Sunday, April 2: The last of my New Orleans visitors flies back to Philadelphia. I miss them immediately
Monday, April 4 – Sunday, April 10: 7 day, 80 hour work week that is exhausting and defeating. I practically crawl out of the building on the 7th day.
Monday April 11- Tuesday April 12: Existential crisis ensues. My life breaks apart at the seams, jagged pieces cascading into the darkness. Just kidding, I FaceTime my mother several times and eat too much licorice. I decide I am moving back to Philadelphia. Another existential crisis. What will I do in Philly? And when can I go? And how? Should I go back to advertising? Wait what? Where did that come from? You have a Master’s in SOCIAL WORK.
Wednesday April 13: I start then later stop 5 applications for social worker positions in Philly. I spend hours on a cover letter that I never submit.
I feel suddenly compelled to send a slightly frantic message to an old friend who I worked with in advertising in Philadelphia. Unbeknownst to me, she just happens to be visiting New Orleans (!!), and offers to meet for drinks that evening. We drink wine and catch up and I pour my existential crisis all over her. Metaphorically drenched, she is insightful and encouraging and exactly what I need at the moment in my life. So is the wine. I decide to (maybe) make a(nother) career change (eventually).
Thursday, April 14: I e-mail a former supervisor and former coworker to ask if they even think it would be possible for me to return to my copywriting career. I receive emphatic, confidence- boosting responses. My former supervisor (Hi Karen!) goes above and beyond: e-mailing contacts, offering up her connections and giving invaluable support and advice. My former coworker is equally encouraging. She offers to meet for drinks once I’m in town or to catch up via phone.
Friday April 15: Former coworker messages me again. Actually, she has a position open on her team and would I be interested? I am excited and panic stricken. It has been one day since I decided to maybe, possibly, perhaps uproot my entire life one vague day in the future. I FaceTime my mother several times and eat too much licorice. I say yes, I am very, very, interested.
Less than an hour later, I receive a Linkedin Message from a recruiter at the agency. I e-mail her back and we schedule a phone interview.
Saturday April 16: My long suffering mother and I discuss all of my options, ad nauseum. On our 29th face time she finally says well why don’t you just move to Philadelphia and figure it out from there? I am stunned. My mother is the wisest, most financially savvy person I know. She has always engrained in me that you must have a job before you quit a job. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is her favorite saying. (It never made sense to me as a child – I didn’t want one bird, let alone two).
I panic and try to FaceTime my mother then realize I’m already on the phone with her. I’ve run out of licorice. We decide together that I should give notice on Monday and begin the moving process. I am 32 years old and do not know what I would do without my mother
Sunday April 17: I look around my home at all of the clutter I have collected over three years. I vividly recall the stress, aggravation and frustration that moving provokes. Still, my mind is clear of doubts. I replenish my licorice supply and begin packing.
Monday April 18: I give my notice. My boss is understanding and supportive. I am the 12th person to quit in 6 months. It feels like I’m leaping onto a lifeboat from aboard a ship, slowly sinking into the churning, icy sea.
Tuesday April 19: I sit in my hot car for a quick, sweaty phone interview with the recruiter.
Monday, April 25: My first ever Skype interview. It seems to go well.
Tuesday, April 26: I announce to the Facebook world that I am leaving New Orleans because, why should Beyonce get all of the attention.
Tuesday April 26- Thursday April 28: I log thousands of steps on my Fitbit from packing, sorting, and organizing my clutter. I sell a bunch of stuff via Facebook and LetGo. I get a rush of exhilaration every time something leaves my house. Yet so much remains. Mild existential crises are scattered throughout. I question how THE HELL I’ve moved 12 times in the last 10 years without being involuntarily committed.
Thursday, April 28: The recruiter calls and says I got the job (!). I book a flight to Philadelphia to look at apartments (!).
Friday April 29 – Death: Fame, fortune, cat hoarding, die a hero. Just my best guess.
My head is still spinning but I am awash with gratitude for all of the support I’ve received during this whirlwind. It’s no surprise to me that almost all of the people who have helped me throughout this have been women. We are constantly hearing about how women judge, pick apart and cut down other women. I won’t delve into the roots of that behavior because this soap box is getting wobbly, but my experience has been the complete opposite. From much-needed advice and guidance, to offers of resources and bedrooms to crash in, to just a listening ear while I staggered toward the right path, drunk on licorice. I am so thankful to have these women (and of course, Brian) in my hive. It’s a beautiful life when you surround yourself with the some of the good ones.