Sunday, May 19, 2019

My big life change

We interrupt the Europe recap posts to talk about my big life change. I'm sorry the vacation recap is taking me so long to get through! I ended up with so much content, and then in the middle of all of that, something big has been happening over the last 3 weeks that has left me a bit distracted. After 13 years, I decided it was time to leave my job for reasons I won't go into on the blog. But I will say that I made this decision in January, right after the new year. The ideal plan was that I would find a new job, put in my notice, go to Europe, then come home to a new life. Somehow I'm only about 4 weeks off that schedule and it happened really fast after Europe. It really is ironic when wishes come true the second you decide to let things go.

Long story short, my first day back into the office after Europe was April 17th. I accepted a job offer one week later on Thursday, April 25th, put my notice in Friday the 26th, then had my last day this past Friday the 17th. I know everyone is curious about what I do and what I will be doing. I haven't really mentioned the company name on the blog, though through context clues and things I post on social media, I'm sure some of you have figured it out. Not that it's a huge secret, but I just like keeping different parts of my life somewhat separate from the blog. 

ANYWAY, my degree is in architecture and my career has predominantly involved the construction/ real estate development/ design side of the business for a national restaurant chain. My new job is with a much, much smaller restaurant brand and I will be helping manage their design and construction team. I'm super excited to apply everything I've learned to date to a smaller concept. It's a little surreal to me that I have this opportunity! But with that happiness and excitement does come sadness as I close a big chapter of my life. I was with this company for 13 years, and 5 years prior to that, I worked for an architecture firm with them as my major client. 18 years with this brand! That's an incredible amount of time. So how do you say goodbye to that?

Top: Evereve | Bottoms: American Eagle | Bracelet: Charmed Stacks (current options here) | Heels: Vince Cameo (option)

You know I have to start with my outfit first and foremost. I can still remember what I wore on my first day - unfortunately that was almost 10 years before I started taking outfit selfies, so I don't have the "before" pic to show you! But, it was pretty conservative, for me anyway. Black wide leg and wide cuffed hem, ponte knit pants, an olive stripe long sleeve button up, worn under a short sleeved black crew neck tee. All from Express! Ha! Some things never change after all. 

For my last day outfit, my outfit formula was easy - fun top, jeans, and heels. I went shopping the weekend before and found 4 tops from Evereve. I needed the top to not be fussy because I knew I'd be giving a lot of hugs - i.e. I didn't want to wear something off the shoulder that I would constantly be tugging and messing with. I was happy overall with this outfit choice, but man, by hour 6, I was THISCLOSE to taking my shoes off and just being barefoot. I did not do it though. I persevered. I couldn't not wear heels for my party and even the most comfy of heels will hurt after that many hours standing in them. Small price to pay for fashion.

The best team ever

The happy hour started at 3pm at Mellow Mushroom. Outside of the time, I really didn't know what to expect. It's funny because I'm usually the one planning the party, so it was interesting to go into this blindly. And let me tell you, it was a pretty epic send off with food, drinks, so many people I love, decorations, photo collage boards, and the most amazing going away swag. My heart was full.

Rocking Floral Friday for me one more time

I truly never thought I would have the courage to leave. Because it's not just change that is scary, it's all of the people I would no longer get to see on a daily basis. I've said goodbye to so many coworkers over the last few years - last year being hands down the worst for this (our controller told me 34 people left last year!!!). I always pictured myself to be the last one standing. It was a difficult decision; one I did not take lightly. Everyone has their tipping point though, and there came a time where I knew that as amazing as these people are, it was time to let go.

How cute is this though? I wish I could post everyone's photos with my ginormous head, but I'll just share a select few. Ian is one of my super close friends at the office, so naturally I had to make sure he had a cameo in this post.

"You're dead to us. We hope you fail."

Ah, my cake. It's hilarious. The thing about my coworkers is that they are all so talented and have the biggest hearts! But, they also don't take themselves too seriously, so we are always belly laughing with each other. I couldn't stop laughing at this! I can only imagine what the bakery person was thinking! Ha! But yeah - check out the table behind me in this pic with all my goodies! Alcohol, mugs, notepads, tee shirt, framed prints, coffee, white chocolate, basically they know me well and know what I love along with all our inside jokes that will make me smile. My big gift was this leather backpack in olive!!! It's gorgeous and perfect for all the traipsing around Manhattan that I will be doing in my new job.

This was after I opened my gift, and my bestest bestie in the department, Jason, gave a little speech on my behalf. I held it together pretty well in terms of not crying until he spoke. I'm laughing because he joked that he thinks odds are that I will be back. I realize it's all in good fun, but I guess, never say never! I do definitely think I would absolutely regret it if I didn't take this job and see what I could do with it. It truly is the most amazing opportunity. 

The OG girls

I've worked alongside these ladies for years! The two on the right of this photo were two I had to say goodbye to last year when they left the company. And I love that they came back to support me on my last day. Seriously the best support group.

The husband and I have worked together for as long as we have known each other! It's odd for some couples to picture working with their significant other, but it's always been fine for the both of us. Although we work somewhat in the same overall department, our smaller departments are separate. Even though his office is about 20 steps from my cube, there were times I could go a whole work day without seeing or talking to him! That said, I know he is sad that I won't be there anymore. He said there was always comfort knowing I was sitting at my desk not too far from him. Plus, I was always there to be his lunch date forcing him out of his office!

The new girls

These ladies have only been working with the company for a year or less, so I've only just begun to get to know them, and it does make me sad that I didn't get the opportunity to have more time with them. For the longest time there were only a couple of females in the design department and it's been so refreshing to have more estrogen support over the last few months! We lunched regularly together too, which was great. I do still plan to come back and be part of that lunch crew whenever I can.

When I worked in the construction department, I was paired up with a construction manager. For the first few years it was Keith who lives out of state and wanted so much to be a part of my going away party but couldn't make the travel work. Kevin, above, was who I was paired up with after Keith, and he was equally as great. A true team member who always respected me, never made me feel like I was his assistant. I was always his equal. Jennifer also got a chance to work with him and she likes to remind Kevin that when we realigned teams and Kevin was taken away from both of us (at different times), we both cried. He's that great of a person.

My first boss

The last 4 years with this company was spent with the design team - the 4 people you see at the start of this post were on my dream team. But Ken is who hired me 13 years ago to be on his construction team. He took a chance on me - let me work remote from my home office in Michigan even though the 9 other people in my position worked in St. Louis. (Eventually I did end up moving to St. Louis, but that was never a stipulation when I was hired.) I will always be grateful that he trusted me and for the aforementioned Keith for convincing Ken to hire me in the first place!

Farewell notes

If you didn't already know what a bread peel looks like - that's what you're seeing above. Everyone signed one for me and I'm excited to display it in my home office as a reminder of  my roots and all those that I love! I definitely did better than I thought in terms of being a big bawl bag at my party, but I also made it a point not to read any of my goodbye notes until I was alone the next day. I woke up Saturday morning (not hungover miraculously!!) and laid in bed ugly crying while I read these notes. One of messages that really hit home for me said:

"Every now and then people come along that have the personality to change the trajectory of a group.... we've seen it from the worst perspective, and with you, we've seen it from the best."

I am so humbled to think I've positively affected a group of people as much as they have let me know. This has all taught me to truly value the relationships you have. Because even after you leave that job, you will still have those good relationships to take with you and they will last forever.

And now I'm crying so I will take that as my cue to sign off! I have this next week off then start the new job the week of Memorial Day. Thank you for letting me share this journey!


  1. Soooo exciting! Yet...bittersweet! I can't believe you've been involved with this company for 18 years!! Your cake really was hilarious and that good-bye note you shared from your co-worker is the sweetest. It must be really satisfying to know you left such a positive impact on those who worked with you! Wishing you nothing but success in your next adventure!

  2. Congratulations!!! Wishing you the best!