When I graduated from Duke two years ago, I accepted a position with a nonprofit organization in Raleigh. I was stoked to simply land a job straight out of college, let alone have the opportunity to work for a great cause AND do what I had just spent the past four years studying. On top of everything, moving to Raleigh meant that I would be just a few hours from where Zach was stationed at the time (Camp Lejeune). Zach was still fresh off deployment and we had just reached the four-years-of-long-distance-dating mark in our relationship. Even though we only had six more months of long-distance dating before the end of Zach's enlistment + our wedding, I think we both would've lost our minds if I had ended up somewhere else and we didn't get to see each other at least once or twice a month.
We knew that we'd be living in Raleigh after our wedding, but we also knew that we didn't want Raleigh to be our forever home; we eventually wanted to move back to my hometown of Winston-Salem. I grew up within twelve miles of all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins, and within two miles of both sets of grandparents, so while I'm sure it sounds crazy to those with much different family dynamics, I couldn't imagine getting to the point in our lives of having children and not being surrounded by family. (Disclaimer: this blog post is not about getting to the point in our lives of having children, so don't go there.) :)
Before we even got married, Zach and I made a plan. We decided to stay in Raleigh for four to five years, giving Zach plenty of time to get his associate's degree in criminal justice and join a police department in the area. After Zach had worked for a couple of years in Raleigh and we thought we might be close-ish to possibly thinking about maybe starting a family, we'd look into moving to Winston.
But plans change.
The nonprofit job that I accepted straight out of college was great for a while, but it didn't take long to realize I wasn't going to be happy there for the next four to five years. (I'm no expert, but I think if you ever get to the point in a job where you consider getting pregnant to get three glorious months of maternity leave, you should start looking for a better work environment.) So, in May of 2013, I polished up my résumé and started applying to new jobs.
That was one year ago—one incredibly long year ago.
I've learned a lot in the past year while interviewing with various companies in the Winston-Salem area and continuing to work in Raleigh. I've learned more about what I want and don't want in a job/career/boss. I've learned how to stand up for myself and negotiate when I think I'm worth more than I'm being offered. I've learned to trust my instincts. Above all, I've learned more than I ever imagined about the people who truly care for me and want me to be happy, and I couldn't be more grateful for their support and encouragement as Zach and I tossed our original plan out the window to make way for something even better.
With all of that being said (drumroll please), I have accepted a new job and we are moving to Winston-Salem! I'm not sure what I'm more excited about: the fact that we'll be leaving Raleigh or the fact that, starting tomorrow, I will be working for North Carolina's most well-known magazine! Magazines have always been my ultimate dream job; I interned with the design agency that lays out Forsyth Woman and Forsyth Family while in college, and the semi-annual Spectrum magazine was undoubtedly my favorite part of my nonprofit job.
This is much bigger than either of those, however, producing a 200+ page publication every month read by ~800,000 people. (Insane!) I can't even begin to put into words how excited I am to start this new chapter in my life or how much I love all of you who kept your eyes open for jobs in the Winston-Salem area (they are few and far between, that's for sure), sent happy little messages on interview days, and helped me keep my sanity in the past year. Zach and I are thrilled to move this summer (closer to both of our families, actually!), and, I'll be honest: I'm thrilled to never drive on the Beltline during rush hour again!
Look out, 336! We're headed your way... for good ;)