Yesterday my employer sent me 2 letters: one to congratulate me on my 5 years of service, the other to approve my nearing 8 week leave of absence (well, officially it’s 2 weeks PTO and 6 weeks unpaid personal leave). I appreciated both letters and didn’t realize, until 6am this morning, the significance of either. 

The fact that I’ve been with the company 5 years surprises me on so many levels. It’s kind of like the time when I realized I’d been out of college longer than I’d been in (but mind you, still caught in the same fashion era). Time moves quicker than you think. Also notable: 
  • I’ve been in this job longer than I was a youth director, though my tendencies to align myself with the youth directors as opposed to the HR or recruiters probably tells me something I’m not willing to hear.
  • This is the longest I’ve been with any job, position or company.
  • This is the first time I’ve stuck with something longer than a 4 year span since 1996. We seem to operate in 4 year increments in the young adult world, so there was high school, college and first job, all 4 years each. I broke the 4 year barrier. I’m officially an adult. (Probably related: : my last 4 year stint involved having kids.)
  • I never felt “called” into HR. Recruiting is not my lifelong aspiration or passion. I fell into it. I do a good job at it (I think). So 5 years moving quickly is proof of two things: complacency on my part and that my employer is very, very good to me and makes it hard to leave for anything remotely subpar. 
 But enough about how time flies when you’re reading bad resumes. On to the exciting stuff. 
I’m taking a break from my 20-hour-a-week job (for which I create my schedule and self-direct my priorities and tasks). I know, I’m a lightweight. In my defense: I was carrying the workload of an overworked fulltime employee. I think that fact counts for something. But the decision to take some time for myself came from a perfect storm of situations:
  • Our sitter spree was stressing me out
  • We found a renter for The House That Won’t Sell
  • JJ has the summer off and we have 2 families with lakehouses. Things like conference calls just don’t bode well with that lifestyle. 
  • I’d went back to work relatively quickly after Baby C was born, which if we all remember correctly, was the exact same time I moved to a new town. My general pace of life needs some slowing. 
  • I read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years  (again) and recognized for the 14th time I’m not writing the story I want to be (both figuratively – with my life – and literally – with my computer). And until I take a breather, I will never get started.
  • Related: until I created space to try writing things other than a blog that 12 people (Hi KLR! And Family!) read, I simply won’t. I’ll never find time, I can only make time
At the end of September you’ll probably see me putting in my availability, hoping for some resume rating or admin support. I’ll likely pick up where I left off, putting in a few days a week. But hopefully when I return, I’ll have established patterns and routines that include more of the things I love. Like running. And baking. And swimming (okay, floating is more my speed. I don’t like to get my hair wet). 
I’m also going to do a few scary things, like pitch an idea and query a story. I need to. I have to. The failure rate at the start of any writing effort is exceptionally high at the start, so I need to get these rejections rolling so I can get to the good stuff. I need to write some crappy first drafts so I can get better. I need to get my butt in the chair so that when I’m 65 and sitting at the lakehouse with  my 900 grandchildren, JJ won’t say, “your grandma could’ve done something else. I tried to get her to, but the money was nice and the company was good to her.” 
It’s time to start writing a good story. It includes a character who wants something and has to overcome an obstacle to get it. There is an inciting event. It has memorable scenes. Her character grows. She may not make a million dollars, write a bestseller or even quit her day job. But the goal is not just to write a story worth reading, but to do something worth writing about. 
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