I am a creature of habit. I love routines, and rest easy in knowing what is coming next. Setting down roots is important to me – to be part of a community, a team, a place, with deep connections, drives the choices I make in life. Now, I find myself picking up the roots of my professional life to make a major change.

11 Years Later

In the Fall of 2010, I accepted a job at the University in our home town. I was only two years out of college myself, and very much “young” in my professional career. It was well known that working for the University was full of great perks including a gracious holiday policy, and the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree. Even though I was in the early days of my career, I was ready to join a team, build roots, and make a difference long-term. I was content to look at the University as my “forever home,” and walked in, day one, ready to to follow the path where it led me.

A Tale of Many Hats

Over the last 11 years, I have been lucky to hold a variety of roles at the University. I started my journey in an administrative position answering phones and scheduling appointments. From there, I took on a role that focused on developing and running current student events and establishing parent/alumni programming. Four years later, I took a departmental role in Information Technology, overseeing drop off services and budget/finance tasks. During this time, I completed a Masters Degree in Communication Studies. Not long after, I began managing budget and finance tasks for all of IT. Most recently, I took on the task of managing budget and finance activity for the entire University.

A New Normal

Remote work never really appealed to me prior to 2020. I couldn’t really make sense of not having the routine of going to work during the week. It helped to shape my sense of time, and helped me plan ahead. During the worst days of the pandemic, when all hope seemed to be fading, when so much loss of life was so heavy, when everything else was so exhausting, remote work saved my sanity. Being near Isaac, and (at the time) 2 cats, grounded me and brought me a sense of comfort when everything else wasn’t comfortable. It spoiled me in many ways. Lately, being at the office now feels strange. I feel lost without the sound of Isaac’s keyboard strokes, or the occasionally meowing of a small fluffy beast.

‘Who knows? Have patience. Go where you must go, and hope!’

Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings
New Growth Is Beautiful

A New Path Emerges

Through all of the ups & downs over the last 11 years, I never waivered. The University was my career home – sure the path had been full of twists and turns, but it was still where my roots were set. I was making positive impacts. My coworkers were amazing. Yes, the holidays were fantastic. But, sometimes life has a way of keeping you on your toes.

Pursuing What I Love

I mentioned earlier that I was fortunate enough to complete a Masters degree while working at the University. I feel like I always knew I wanted an MA; even during my undergrad days, I was very aware that I wasn’t done there, and I initially pursued work at the University to offset some of that cost.

My MA is in Communication Studies. No, it isn’t in Finance. No, it isn’t an MBA. Despite the fact that my career path was very heavily finance related, I had no desire to study the subject at a higher level. My heart wasn’t in it. Sure, numbers were my job, but I didn’t love them. I was intrigued by how we make sense of the world around us. So, I found an intellectual home in Communication. I love the concept of organizational identification, and learning how to build up others through something as simple as words.

black and red traffic light
New Roads Ahead

Building New Roots

This week, I announced that I’m leaving the University as a professional. It’s time to turn my love of communication, problem solving, and passion for making sense of things into my career. It’s time to take the path I choose, not necessarily what others think is the way.

I’ll be joining a higher education technology research and advisory firm as a Research Director. I’ll be supporting members, and publishing research in the student success space. The job is 100% remote, and I’ll be fortunate enough to travel to industry conferences when it’s safe to do so again.

I am so excited to pursue a new path in a field I love. Perhaps, more importantly, I am incredibly thankful to pursue that path, while being able to also refocus on supporting Isaac and Sprucely Designed.

‘Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to
carry on the story.’

Bilbo Baggins, The Lord of the Rings

As Bilbo says, adventures never really end. There is always someone to carry on the story. For me, I carry my story on to a new place where I can set down and grow more roots.