2019 Planning

“Life is what Happens When You’re Busy Making Other Plans.”

-John Lennon

I had a plan, I swear. There were written blogging goals, and a schedule full of blog post ideas. 2019 was going to be the year I never missed a week posting and I was going to start adding videos to my content. I was going to work on outreach to increase readership. Then I got a call just before New Year’s Eve that changed everything. Don’t worry- this story has a happy ending!

Sweatshirt with my blog logo
I commissioned a sweatshirt to work on outreach. It’s a conversation starter.

For the past several years this blog has been a balm for a shattered soul. My day job, while I loved the work, was a living nightmare. To maintain a modicum of professionalism, I won’t go into detail, but past and future terrible coworkers beware-I’m taking notes and will kill you off as characters in the novel I will write someday. The environment was so toxic. I spent my evenings escaping into books and blogging between bouts of crying. I wrestled with the fact that leaving my position, because it was the only place in town I could practice my profession, meant either leaving home or changing careers. And doing either meant boosting my resume in any way I could. I didn’t have the new tech skills current Archives positions were looking for, and as I’d been cultivating only Archival skills from the moment I decided it would be my career, my resume was useless for anything else.

Archivist in the stacks
I’m going to miss doing archival work in these collections!

The desperate desire to quit my job every day, yet still have income and health insurance, consumed my every waking moment and fueled my productivity. A professor I had in grad school once said that a maintained blog could be used on a resume to show long-term project commitment. So being the easiest thing to start right away, I blogged like it could change my life. However, when I do something I want it to be the best it can be, and if this was going to be on my resume it had to be good. So I started consuming online Travel Blog classes, writing classes, then photography classes. This not only backed up my blog as resume-worthy, but I found I could add several more skills to my resume. Writing, editing, WordPress, Blogger, social media marketing, search engine optimization, photography, photo editing, and now I’m working on learning how to vlog.

TravelCon18 Speakers
These bloggers and vloggers I met at TravelCon are super inspiring!

I knew none of my new skills would lead to a new position or career any time soon so I found other ways to boost my resume as well. I started a free online programming tutorial, earning the first of six certificates it offered. I volunteered weekly at a bookstore, adding customer service and cash handling to the resume. And I completed a certificate in Digital Archiving.

Free Code Camp Responsive Web Design Certificate
Free Code Camp Responsive Web Design Certificate

Every so often I applied for archival positions in places I thought I wouldn’t mind living. Only rejections or silence returned, which I was silently grateful for because I wasn’t quite ready to pack up my life and leave friends and family behind just yet. Finally, with little hope that I even met the qualifications, I applied for a local programming position. Surprisingly I was granted an interview, but was sure I’d bombed it afterwards. It went something like this:

“Have you ever used X program?”
“Are you familiar with this program?”
“How about…:”
“Again, no, sorry… but I can learn?”

As the new year looked to start very similarly to the last one, I sat down in December and made a blog plan for the new year. I would be ready to hit the ground running.

With about three hours left of the work day on New Years Eve, I got the call from the programming position. They wanted me! Apparently my resume had shown I was willing and had the potential to learn! And it helped that I’d done some coding and the WordPress system was similar enough to the content management system they used that I’d catch on quickly. I accepted without hesitation. It was over the next three hours it hit me what I’d done. I’d thrown my two degrees to the wayside and taken a step down in pay. It seemed a small price to pay to remove myself from the environment I could no longer stand.

New Office Plants
My new work environment has a lot of plants!

With the unexpected and much-needed career change in January, the 2019 Plan I had created for myself last December slowly broke down like a train car uncoupling from the engine. I started off strong in January with the blog, but when I started my new job mid-month everything changed. I no longer returned home each evening with anger-fueling productivity. I no longer felt my resume depended on each free evening hour. And I no longer felt guilty spending my free time consuming YouTube videos, hanging out with friends, or exercising and then crashing early. And the stress I felt each week if I missed a blog post melted away. I decided to give myself a congratulatory week off from my strict self-imposed blog plan…but it felt so good that it began to stretch into the following weeks…

Exercise Friends
“Go for a bike ride? Sure! Blog post writing can wait…” Sammy and I have become exercise accountability buddies.

All this is to say, in the last few months, you may have noticed posts here have become infrequent and sporadic. I have been slowly readjusting my spare-time priorities in accordance with my new, more positive, reality and slacking on the blog helped me discover something. Blogging, escaping into books, and travel planning are no longer things I feel the need to do in order to maintain daily sanity. Instead, I want to do them! One can only lie on the couch or wander the house for so long needing to do nothing (besides chores and general life-things) before once again feeling as though having some hobbies might be a good idea. Idle hands are the devil’s playthings, and all that…

So with renewed excitement, I can’t wait to share with you the travels I have planned and the books I’ll be reading in what’s left of this year! I’ll be sharing my TBR book lists for this year soon for those that want to read along with me!

And finally, I’d like to thank those who have been following me for a while. All your comments and interactions have helped encourage me to maintain this blog when everything else seemed bleak. And for those that have joined me since January, I’m delighted you’re here!

Have you made a sudden career change? Are you looking for a career change? Have books been your escape from a frustrating situation? Leave a comment below, and tell me your story!

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  1. I actually worked at a really toxic library job as well. Every day, I started to wake up and wonder if I’d ever get out of it. I loved the teens that I worked with as well as my patrons and community. Surprisingly, I was really good at my job but not good at playing the manager from hell games. The library system was so political and full of honest-to-gosh terrible, discriminatory, and unprofessional people. My last few months there, I pretty much went home and cried every night. I needed health insurance and everything else too–which kept me hanging in for longer than I should have stayed.

    Luckily, all of that changed, and I was able to just quit. And quit I did. And so did almost EVERY single person I worked with there since minus the bad people and a few trapped friends. In fact, my system had 10-14 job openings in one month. I think you get the idea lol. But I completely understand where you are coming from.

    Congrats on the change! Sometimes it is SO amazing to get out at any cost.

    Love your sweatshirt!

    I’m glad that you started following me, and I have joined your mailing list. I think I only know maybe two other bloggers in the bookish travel niche–and I think we need to stick together lol! I’m stoked!

    1. Oh gosh! Then you know exactly what I’m talking about!! We had the same problem, all the good people left and the problems remained.
      I’m so glad someone told me to look you up! Your blog is really inspiring. I thought it was my niche keeping back, but you proved me wrong! Now I’m more inspired to throw more effort into this blog!

  2. Have you made a sudden career change?

    Yes, I did make sudden career change. But not only I did but in our times most everybody is doing it. Why? There are several reasons. In the middle ages careers were limited. If somebody learned how to make shoes he could not make any change in his career. Slowly this changed. People started to be forced to change their career. Technology started to change making companies and jobs obsolete. Those people were forced to change their career. At the beginning not many people were affected but in this century this accelerated incredibly. Example: Kodak was created in 1988. 131 years later it was forced to file bankruptcy because of the digital technology. Employees had to change careers.
    Another reason is that in this century new jobs were created which were new and interesting to suck up people from uninteresting or unpleasant jobs or just wanted to participate in something new. Example: Facebook was incorporated in 2004 and now it has about 36,000 employees. Twitter was incorporated in 2006 and now has about 4,000 employees.
    I changed career from working in the field of electron tubes which was the basis of everything in the field of electronics, e.g. radio, TV even hearing aids. Traces of this industry still exist, but only very few people know about it. One has to have luck. With luck I was able to jump ship in good time and changed career to be one of the three people to start the global solar energy industry in which today over 2 million people work worldwide. In the USA presently more people work in solar energy, than in the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries combined. All those people made sudden career changes from wherever they worked before.
    Good luck in your new job!

  3. Congrats on your career change! It’s fantastic that you’ll be able to blog as you like, whenever you like, rather than owing to an obligation.

    Fellow bookworm-turned-techie (product manager) who stumbled on your blog by way of the Haverford College Alumni Facebook group. I’m really enjoying your blog! The literary travel guides are great – I’m always trying to read books set in a land I’m about to travel to and selecting books that evoke the feeling of another place I’d like to be. Also have about 20 tabs open of your other posts.

    Congratulations again, and I hope you find those Magill photos!

  4. I’m so glad you posted in the Haverford alumni FB group! I love this post, and I love your story. (Also, I love books, and literary destination travel.)

    Thanks for sharing your story – it’s inspiring for anyone stuck in a job rut. I’m glad blogging can now be a pleasure for you, and not merely a chore or an escape.

    1. Aw thank you! To be honest, I didn’t expect that much response from the Facebook group! Haverford alums really are the best sort of people.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. I was super nervous about publishing it… I hope it inspires anyone who needs it.

  5. I can also relate. Loved the people I worked with at my job as an adult education coordinator in a local library, but the management and some of the coworkers were difficult to work with. Like many of you, all the good ones in my department resigned. We stay in touch, but no longer as co-workers. Now we are just good friends who have lived through the trenches.

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