The Rigors and Joy of Career and Life Change


Upstairs Porch2 The Rigors and Joy of Career and Life Change

Wraparound porch - off the master suite

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. “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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.)
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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!

12 Responses to “The Rigors and Joy of Career and Life Change”

  1. DorleeM says:

    Jacqui,

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us! I loved this post…hearing all the details of how you planned your move…to how you were conducting work in the backseat of your F150 pickup…to your final arrival at your beautiful new home.

    You had the inevitable hiccups one has during any event or activity planned but you were prepared with back-up plans so that your clients/work were not negatively impacted.

    I’m actually quite amazed how you and Rob pulled this all off without any downtime…it’s a testament to the great relationship you have, as well as the extremely strong skills you have at coordinating and juggling multiple assignments/tasks at hand.

    Wishing you much happiness, love and balance in your new home,
    Dorlee

    • Hi Dorlee,
      “The inevitable hiccups” is a terrific way to describe the somewhat ‘expected’ glitches, because they are kind of annoying, but not devastating — akin to hiccups!

      Thank you for your affirming remarks regarding Rob and me — I really feel lucky to have come together with a true life partner with whom I am able to conquer life’s challenges and create and live new opportunities!

      I so appreciate your supportive words and consistent friendship, Dorlee!
      Jacqui

  2. Mary Wilson says:

    Jacqui,

    You have captured so well the planning, discipline and teamwork it takes to successfully pull off such a huge change. My congratulations to both of you for not only surviving but thriving. I can really relate to your story, as my husband and I are just at the beginning stages of planning how we want to spend the last third of our lives. Our dreams involve moving to a warmer climate 11-17 hours away from our current state, and transitioning 2 businesses, so it won’t be easy.

    • Hi Mary,
      “Planning, discipline and teamwork” = well put! I must say, making the ‘site visits’ to our then ‘potential new home and lake’ inspired us to envision what was to come, fueling the energy to commit to this project.

      It sounds like you and your husband will be sparked by the same goals; I recall some time ago you mentioned this dream to relocate to a warmer venue. I believe you have your eyes on a couple of different options? How exciting to explore!

      As you said, moving to a new state and transitioning 2 businesses, won’t be easy, but applying your leadership and project planning expertise will make it a positive and worthwhile challenge with excitingly reverberating effects! Look forward to reading about your journey!

      Jacqui

  3. Hey Jacqui & Rob, I had to re-read this slowly tonight after a day’s worth of work. I am so impressed with your meticulous planning and wonderful story telling. I told you earlier that I thought you would thrive in the move and your post today shows why. I’m inspired. I work everywhere too so I am delighted that you found ways to work moving down the highway. As the person who once did much of her work on a river (alright, river bank, under a tent), I understand the challenges of mobility and the joys of seeing it work. I once did a 30 minute prospective call at the beauty parlor while my hair was being done. Picture that!

    • Julie!
      I love the word, ‘thrive,’ and thank you for punctuating your comment that way. And, we’re happy we could inspire with our story.

      Wow – working at a river bank, under a tent – how invigorating and impressive. And your story about the beauty parlor adds to the visual impression. I love stories of flexibility and adaptability, and in your single comment, you demonstrated both.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your positive energy!
      Jacqui

  4. [...] Whether navigating the passageways of career change, life change … or both, you will need to map deliberate processes to effectively (and sanely) achieve your destination goal. My own (and my husband’s) recent adventure transforming our careers as well as physical location (we moved from Missouri to Texas) spurred ideas for this recent post on career and life change. For the whole story, please click here: The Rigors and Joy of Career and Life Change. [...]

  5. That photo of your porch is the picture of serenity! No wonder you and Rob were willing to go through all the upheaval of a big move like that.

    I especially appreciate your point about how change, even when actively ushered in, is difficult. Despite all the planning, something will go wrong. But through the stress, we can find some amazing coping skills and perhaps uncover something about ourselves that will help in other aspects of life.

    So glad to hear that you’ve fulfilled the dream of moving to Texas! I’m sure you both will enjoy all the good times to come :)

    • Master Resume Writer says:

      Melissa,
      I think the porch (actually, we have TWO, one upstairs, off master suite, and one downstairs) is one of the draws that sealed the deal for us! It’s definitely a place to ‘find serenity’ despite the challenges that we naturally face in our day to day : )

      “Change, even when actively ushered in, is difficult” <– nice. And you’re right about the coping skills – I’m building upon mine, as we speak (and as we still face the challenges of our phone line issues).

      Thanks much for your spirited support of Rob’s and my ‘dreamy’ move!

      Jacqui

  6. Marianna says:

    Hi Jacqui,

    You make so many important points, that I could do a full blog post in response to them. :)

    I’ll choose three:

    1. Instant Gratification – with the proliferation of Instant Everything from banking to the accessibility of someone via cell phone, our brains are being rewired. Without care and understanding, the fuse shortens; the stress response is activated much more frequently which leads to eventual blow-up or burn-out.

    2. Another important detail is the importance of rest, which is restorative and allows you to start afresh and gain new insights. Stress can fog one’s thinking. “Must. Keep. Going.” Yet, less and less is being accomplished. Revving for too long does burn out the engine!

    3. Accepting that situations can promote a mixture of emotions and then choosing to act from a place that is better for all concerned and brings you closer to what you do want. Not always easy, but it can be practised!

    I look forward to seeing how the spirit of your surroundings and the joys of living from your heart add a new dimension to your writing!

    Happy House/Boat Warming to the pair of you!

  7. Marianna says:

    This image of your wrap-around porch becokons … I keep returning to it!

    I think it must do with the languorous feeling that is generated by an amalgamation of porches, decks, lanais and sunrooms of days gone by.

  8. […] Work Life Merging has been a critical focus of my life this past year.In May, 2011, this Kansas City, Missouri, ‘home girl’ pulled stakes, and in partnership with my adventurous husband, Rob, moved to Gordonville Texas. […]

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