By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
The picture above of the wraparound porch just off of our master suite is one of many reasons Rob and I chose to move to this Lake Texoma, Texas, hideaway. Located in a small town called Gordonville, just 60 miles north of Dallas, the community is dubbed Sherwood Shores and originally was platted for lake homes.
In fact, each quaint, unadulterated and uniquely-their-own lake-house property is situated on plush green, treed landscapes parallel to windy, hilly and oft-narrow roads; these were first impressions that captured my heart when we visited Lake Texoma last November.
Aside from this initial impression, (as many of you know), Rob and I have a passion for sailing that has punctuated our lifestyle with summer sailing adventures for the past three years. By moving to a warmer climate with a longer sailing season and a lake nine times the size of our original sailing lake, we aspire to effectively, organically and intuitively blend our day-to-day entrepreneurial and personal lives.
In addition to the strategic physical move, we thrust ourselves into career moves that required intellectual muscle and rigor to determine how to blend our businesses into a singular, more unified endeavor. As such, we agreed that Rob would step down from a full-time sales/business management role ‘elsewhere’ and step into full-time partnership with me at CareerTrend, my 14-year-old global career writing strategy business. As well, both he and I will continue expanding our business and creative writing endeavors within and beyond the CareerTrend doors.
I thought I would share a few takeaways I’ve gleaned from the past several months transitioning our lives/home, a 7-hour drive from Kansas City, Missouri, to Lake Texoma, Texas.
- The move, though seamless in its own right, required flexibility and consistent communication. For example, after physically investigating our destination in November and then firming up our plans to move in January, we determined a move-in date of mid-May. For reasons personal to us, we did not have a specific launch date but instead, we had to keep a two-week window open for the move.
- Considering the flux that moving one’s whole life to a new state causes, Rob and I talked regularly and at great length to solidify who, what, where, when, why and ‘how’ we would accomplish this change without disrupting business and while also finding some joy in the experience.
- To this end, we clearly defined our individual roles, particularly during the past 30 days: Rob, the intellectual and physical brawn behind the move would, in effect, plan and execute the entire relocation of our home, while I tended to the business portion of the transition.
- Concurrently, and because of Rob’s initiative, I was granted an unfettered path to steer CareerTrend business ‘as usual,’ ensuring clients and prospects were attended to in a timely, orderly fashion. Even during the actual physical move, Rob and I had it arranged that I was continually in an appropriate environment to tend to clients while Rob and his friend loaded the 18-wheeler with our life’s belongings; and while driving 70 mph down the highway, I resided in the backseat of our F150 pickup, plugged into Mifi operating fairly seamlessly writing resumes and crafting resume prep worksheets and emails.
- Throughout this transition process, and during the actual move itself, I continued to interview and consult with clients and prospects and write, deliver and edit client projects.
How does our move relate to career transition-ers?
- Whether suddenly thrust into job search mode or determining in advance that you wish to move up and out of your current situation to create a better life for yourself, you cannot circumvent the planning and personal accountability process, and the time (usually months, sometimes a year or more) to achieve your destination goal. Letting go of the need for instant gratification is the first step toward designing a more fluid and less frustrating journey. Because YOU want the new job or career NOW doesn’t mean the whole world will step in to accommodate you at a moment’s notice.
- Often, careerists approach my resume door with an urge for instant transition, and they wish to burst through companies’ interview entrances with a quickly whipped up resume that does little to reflect their true value. Expecting monumental shifts in your life and/or career with only short-range efforts and minimal or no planning or preparation will generally lead to lackluster or no real results.
- Career transition takes time. What you may feel should take a few days (e.g., your new resume strategy) may take weeks (or even a month or more), and the actual interview and ultimately job offer processes that you may feel should take weeks, may require months, or even a year or more to achieve. You may even find that the process is accomplished in increments and phases and not in the fashion you envision. This is okay, though!
- When the days of new career rollout DO occur, you likely will find yourself feeling mixed emotions, as we did when moving to our new home. If done strategically, though, the positive emotions and outcomes generally outweigh the negatively stressed sentiments.
- “This is beautiful!” Rob and I both gasped when stepping foot onto our new property and into our new home. However, only hours later, we were snipping at one another as I sought to locate the Internet router and Rob’s need for finding our sugar supply for his freshly brewed coffee trumped any semblance of peace and order we’d felt just hours earlier.
- Tired, we both had reached the end of our virtual rope, and we had not yet acknowledged it. Rob shepherded me off to the comfort of bed (I’m ‘nothing’ without sleep, and when I hit the brick wall of exhaustion my sanity abandons me). Rob, in turn, continued organizing the first floor of our house. In his words, “I wanted to stop, but I just couldn’t.” Bless his heart (said in Texas twang) – he is relentless and tenacious.
- Job seekers and career transitioners, such tenacity can be both a blessing and a bain. In our case, Rob’s and my tenacious natures fueled this change transition – it was the energy that sparked our renewal and design results that not only met, but also even exceeded, some of our dreams. At the same time, we have encountered moments where our engines backfired or where we pumped too hard on the gas pedal, flooding our engines and coming to a dead stop. At those times, we had to know when to say when, get a good night’s rest, and start fresh with a blank-slate day.
- Change is both glorious, and HARD! It challenges intellectual, and in our case, physical muscles that we hadn’t tapped in awhile. The same is true with job search – most folks go about their careers doing their jobs and not facing the rigors of career networking, marketing their value and knocking on the virtual doors of employers. It’s unfamiliar territory, and your job search muscles often have become lax. Retraining them is not an overnight endeavor, but it CAN be done.
- Change can be both smooth, and bumpy. While we planned the details of our move to ad nauseam, both Rob and I were eyes-wide-open that certain plans would not go as planned and that we would have to tack, jibe and come about a few times to reach our goals.
- For example, for the past three months, I have been in close phone contact with the local cable service providing both our Internet and phone services. Having done fairly extensive research on the Internet capability at our new location, I was confident this portion of our transition would be seamless (and it has been); however, VoIP telephone was new to me, and I was less than 100% sure installing and using the service would be hitch-free. A calculated risk, and one supported by conversations with colleagues and family members successfully using VoIP, and with repeated assurance by the cable services provider, I determined this was the best option for our new location, and to handle our business needs.
- The long and short of it: four days into our move, the phone still is not operational, and I am relying now on my back-up plan, my cell phone. In fact, within 48 hours of discovering our telephone situation, I had a scheduled client interview – a 60- to 90-minute career unearthing process that required deep concentration and attention to my client’s story. Thankfully, my cell phone served my needs! (Though, I admittedly still eagerly await a ‘regular’ phone line which I have been assured will be established within a couple of business days.)
- In another example, Rob’s meticulous attention to the sailboat transition paid off; the boat is safely in its new harbor; its hull is buffed and shiny; the bottom has been brilliantly cleaned of lake crud that accumulated after dozens of sails; and several other tasks had been performed. That said, one critical, but visually small piece, a turnbuckle at the bottom of one of the stays has NOT been replaced, as promised. We now await the replacement part before we can initiate our inaugural Lake Texoma sail.
- In both examples, Rob and I had alternative, backup plans should the contractors we partnered with not be able to pull off their solutions. As for my responsibility to the telephone line, I have an optional provider at the ready; and as for the sailboat, Rob, a hands-on sailor with mechanical aptitude, will take charge of the parts process and find, purchase and install the turnbuckle on his own should the marina not come through.
- Similarly, job seekers and career transitioners, no one cares as much about YOUR goals and needs as YOU do, so please know that you, ultimately, steer the ship of your career and all of the idiosyncratic passageways that you must navigate. This is not to say, ‘go it alone!’ Rob and I would NEVER have considered such a move without the help of numerous experts to help us navigate through the ocean of change; at the same time, we also continually plotted out our course, created alternative courses and moved along, tacking, jibing and adjusting our sails to ultimately land here, in beautiful Lake Texoma!