Friday, March 5, 2010

Either the best or worst decision I'll make this decade

As someone who loves change, one of the things I've found hardest to adapt to in adulthood is actually the stability.

Yes, there were lots of times in my life when I had crashed with friends in a dumpy apartment that was barely fit for human habitation where I fell asleep at night dreaming about a home that I could make my own.

There were also times while I was bartending, listening to overly inebriated men berate me for refusing to serve them another shot of whisky that I would duck down, take a few breaths and remind myself that there would come a day when I would have a desk in an office where my job performance was judged in a completely different way.

And, of course, every bad date and heartbreak was always accompanied with dreams of finding someone I could share my life with.

Although my life has been far from dull the past few years -- I've gone through a major milestone with every new calendar since 2003 -- most of the constants in the last five have been very steady, and sometimes I dream of a little change.

Which I'm about to get. Big time.

I didn't plan this next move. In fact, it terrifies me. But I think it's going to be instrumental in how I want to shape my life while raising Allison.

I'm going part-time at the paper.

It shocks me just to write it. I asked my bosses about the possibility earlier this week, and I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around it. Fortunately, I have a few months to get used to the idea because it likely won't be until May or June 1.

To be honest, I suppose I hoped the business would one day enable me this flexibility, but I had no presumptions of it happening this fast. Ideally I would like to be able to balance both a little longer, but because I work nights and weekends, it quickly became an "either or" situation.

When I was faced with the likelihood of working every single weekend from May through November, it made the decision a little more obvious. Clearly I needed something to change, but that doesn't make it any less intimidating.

Metaphorically speaking, it feels like I just jumped off a building, and I'm hoping I built my parachute strong enough to support me. (And my family, a mortgage, two car payments, utility bills, food, clothing and the niceties in life that keep you sane.)

The fear, of course, is failure. Failure to live up to my own expectations.

But I can't afford to fail. It's not an option. There's too much on the line -- and not just the security and dental and eye benefits I'll be leaving behind.

Here goes everything.


NatalieDeltaGam said...

i'm going part-time starting at august. i just had too. my heart was telling me i must do it.
i'm hoping and praying we can make it work.

Julie said...

I had a feeling this was coming. I think this is a great decision for you, Kel.

Anonymous said...

I vote for the worst decision this decade. Think about the troubled "times" we are in right now and how finding one job is tough enough. Now you have your new full-time business, but you still have your foot wedged in the door at the paper "just in case" your own business starts to flounder. You know that they won't hire someone else part-time to fill in for your missing hours. So essentially aren't you taking a possible job away from someone else so that you can keep your saftey net? If you really want to take a chance and go for it all then let go and actually move on.


Anonymous said...

I'm rooting for you! Probably doesn't mean much, but just know a random stranger is hoping you succeed.

Randall @ Happy For This Moment said...

I think you know you made the best decision for this point in your life - I hope everything works out well for your new work schedule.

theedithr said...

What's the old quote, what would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?

Go for it!

Erica said...

Good luck! I know we all believe in you and it sounds like you made the right decision. There's no way you could have worked every day from here to November - or whatever the date you said in the post - and do what your doing to the best of your ability. Something would suffer. So although it's a huge risk, to me at least, it sounds like you're doing the right thing.

novelle360 said...

Actually Lauren, they will be hiring another full-time employee. So I'm actually freeing a job for a likely new college graduate in a very tough field to get into.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that you've been so boggled down lately with work, and there is such a thing as having too much on your plate. I think you made a decision that will benefit you and your entire family. I'm sure you will do marvelously.

The Plainsman said...

Probably your most predictable move this year! For me too, it was only a question of when, not if I would read this, though likely thought it might be precipitated by a change at the paper; an aquisition or merger.

But at your choice, an even better decision. Obviously not impulsive and well thought out on your part and truly the best of both worlds, keeping the pulse of your other creative side but with more flexibility for your family and photography business.

The fact that you began and have successfully grown your business during one of the most difficult economic times and in one of the harder hit regions bodes well for future success.

Keeping that connection with the paper is very important, even though p/t might still be a stretch. That daily interaction with others in a completely seperate endeavor, will keep you intelectually fresh and stimulated as well. People running their own businesses need that extra dimension or risk getting isolated and stale in their outlook.

Did not agree with Lauren's position for a number of reasons in addition to the above. Conventional and conservative wisdom is to avoid risk during hard times, but doing the contrary has usually proven the best decision. Read Warren Buffett's most recent annual report out earlier this week for inspiration.

The second "value-added" reason this being a great time for you to take the leap is your age and position in life - yes so much is depending on you, but you still also have the renewable energy and reserves to fuel that quest amd ambition and need to succeed. Five years from not? Maybe. Ten years from now? Less chance. Much later when you are sixty? I know one man who began a new venture at about that age, and just retired at 85. The exception.

So I do think this decision is a good one, good for the times and personal timing as well.

Go Kelly!

novelle360 said...

Thank you, Plainsman. Your words mean more than you know.

Ray said...

I know this may sound weird to you but: "I'm happy that you'll be doing part-time at the paper soon." I think it's a good decision since your photography business is taking off. I think you’ll only soar higher in your achievements and that you'll be going in so many avenues, so quickly that: "You won't even second guess your decision." That and having weekends off is great. You deserve that time to be with Jerry, Allison and Toby.

Here's to your photography business soaring rocket high! I believe in you. <3

Katie said...

I'm all behind you on this one... I was expecting it sooner or later. Do you mind saying where this job opening may be... I have a friend who just graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism that was just thrilled to finally find a job... at Banana Republic.

Kelley said...

Congratulations!! I think that this is a wonderful move for you, your business and your family. You do amazing work and I'm happy to see you 'living the dream'. Being able to balance it all may just be the hardest part, and going part-time is going to give you the freedom and flexibility you need. You truly are an inspiration!!

novelle360 said...

Katie: I don't know how well they're going to promote the opening, so e-mail me, and I'll send you some info. We also have a reporter position open right now. novelle360 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Mia said...

I'm actually pretty surprised (I actually said "wow" out loud when I read it), but I think this is a good choice for you. It's clear that with your wonderful new photography business picking up, you can't keep another job (at least full time, because essentially, they're BOTH full time) without something losing some of your focus.
I think this is a great choice for you- you'll still get to do what you love (photography and writing, both of which you're great at), and as a plus, you'll probably have some more time with your wonderful husband and adorable daughter.
Best of luck! You can do it!!!

Janice said...

I totally support this decision. If you think about it, there may be times where you'll think this was a horrible choice. There always are. But with the time you can devote to your new business and the time you'll get to spend raising and bonding with your daughter...that is time you can't get any other way. I think it'll be completely worth it, even if you flounder a bit. Everyone flounders, it's part of change. So good luck and keep us posted!

Laura said...

Been following you for six years or so, and have yet to think/see you make a huge mistake. You think everything through, you consider all the options, and you do the best thing for you and your family. I have no doubt you will continue to succeed. <3

-Laura from xanga

Cnjweber said...

Kelly I couldn't be happier for you! I'm proud of u for having the courage to follow a dream in the first place and now that dream is taking off and you have to take it to the next step. Have faith, it WILL work out. I quit my job completely two yrs ago to go back to school. Now I'm graduated and working full time in a career I love. Because I took a chance. It will work out. You will succeed. And be just fine in the mean time. Everything for a reason, right?! Congrats and good luck!


Silverwolf said...

You'll be fine! You're too good of a photographer not to be. :) Good luck!

Dave said...

Hopefully you and I look back and realizes that we made the best decisions of our life this year...Call if you ever need a chat with someone going through the same thing =)

Julie said...

I know I already commented, but I wanted to comment again saying that I agree completely with Plainsman.

I'd be worried if you were doing this back when you first started your business, but you've given it time to grow and you've given yourself time to know what to expect from this venture. In fact, your business has grown to the point that it's a full-time job in itself and while enjoyable, it's still a lot of work. Plus a full-time job at the paper? Plus being a mom, wife, etc.? That's a lot and would start taking its toll very soon, if it hasn't already.

I also disagree with Anonymous/Lauren. I think it's wise for you to remain at the paper part-time. It gives you that essential adult interaction that you need on a regular basis and it also provides a release for that part of you that lives and breathes journalism. Perhaps there will come a time that photography becomes that much more important to you and/or you have enough interaction with clients (or maybe someday your own staff?) that you don't need to maintain that link to the everyday working world of the paper. But for now, I think it's a wise decision for you.

Again, like Plainsman, I knew this was coming just didn't know if it would be your own decision or if it would be forced by a drastic change at the paper. I'm relieved that it comes from a decision based on opportunity and success rather than a forced situation based on a lack of other options.

I not only wish you well in this, I have every faith that you will succeed and that this is a great choice for you personally and professionally, and for your family.

I'm looking forward to being able to set up a family photo session with you sometime in the future.

My Loss/Their Gain said...

Any chance of getting some press about this weight-loss challenge, charity fundraiser I'm doing? This is aahcoffee from xanga, by the way. :)

LeslieAnn said...

Go Kelly! You can totally do it. My brother and sister-in-law have been able to be a one income household with her photog business helping mostly in the summers (she likes engagements and senior photos) and they've done great, despite the economy. They make it work, and buy and spend smart. :) Plus you'll be so happy you get to spend more time with your family.

novelle360 said...

aahcoffee do you just want me post a link to your new site?

Anonymous said...

Good for you and your family Kelly. I'm sure you thought long and hard about this. I hope to someday just have a little side business in photography, you have inspired me to do that. I've paid hundreds of dollars for portraits of my daughter and was always thinking I could do that/I'd like to do that. When you busted out and I was interested in family pics, after some thought I convinced my husband to spend almost $1000 on a camera & get practicing. I finally have something to feel excited about. Excited to learn, I read my manual front to back and bought another book just written for my camera and now I'm taking a Photoshop class. I'm already thinking in a few years upgrading cameras then my hubby gets this camera for wildlife photos. Thanks Kelly for getting me going. Good Luck!

Barbi E.

Cate said...

Yay! I admit, I must be terrible at reading signs, because I had no idea this was coming. Sounds like a good move to me, though! Not that you need my approval. You know yourself and your situation better than anyone else.

(Also, I'm so glad you haven't stopped writing here. I've been reading you since you were on xanga and I was a teenager, and I love your blog.)