Three years ago, when I walked across a stage at Frost Arena to meet David L. Chicoine with my fake diploma (the real one would arrive months later), I smiled easily knowing the hard part was finished. Not the earning an education part, but the finding a job part. I was one of a few in my department, and entire class, that had successfully landed employment before graduation.
However, that job wasn’t right for me, although first jobs rarely are, and before I could officially decide it was time to leave I was offered another one, with better pay and hours. Some of my classmates were still looking for jobs and I was already on my second. Although I often wish I would’ve stuck it out with the newspaper business a bit longer, I fell in love with this job and it seemed to fit me in ways my previous one did not.
After a year and half, I became restless with the office life and yearned for something else, so I approached my employers about going to half-time status in order to pursue my own adventure, an online news site. They agreed and I went from working 40 comfortable hours to 65+ stress filled ones.
I’ve always known how blessed I was to always be employed, and at good jobs. Although money was tight at times, I never worried that a next paycheck wouldn’t come because I knew it would. Sure, I complained about work-related things, but I always knew I had it better than other people. I always knew I was blessed by the jobs that I held.
This week ends my last week of employment. My last day at the Foundation is Thursday, with my last in-office day at The Post being Friday. For a month, I will be jobless.
After a very numbing winter, I need this month to rewind and prepare for what’s ahead. I have logistical things to plan, but I would also like to readjust my attitude and approach for a work life unprecedented to anything I’ve experienced.
With this last week of work, I’m happy to shed myself of certain things: long work days, the commuting, the stress. But this week will be bittersweet. At one job, I will leave behind an amazing organization that is setting out to improve the state of South Dakota through education and research. At the other, an experiment I built with the mission to tell stories. At both, I will say goodbye to wonderful coworkers, counter parts and a supervisor who is a third parent to me.
Moving on is what I need to do, but I understand that where I am going and what I am about to do wouldn’t be possible without those three jobs. They paved this path and I must continue on it.