Why I Quit My “Dream” Job at a Magazine to Become a Full-time Nanny

When I learned in the spring of 2016 that John got into Vanderbilt’s business graduate program, I was ecstatic and terrified. I worked at a job I wasn’t crazy for at Dallas’ city magazine, where, ironically, I had dreamed of working for a couple years before snagging my position. Before that job, I had worked two others, one at a PR company and one at a startup, both in creative-ish roles that looked fantastic on paper but fell flat as soon as I sat down at my desk in front of a computer for eight hours a day. Turns out, I don’t enjoy sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day.

After discovering I wasn’t happy or totally fulfilled at either of those first two jobs, going on to the third made me feel like that millennial. The “three jobs in one-and-a-half years after graduating” millennial. Yep, I was job-hopping with the best (worst?) of my peers. My first week at job number three, where I was navigating dozens of Excel spreadsheets and learning how to manage online voting systems for Best Doctors and Best Lawyers awards, left me feeling a bit trapped. I hated it — but how could I leave another job AGAIN? I would not only feel like that millennial; I knew I would be one, no question. And who the heck hires that millennial?

So, I stayed for a year and a half, until the news of John’s school admittance came. Hallelujah. Counting the weeks until our move, I knew I didn’t want to be staring at the clock until 5 o’clock at another desk, doing work that made my eyes bloodshot and my mind feel mushy by the end of the day. Freelance, I thought, is the way to go.

I ended up getting a remote copy editing job for Nashville’s local magazine, which I still have and adore. But that one check pays, oh, maybe a third of my bills. I emailed other publications, applied for freelance roles I found on LinkedIn and Indeed, and, on a whim, signed up for care.com, thinking I could at least babysit or nanny in the interim between moving and finding more writing work.

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The Irony in Getting What You Want

Once upon a time, I interned at a magazine in its editorial department. It was my senior year in college, which I like to think was just yesterday but, in reality, was nearly three years ago, and I was pretty sure I was winning at everything in life. I interviewed fun entrepreneurs and interesting professionals, wrote several articles a week, and was certain I was the next Diane Sawyer (print edition).

I wanted to work for the magazine more than anywhere else after I graduated — so badly that I even applied for the receptionist position, which made about no money and obviously had nothing to do with journalism. From my whopping seven hours a week spent in the office, I was positive the people and atmosphere were everything I could ever dream of in a first job environment. (Clearly seven weekly hours is enough to tell something like that, right?…)

It all seemed ideal, except for this one girl.

She was a full-time employee, and I worked with her on a couple fact checking assignments. I knew her job vaguely revolved around fact checking and data analysis within the editorial department, and I can clearly remember watching her walk down a hall one day with a sullen look on her face, a norm, and thinking to myself, I would hate to have her job.

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The Biggest Lie in the (Blogging) World

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A whole slew of people in the creative realm, maybe even everyone, allows themselves to believe a debilitating lie, and the lie is that your pursuit — be it blogging, writing a book, taking award-winning photographs, or penning songs — is consumed by enough talent already. There’s this littler whisper in our brains that shows up when we’re working on a project that tells us, in more or less words, that this pursuit is already way over-saturated, so go kick rocks.

You might think hearing voices in your head would make someone insane, but au contraire, I think it’s totally NORMAL for creatives. And we must somehow acknowledge Mr. Lie-telling Voice, tell him “Thanks for your input,” and then ignore him and continue on with the work.

Imagine if a kid who wanted to be a doctor got to college and his biology professor told him, “You really shouldn’t go this route. There are hundreds of thousands of doctors in the world already. No one will need you.” Obviously, that would probably never happen, unless the professor is off his rocker.

But so many of us in the left-brain world get talked out of pursuing our creative goals because there is so much like them out there already. I was talking with my mom recently about a book, “Love Warrior” by Glennon Doyle Menton, that she just finished reading. (Let’s be honest. Everyone is reading this book right now. Thanks, Oprah.) She was telling me how taken she was by the raw, no-holds-barred, devastatingly honest account of this woman’s tumultuous life.

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A New Years State of Mind

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New Years Day always feels monumental. A fresh start; another 365 days – 366, in this year’s case – to do beautiful and wasteful things with. Everyone begins hopeful: This is the year I’m going to lose ten pounds, keep it off. Spend less money and save more. Find my dream job. Write a book. Run a marathon. Buy a home. Pay off my loans. Cook more. Eat out less. Relax more. Worry less.

I make all these grand, blooming plans at each year’s start, too. It is the simplest time to start afresh because our minds like the chronology of it. This new year begins, I have a set amount of time to accomplish X, Y, and Z, and if I screw it up, there’s always next year. That’s the trap and simultaneous beauty of New Years. In actuality, we can all set up ambitious schemes for ourselves at any point throughout the year, throughout our lives. I forget this often. I forget that if I’m unhappy or complacent in certain situations – whether it be work, relationships, or home life – I don’t need to wait until January 1st to decide it’s time to modify certain aspects of my life and make changes.

While New Years is a festive, refreshing day, it’s also a day we should try to carry with us throughout the year, and not just keep as a bookend for the other 364 days. There is so much beauty, wonder, and enchantment in our world that we are able to transfer into beauty, wonder, and enchantment in our lives, that it is simply not fair to set aside one day a year to set fantastical intentions for ourselves. Each day and each breath we take is an opportunity to shift mindsets, make plans, and set resolutions to enhance this life. Today, I’m resolving to make plans and set goals, some lofty and some minute, all throughout this year and my following days and years. Explore, dream, create, travel, wonder, and do it all over again, all the time.

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John and I took these photos when were hiking Red Rock Canyon National Park outside Las Vegas earlier this week. We opted for the “2.5 mile difficult” route, which actually ended up being a 5-mile roundtrip hike to the top of Turtlehead Peak. Gorgeous, strenuous hike, and worth every view after spending four hours climbing, treading lightly, and hoping not to stumble or misstep.

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We climbed that! Up to the very tip-top!

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That white, splotchy stuff there? That’s snow. We were not expecting snow. It was chilly.

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We filled out the hiker log at the peak, complete with my favorite cheesy quote while John let his narrative-voice side fly.

Sweatshirt: The North Face // Leggings: Old Navy // Sneaks: Nike (Old: similar here) // Sunglasses: Target (Old: similar here)