Friday, November 18, 2016

Biographical Resume

When the last recession hit, my husband and I didn’t have careers; we had jobs, and were already living week to week. He was working sixty hours a week as a restaurant manager. I was a part time bookkeeper, hardly the job I had in mind when I graduated with a specialization in creative writing. I was in my mid twenties with two toddlers and had to make this serious vision of a career – paid time off, benefits, bonus, retirement and a salary. I sold myself on the idea that there was a difference between dreams and careers – putting my pen in the hobby drawer with half painted tables and half assembled jewelry. I started to look at other career options. Google knew exactly what I needed to see. An online school with an Accounting program. It was geared toward people like me with a non-accounting background. Hesitant, I filled out a request for more information and almost immediately received a call from the recruiter. She was persistent and sold me on the dream I was looking for, especially the one where I would be able to financially provide for my family.

Two years later, I graduated. My husband had quit his job and was waiting tables under the promise that I was going to provide that financial stability we were looking for-maybe we could start living month to month now. I never considered how much the college would cost. I was too naive to look up how each class was paid or the balance I was accumulating. The debt didn’t seem real. Even when I saw the balance my immaturity convinced me I didn’t really have to pay it.  There are always options, right?  My first Accounting job wasn’t exactly the high salary I had imagined and kept us on the week-to-week living pattern. A months into the job and I knew I wasn’t going to ever complete the CPA certification I had been meaning to study for.  The work was mind dulling, Accounts Payable. My forty hour a week job took me about twenty hours to get through and the rest of the time I was left to stare at beige painted walls and wonder if I had made a huge mistake.

I started to miss my undergraduate degree work so I started my first blog. It was a combination of parenting and stream of conscious stories about my life that reflected the classes that had inspired me almost ten years prior. I started writing about clothes and fashion, partly to justify the online shopping habit sitting in my office trying to fill an additional twenty hours of work had given me.  I became charged by the feedback and didn’t realize my clothing outfits where inspiring self-confidence in my readers. I was close to creating my writing voice dedicating more to this hobby then any other one in the past.

My job was unraveling. My boss, the only reason I was still working there, had quit. She was tired of being a “square peg” and took another job. After she left, I experienced my first round of micromanaging in the Accounting world. I came to realize this was pretty common practice for someone to constantly be a second set of eyes on my work.  My salary was low enough that I was still able to defer my loans-with no clue what that actually meant.  

In the spring of 2012, everything changed. My blog was doing pretty well and I began to think about another career switch, away from accounting. Then I got a job offer to work as an Accountant for a large publicly traded Retail Company. The salary jump was almost double and it required us to move to a larger city, a welcome change for my family.  It was a hyper focused accounting position, which meant strict deadlines and no more blogging. It also meant a step closer that that financial security I was looking for. Aside from the letters on my student loans I was afraid to open, there was mounting credit card debt and all the money in our savings would be drained to fund the move. It was a big adjustment on all sides and for a few years it was working. We got out of debt, bought a house and even had two more kids. Then the cycle of regret and misery started again. That feeling that I was doing something that I hated started to creep in during my too short maternity leave for my fourth baby. Fiscal deadlines, micromanaging, and working in a windowless cube farm slowly started to grate on me and we were still living month-to-month. The little dose of financial security didn’t provide me with the career satisfaction I desired.  It was quite the opposite. Blogs are popping up everywhere and creative non-fiction was a popular literature genre. And there I was reconciling spreadsheets for long hours of the day missing out on the important family years. When I wasn’t at work, I was stressed about work. They were relentless and the micromanaging and negative feed back was relentless. Six mints ago, I cracked. We were staying in a remote cabin on Memorial Day and I realized I forgot to run an important report. I had a full blown panic attack and told my husband I couldn’t do this anymore. We made a plan. One where he would work so I could go back to doing what I loved.

There were a lot of ways I could have continued on the career path I was paying for but I was truly unhappy and living my life in a constant state of stress an anxiety wasn’t helping anyone around me.  I am finally able to admit that I only owe money, not myself to the student loan. There are skills that are part of an over all dream and I am learning to reconfigure. Budgeting and planning is an important part of any job and with my job skills I am able to keep our finances organized-if only for the sole reason of never having to work in an office again.

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