I wrote not long ago about so many of the jobs I’ve held over the years, since I was a kid actually. In strange ways, I’ve loved, appreciated and have grown in some way, from each of those roles.
Let’s just say, the learning curve continues ..
While I am incredibly excited to be building my own business right now as a communications/media consultant and photographer, and have already gained a couple of incredible partners and clients who are encouraging me every step of the way, I couldn’t be happier with another role right now, and that is working a few hours each week at a local Greenhouse.
I love it for so many reasons but among them, it has re-grounded me in what I want most out of my life and career:
1.) Balance. While former employers of mine have been unbelievably generous, allowing for family to always come first in theory and practice, I have never seen the flexibility this wonderful homegrown business affords its staff. We all find it in different ways and have different needs when it comes to family/career at different stages of our lives. But it is a beautiful thing when you don’t feel the stress of the world or company or home crashing down on you when you can’t seem to make the commitments of each work as well as you’d ever like. Jobs like these may come at the expense of a big corporate salary but there’s something to be said for what is gained having peace of mind.
2.) Laughter. I don’t know that I felt like I could have much fun in my old career. Sure, there were moments of hilarity. And you were always to look like you were having fun when it was appropriate. But for the most part, news isn’t ‘fun’. It’s serious. And there’s a lot of horrific crap (and some good, but that usually doesn’t make as good a headline) that’s happening all over the world to sort through. So you don’t talk. You don’t laugh. People wonder what you’re up to and why you’re not ‘working’ if you look up too much from your monitor, talk with coworkers or find time for laughter. You just grind through the day and come back again tomorrow for more. Because the news doesn’t stop.
I have been reminded at the Greenhouse, most people don’t watch the news like news people watch the news. When the crap comes on, they often change the channel or turn the news off. Or don’t watch it at all. Because while they care about others struggles, and these small town, big hearted folks are the first to pitch in when a call goes out for help, they also know there are certain things they can’t change. So they better enjoy the God given day they’ve been given. And that includes a lot of laughter. Laughter is rampant at the Greenhouse.
I believe thanks to this crew, my furrowed eyebrow will become less and less noticeable with time and my smile lines will deepen immensely.
3.) Conversation and camaraderie. Along the same lines as above, talking to the people you work with can also be time well spent. Keeping your head buried in a computer all day is overrated. Having the chance to talk with your colleagues about life, not just work, and not have it be seen as wasting time on the job is a gift. We talk a lot over the plants. And I have met more people and learned more about my new home in one month than I thought I might in the coming years, working at the Greenhouse. Find time to talk. Be genuine. You just might realize you like that person 3 desks away that you think is lazy or that you might hate because you know nothing, really, about them.
4.) Group lunch breaks. Other people do this, I think. Quite often. The few years I was out of news earlier in my career, I worked at a job where colleagues would often go together for a bite over the lunch hour. It happens pretty routinely I think. News however, doesn’t seem to have that luxury. I had forgotten how fun it is. But, the Greenhouse crew everyday, (at least until the Greenhouse opens, I presume) sits around the table together. Eats. Talks. It is unbelievably refreshing and I can’t believe how much better I feel I know a crew I’ve worked with sparingly for a month, than the crew I just spent 5 years working with. That to me is a tragedy. Because I adored all of those colleagues as well. We just really never had a chance or found the opportunity to talk.
5.) Movement. I used to make time, no matter how much or how little each day, to get some sort of exercise. I considered it part of my job. Looking healthy in many ways is just part of the job when you’re on the air. Of more consequence, I knew if I didn’t get any significant movement in each day, I’d drive my colleagues absolutely nuts at work because I hate to sit for too long. I get owly. And sitting was my job for the most part the better part of the past 15 years.
Our bodies were not meant to sit all day. Move. Get up. Get outside, even if its just stepping out the back door for 2 minutes to get some fresh air. Walk to your colleagues office 7 feet away to ask them a question versus sending the email. I am reminded, working at the Greenhouse, of how tired our bodies get at the end of the day working in a job that requires constant, heck, any amount of movement. It is a good thing. I say this as I’ve been sitting on my butt all day today, working on the computer. But I am in my running clothes and going as soon as I hit send on this. Really.
6.) To learn and grow and blast through what others see as limits or setbacks. One of the things I love most about being a journalist (and I hate to use past tense here because I still consider myself one, just in a different capacity) is that every day can be very different, because there is always something new to learn and a new way it can be presented. I’m still learning and doing new things. It may not look like some thought it would but .. who cares. I’m an avid gardener and the knowledge I’ve gained in 3 weeks at the greenhouse will make me even more dangerous in the yard. (Heads up to the Cowboy) I’m observing two wonderful, caring people who years ago started a business with very little and built something incredible that supports their family, provides jobs in the area and seems to give them unending happiness. Its awesome. That to me, is inspiring as someone new to the area, as someone wondering what is possible as I look to also build my own business.
7.) Dogs underfoot. My favorite little store while back in Madison had the most beautiful golden retriever that would greet you when you would walk in the door. I did my best to support this little boutique and the owners when I could (which wasn’t much because I just couldn’t afford it all that often) simply because they were dog people. Well, they also served wine to their customers. But for the most part, it was the dog. Ruby had our hearts. If the store was open, Ruby was there. I want this. We have two sweet dogs but they’re nowhere near as well behaved as Ruby. Or the two at the Greenhouse. Scamper and Joliet (sp?) are the best. But I love them nearby all the same.
Just know, if you ever come visit our home office, it doesn’t pay to wear good pants. I’ve got one jumper. She will always be happy to see you. It will be visible.
8.) To work when possible, from home. Sweatpants are awesome on occasion. Not having to wash/style my hair everyday allows me that time to do other things. The laundry gets done while I meet new deadlines. Good strong coffee is a few steps away, not a couple miles at $2.00/cup. The dogs are underfoot. The horses are out the front window, I get to see the husband I adore throughout the day, pick up my daughter from school on our timeframe, not someone else’s and be here when the Cowboy’s kids are with us as well. All of these things remind me of how blessed I am. In summary ..
9.) As much time as possible with family. Which has always been important to me. Just a bit more elusive in the past, it always seemed. I’m finding it is much easier to protect that time, living on a dirt road. Speaking of, the Cowboy just came home from a shoeing appointment.
We’re heading out on that run.
Love the balance you seem to be finding, best wishes.
Thanks, think I’m just figuring out what so many others do with time and experience. It is a wonderful place to feel like you can exist .. where there is balance. Best to you as well and always enjoy your posts!
Nice articles Carleen….I enjoy reading all about you and your wonderful family. Have you seen your Dad lately? Wish they didn’t live so far away.
Donna, how are you and the fam? Things are good here and about to get better with a warm up on the way. Dad is great, have seen him a few times recently and blessed to have that time with him. Will tell him to give you a buzz! Wish they didn’t live so far away too, but that is one of the blessings of retirement, isn’t it? You all have more time now than ever to go visit! Hugs to you and G!!!