15 years ago, I was a single mother to a 9-year-old, and owner of an equally charming home in Oconomowoc in need of a job. I landed a Sales Assistant position at a manufacturing facility and things were moving in the right direction. Mind you, my background was Graphic Arts however when you have children that expect to be clothed and fed, you take what is available.
Although I have little (very little) interest in the manufacturing world, I was blessed and cursed with an incredible, work ethic inherited from my parents, so I gave it my all. I never turned down an opportunity to learn a new aspect of the company. With each new position I took on, my salary increased significantly making me feel more and more trapped because I would never make that much money elsewhere. In this time, I moved to a new home, got married and had another child. I climbed the ladder to Operations and a member of the Management Committee (which was in lieu of a general manager).
Was I successful? By definition of attaining a profit, sure. By definition of achieving a specific goal or a desired outcome, no I wasn’t. My goal was not to climb the ladder, it is where I ended up because of my commitment to the interest of the organization. The outcome of this was long hours, anxiety through the roof, sleepless nights and a child and husband that rightfully felt that my job was more important than them. My job, the one that brought me little joy other than the learning opportunities and satisfaction of trying to do a good job consumed my life. There was no balance, the scales were tipped in favor of my job while my health, happiness and family were left hanging.
How could I walk away from this income, the benefits, bonuses and what I had invested so much time into? People will think I am crazy. I must be an idiot. We have never lived high on the hog, quite the opposite. Even at a six-figure income, I still loved a good thrift store bargain. As frugal as I was, losing that type of income would surely make an impact, I told myself I couldn’t leave. My family told me otherwise. Yes there would be sacrifices but a small price to pay for happiness. Through their support, I no longer felt trapped. I felt free! Enter resignation letter.
I picked up a part-time management position which allows me time to attend my son’s sporting events, be with my oldest when he is on military leave and be the wife that doesn’t need to vent to her husband about my stressful job. My husband and I have an antique booth together which provides a creative outlet for me as well as gives us something to do together that we truly enjoy. Am I successful? By definition of achieving a specific goal, not yet. By definition of a desired outcome, well I am a lot happier so absolutely!
My goal is to find my way to never working another day in my life, not in the sense of sitting on the couch with a tub of ice cream rather in the sense of doing what I love. I have many interests which include antiques, decorating, photography, animals and writing. I do not know where this road will take me but I’m thankful for the opportunity to travel it. I am enjoying chasing happiness far more than I was chasing money.
Life is short, travel the road to happiness whatever that means for you.
Vicki is a guest blogger sharing her story today on The Lake Country Mom. I am a middle-aged daughter (my parent’s favorite I’m sure), a sister to two older brothers and three older sisters which would certainly explain my anxiety. Thankfully I am also a wife to a man that has a way of calming me with his supportive nature.
My greatest accomplishment is raising my two boys. Well a bit premature as I am not done raising one of them, but my oldest son is 24 and currently serving our country in Vicenza, Italy. My youngest is 10 and keeps us busy with his love of sports while thankfully prolonging my empty nest.
Home for me has always been the Lake Country area and other than in January, I cannot imagine living anywhere else. Why the Hallmark Channel hasn’t filmed a Christmas movie in my hometown of Oconomowoc is beyond me.
In our spare time my husband and I enjoy traveling the backroads for antiques. We turned our love of the hunt into a way to share with others and keep our house decluttered by renting an antique booth at Fox Lake Country Antique Mall. You can follow us on our Facebook page Smokestacks and Silos. My passion is for the creative side of life, animals and road trips. And coffee. I LOVE coffee!
If you are interested in writing a guest post to tell your story please contact us. We all have a voice, we would love to hear yours.