I’ve worked since I was 16. My first job was at the Coffee Beanery in Laurel Park Mall, whipping up those newly-popular cappuccinos and lattes in the mid-90’s. I was a fan of drip coffee myself, but after a while I was sick of my micro-managing boss and coming home smelling like coffee. So then it was on to office cleaning with my best friend Sarah…boy, that was a hoot. Two teenagers with after-hours access to office buildings? Oh, the shenanigans…needless to say that didn’t last long either! Over the last 20-some years I’ve worked at Victoria’s Secret, two REI stores, a bike shop, a plant nursery (which I loved), a stained glass distributor (also fun) and at the Answer Products/Manitou HQ.
The last 12 years have been spent in the wheelchair seating industry. I never even thought about wheelchairs or their occupants until I worked with them first-hand. Many people work in this industry for a reason, usually because a family member has special needs or is a wheelchair user. And some folks are wheelchair users themselves. It’s been quite the eye-opener. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people who are truly in the business for the purpose of helping others. However, it’s the end of an era- and my gig is up at the end of the month. When we moved to Chicagoland I was asked to stay on remotely for a few months until a replacement was hired. Well, six months turned into two years and now my company’s finally ready to move on with a full-time, in-house employee. So it’s not a surprise by any means. And quite honestly I’m ready to move on as well…12 years is a long time at one company, with a lot of ups and downs. Working remotely wasn’t that awesome either as I missed the social perks of physically being in an office like long lunches, donut days and potlucks. Ha!
I’ve worked for so long that I’m not sure how I’ll fare with NOT working. Don’t get me wrong- I’ll have plenty to do, including raising an awesome kid, but it’s not contributing in the same way a job would. I probably won’t start the job search until after the holidays so I have plenty of time to figure out what the next chapter in my life will look like. I’d love to work with kids and families in some sort of non-profit setting but I’m not sure how to transition into that realm. In the meantime I’ll probably step up my efforts at the bird shelter and help coordinate their move to a new facility.
But if it turns out that being a mom, wife, house manager, volunteer and bike racer isn’t enough I may seek out a short-term contract role. To be continued!