If I show up in your social media newsfeed (lucky you!) primarily brought to you via Facebook, you may have noticed that it doesn’t appear that I have a job any longer. Between 10+ day long camping trips with my family, 12:30pm baseball games with my dad and daughter, building giant shelves to organize and clean up my craft room—you’re right—I am no longer working. Call me unemployed, although my dear friend Jenny says “temporarily retired”. I went through a really nice, respectful and awkward breakup—with my job.
I couldn’t put my finger on the exact moment I realized I was the odd man out, when I stopped having my passion bucket filled by going to work everyday, or when the light bulb went on that I no longer served the purpose that I had for 3 three years at MODE. That said—I love MODE. I love (almost) everyone there, I love the business model, and I love franchising. When I took the job as Director of Franchise Relations, I had no idea what a franchise was. I accepted the job in small business and went straight to Amazon to quickly buy some books and starting reading and learning before I showed up for my first day of work. I learned as I went, I created as I went and I supported every area that I possibly could with enthusiasm, a positive attitude and as many laughs as possible.
Reality: quitting your job is ridiculously scary. It’s even scarier when you don’t have your next move plotted and planned. My very type A and responsible husband wanted to kill me for a day or two. Lots of talking, lots of forward thinking, lots of time spent on “what if”. It is NOT the responsible, Midwestern, working woman thing to do. I knew that I could find a job, I know that I will find THE job for me. Am I insane? No. My franchise mentor Susan gave me a nice kick in the rear and said, “People leave their jobs all the time, this is nothing special or new.” My armpits still get sweaty when I think too much about this. Time to move onto the next paragraph.
I have spent every day since July 8 with my daughter and my husband. I traveled for longer periods of time for work. I missed birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, first days of school and picture days. (Jovie’s Kindergarten photo appears she rode to school with her head out the window of the car on the interstate.) I did all of this because I loved it and it was par for the course.
What have we done so far? Swam, camped, played catch, rode bike, purged our entire house, spring cleaned in July because I have missed the last 10ish springs, and LIVED. We take naps, we sleep in, we watch movies, we eat ice cream for breakfast and the only thing on our schedule are the things that we want to do.
I haven’t been without a job since I was nine years old. Roger (my dad) and I harmoniously mowed lawns together for 7 years. I made $5 an hour never receiving a raise because child labor. I didn’t weigh enough to keep the safety seat from stopping the lawn mower blades so I spent most of the day pushing my arms against the steering wheel to keep it from shutting off. I spent most of the day backing up, restarting the blades and proceeding on the sort-of straight path I had struck. I remember asking my dad once what the name of our business was, and he said we didn’t have one. I spent that afternoon on my lawn mower thinking of our new business name. We would paint it on our homemade trailer, we’d put our logo (that I would free hand draw) on our ramps, and my dad would put a magnet of the logo on each door of our dark red Chevy pickup. I don’t remember the name I came up with other than it had an R (for Roger) and an M (for Mindi). I do, however, remember very clearly how hard my dad laughed on our drive home when I shared my new name and logo vision with him. I took this as his very polite decline to my creative offering to the business. I guess I stuck with mowing semi-straight lines in our hometown football field and about 25% of the lawns in our small town. Then I worked at a department store in Detroit Lakes, a restaurant there also and also at a golf course in the lakes area.
The burning question that’s been asked about 1,000 times since July 8—what’s next for you? My sarcastic answer is working on my tan, sharpening my juggling skills, drinking margaritas, floating in a semi-cold lake, and camping. My real answer is- I don’t know. I know that I am going back to work-eventually. Sooner than later says my husband. I have great interest in the non=profit world. I want something new to broaden my skills, to challenge me, and to fill up my passion bucket. BUT- loving my job every single day is a must for me. And I hope that it is for anyone reading this. I have a little girl who watches my every move, hears my words, and that is not something that I take lightly. I need her to see me put my whole heart into whatever it is that I am doing form 8-5 while I am away from her. I owe her that as a mom and as a role model for her.
I have no idea where the working world will take me next, but as a franchise owner and now dear friend said to me, “You have a clean slate, a fresh start, and that is something to be excited and optimistic about. If I can offer one word of advice—take a break. Slow down. Shut down. And think about your life. It goes fast and will not pause for you to catch up.