Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The other day, John suggested I add some music videos to the blog to mix things up a little bit. Today, instead of pictures, I have some music for your listening pleasure while you read this epic post.

David Bowie's "Changes" is more than appropriate because I had a pretty big change yesterday. I started a new job. It's scary and exciting. While I'll still be working in accounting, the position is a bit new for me. For the past 4+ years, I've been an external auditor in public accounting. Now I'll be an accountant and in financial reporting at a private company. A company that makes products quite near and dear to me.

While public accounting was an excellent way for me to start my career, I've grown out of "like" with it. The first year was exciting, but each following year sucked more and more out of me. The pay was OK, but the hours were grueling. And I didn't feel that my clients or managers appreciated my contributions. Plus, I felt all out of balance. I wouldn't see John for about four months out of the year. And I became disinterested in running, cooking, and baking. It became a chore dragging myself out of bed some mornings.

There were days that I was so prepared to quit, but I knew that would put extreme financial pressure on everything: John, me, our relationship, the thoughts of a future family, etc. It would have been one thing if it was just me with an apartment, but John and I have been married for three years. We just bought a house 6 months ago! Quitting wouldn't have been very fiscally chic without something else lined up. Yes, we have savings, but that would have been a big sacrifice for everything else.

I had been working with recruiters, but wasn't very proactive because I didn't really know that I wanted. Don't get me wrong, I had a laundry list of what I didn't want. I'm not from Chicago, so I didn't really know all the companies that might be hiring. I didn't have a strong network to reach out to. To make things more complicated, my recent client base was completely different that my clients in St. Louis. And this industry and I just didn't click. I wanted to go back to my industry "sweet spot" from St. Louis.

So I continued to field cold calls and random emails from recruiters. I interviewed earlier in the summer, but never heard back. I didn't mind because I didn't really want that job. It felt like I was settling.

Looking back, I wrote one of my first Makeunder My Life contributor posts about being happy with "enough" around the time I was struggling to find my way. Around the time of the financial blogger conference (FINCON11), it really hit me that I wasn't achieving my full potential at my job. I was settling for someone else's measure of my worth. And I sure as hell wasn't happy. (OK, that last part was more for the last 2 years or so.)

About a month ago, a few days before FINCON11, I received another cold call from a different recruiter. The position sounded interesting and met many of my criteria. I had a phone interview. Then I was asked for an office interview. And a second round interview. Within two weeks of the initial call, I had an offer.

My most recent MML post was about my inner conflict between epic vs. enough. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it. Through FINCON11 and Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to be Rich, I started to figure out my worth. I realized it's better to earn more income than you spend instead of cutting back on costs. Ramit was the keynote speaker at the conference and totally rocked it. His blog (plus emails and videos) are rock solid. They also contributed to my epic vs. enough debate. I emailed Ramit the other day to say "thanks." One, for amazing material. Two, for the kick in the pants to know my worth. Three, to give him results.

I didn't discuss the results in my MML post because it was still fresh, but I went back and negotiated my offer. They gave me $1K more for my salary and threw in a $1K signing bonus. I wouldn't have thought about it if John didn't suggest it or if I hadn't been following Ramit. Seriously, don't forget to negotiate!!

Also around that time, I started my Etsy shop. I love to sew and find beautiful fabric. I want to share these skills and finds with you. Plus, it's a way to create some income. I've slowly started to monetize the blog which is a post all for itself. I attended Jess's October "Business in the City" meet-up and walked away with some great ideas. I was able to help others with my accounting and business knowledge. It felt amazing.

So back to the new job. It's going to be a big improvement over my last job. It's an increase in pay (about 10% if you're wondering) and the hours are much better. Which means my hourly rate has vastly improved. The commute will be shorter and the role itself will be a new challenge. And did I tell you the Company is in one of my favorite industries? Yes, I did. And yes, I gushed about that fact on my phone interview. And yes, I brought some Halloween cupcakes to work on my first day. Can't beat heartfelt enthusiasm :)

While I am excited, I'm still approaching this new position with controlled optimism. I'm still a bit burned from the job search from two years ago. When I moved to Chicago, I had to change firms and industries. I wasn't desperate for a new job, but 2009 was definitely a rough time for the economy. I knew enough that I didn't want to be working in St. Louis while John was in Chicago.

This time, my job change is more for personal reasons. So I wanted to make sure it was a good fit. Is this new job my perfect or dream job? I don't know. But I would always wonder if I didn't try. During my exit interview last week, HR brought up an excellent point. He was supportive about my leaving the firm because he knew the only person that can make me happy is myself. The only person that really has my best self-interest in mind is me.

So here I go. Off to chart a new chapter in my life. And not just for me. This new chapter is also for John and hopefully the future family God blesses us with.
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  1. I was waiting for a post about this :) Congratulations on the new job... and on making a change. I can "hear" the enthusiasm in your writing! And the results of your negotiations are inspiring too.

  2. Yay !! So happy for you. I can understand your job search burnout. I moved to my current state two years ago and have yet to find a job in my industry. I took a survival job after a year of unemployment and have been doing it for over a year now. I feel like it is killing my spirit and holding me back from getting a real job, but I cannot bring myself to quit until I have something else lined up for the sake of my relationship and my own financial health. It is hard to keep the hope up that something will come along

  3. Thanks Melissa, tab, and Kate!

    tab - Don't give up hope, you'll find something. One tip is to find someone in the industry or employer where you want to work. That way, they can move your resume to the top of the pile. Or let you know about positions that aren't posted online.

    Having a recruiter helped, and I recommend working with multiple ones. Also, having a LinkedIn profile helped the recruiters find me. I don't know if that's a good resource for your industry.

    Liz - Sorry, I want to keep my employment information private. You can email me if you want to chat further. Thanks.

  4. Yay! Congrats lady, I am so happy to see you grow and come to this next fork in the road! I am so happy to see your evolution take shape! You've been ambitious and responsible all at the same time!

    I'm honored to see this take shape for you in real life. : )

  5. This is awesome. Glad you found something you are really going to enjoy. On a side note - I might be hitting you up for some sewing advice - cause I am clueless and am eager to learn.

  6. Congrats on the new job! And this post is great - a good reminder not to settle.


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