makes me reminiscent of that transitional time of my life. Now that I am embarking on yet another big life change, I wanted to share some of my journey with you.
I was accepted into an accelerated MBA program in the Fall of 2007. I had visions of riches and sign-on bonuses and Wall Street dancing in my head. Those dreams came crashing down a year later… as did the market. I knew that the path I had set for myself would be a bit longer and narrower, but I knew I would slowly but surely achieve my dreams!
I graduated as an entry-level MBA in 2010 at the age of 23, which was a terrible time to be entering into the job market with only internships and a barista job on my resume. I moved back home with my family and began applying for jobs locally in Austin. After a couple of nightmarish cattle call interviews (we’re talking interviewers in shorts and Hawaiian shirts who didn’t even know my name – and didn’t care to!), I began to prepare myself for settling on something I had worked too hard for and I never wanted to do. Fortunately, my luck was about to change.
One afternoon, I was checking my email and saw that I had received a message from one of my favorite professors. The last time I had seen him was when I was working at the cafe on campus. I asked him if he knew of any available job opportunities. He looked at me and said, “If I had a dollar for every time a student asked me that…”. You can imagine my shock when he had actually emailed me about a job opportunity.
A fellow Texas Tech alum had emailed the Finance department asking if any new grads would be open to moving to Northwest Arkansas to work in Trust Investments for a Regional Bank. I LOL’d and almost deleted the message. Arkansas? Where is Arkansas even on a map? It’s somewhere in the Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama clump, right? I told my mom I was going to delete this email and she told me not to. She asked that I at least look into it. After a brief geography lesson, I messaged my professor back. I mean, I had nothing to lose, right?
I had a phone interview with the bank in Arkansas and they offered to fly me up for an in-person interview. I flew up there, interviewed with six people, went to lunch, and back on the plane I went. I accepted the job over the phone at the airport. Those few hours were the only few hours I had spent in Arkansas in my entire life… and I had just agreed to move there? By myself? What had I done? Young and dumb, I tell you. I was Arkansas bound!
I drove up there with my friend Kyle a couple of weeks later to find an apartment. Nothing I saw online had ultimately worked out and I was starting to panic. I only had one day to find my first Big Girl apartment. We started looking further and further into the boonies. After a 7 mile drive into the outskirts of Bentonville (home of WalMart, just FYI), I found a very cute apartment complex. I said to Kyle that this place was way too far out in the country. Kyle, who hails from the outskirts of Lubbock, thought this place was just wonderful. I liked the apartment, signed a lease, and hopped in the car to head back to Texas. A couple of weeks later, I packed up and moved to Northwest Arkansas to start my new life.
I didn’t know a single soul. I had no one to talk to. I would be extra chatty with salespeople and cashiers since they would often be the only people I would see on the weekends. I went to movies by myself on Saturday nights. I tried online dating even if just to make a friend… and oh, the stories I have. I spent the holidays by myself. Living so far from the nearest town wasn’t doing me any favors either. I was miserable.
As time went on I began to meet more people. Things got easier when I moved closer to Fayetteville. I was learning so much at my job and was so grateful to have had the kind of opportunity I did as a new grad. I could have been stuck with Mr. Hawaiian shirt and it would have been just awful. He probably still wouldn’t know my name. Even though I was having fun and making memories, my life there just did not feel complete to me. I knew I had to make a change. I started thinking about moving back home.
I began my job search. I was only two years into my post-MBA career and was struggling to even get phone interviews with my limited experience. Don’t get me wrong, the learning opportunities I had in my first job were tremendous. But Austin has become such a desirable place to live that companies have the luxury of finding qualified candidates locally. I became so frustrated in my job search and began to feel like I would never find a job back home. I so badly wanted to be with my friends and family and each rejection email pushed me further and further away from this need. I got to the point where I couldn’t be there another second. I struggled to wake up and go about my day every day because I no longer wanted to spend any more of my life there.
I don’t want you to think that Arkansas is a terrible place to live. That is not at all what I am saying. I was so fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful regions of the country. The Ozark mountains… the lakes… the beautiful, safe community… all the wonderful people I had met and made memories with… Northwest Arkansas is a truly fantastic place to live. The problem was that I worked primarily with people who were local to the area. They had their families and their social circles previously established. Had I worked for a company that was comprised of transplants, then sure, things may have been a little different. I just never felt like I fit in. I never felt like this place would ever be home.
Looking back on this time, I was going through one of the most truly difficult times of my life. I felt stuck, extremely homesick, and just utterly miserable. I came home from grocery shopping one evening, walked into my kitchen, and collapsed onto my kitchen floor in tears. I called my mom and told her that I wanted to come home. She said, “Well it’s about time!”
I made the decision to quit my job, break my lease, pack up, put Lollie in the car, and move back to Austin. What I was going to do from there? I did not have a clue. I am so so SO thankful to have had the support of my family to help me through this time and this move. Sometime during the 10 hour drive home, I vividly remember looking at my mom through teary eyes and saying, “What happens now?”
I was so happy to be home with my friends and family, but reality hit me when I woke up the following day. I had given up my job. I was unemployed. I had given up my independence. I was back to precisely where I started before I even moved up to Arkansas.
I decided to make the best of it. This is what I wanted, after all! I reconnected with old friends, spent time with my family, slept in and took naps. I began taking Improv classes. I continued to struggle with my job search. Some days I would wake up feeling completely motivated to jump on my computer and apply for jobs. Some days I ignored it completely out of discouragement. Sometimes those days turned to weeks. One day I decided to be productive. I found a job posting online that was exactly what I was looking for! The caveat… Series 7 Required. Oh. I don’t have one of those. I applied anyway.
A few days later I received an email in response to a job I had applied for. I had a feeling it may have been from Series 7 Required but I figured that I didn’t stand a chance without it. As it turns out, it definitely was! They interviewed me anyway. And you know what? They took a gamble on me. They gave me a job and they gave me the opportunity to obtain my Series 7. I moved into my first Austin Big Girl apartment the Saturday after I passed the Series 7. I regained my independence and was able to get back on my feet.
Nearly three years later, I have made the decision to pursue this new opportunity. It is amazing how some things can just fall into place. This new opportunity fell into my lap and I just knew it would be the right decision for me and my future. Saying goodbye to my current job was so incredibly difficult as it is a family-run business. A family that has treated me as an extended member since day one. I will miss this office tremendously but I am so excited to embark on this new adventure and to see what the future will bring!
If you are still reading this, then bless you. Thank you for letting me share my journey with you!
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. I have tons of fun stuff coming up to share with y’all! And you know what this basic girl loves to blog about… It’s almost fall, y’all!
Thanks for stopping by! See y’all next time…