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July 11, 2011 - 7 comments

Moving from Self-Employment to a Job?

Not long ago I made the announcement that I’ll be teaching at Syracuse University and that we will be relocating from Portland, Oregon.

Die hard freedom-from-cubicle-culture peeps might think I'm nuts. Still others might think, "You're so lucky to get a job in this economy."

The decision wasn't easy.

I’ve been a freelancer/solopreneur/business owner off and on for many years for various reasons.

The last 6 years especially have been a wild ride; a period where I've experienced the most growth. Uncertainty while scary is also a great motivator. I’ve had opportunities I never would have if I worked for the man.

So when I was presented with an offer, I was scared to take it and scared not to take it.

Wouldn't it be so much easier to just stay here?

We moved (3 times) last summer! The weather is just starting to be perfect. The food here is so good... We have such a great community of friends, acquaintances, neighbors... Even though we are so busy we haven’t even seen Crater Lake (hello!) we love living in Oregon. We love living in Portland.

Heck. I’m successful! OK, I'm not making millions but it takes guts to run a business. I've been challenged in thousands of ways. Running a business isn't easy peasy but man, I’m doing it!

It would be so much easier to just stay here.


“The Future is Sometimes More Important than the Present”
— My dad

I knew this and hearing it from my dad (one of the wisest people on this planet) brought clarity.

From a young age, my parents made sure we talked and learned about money. There was no way their daughter would be clueless about balancing a checkbook or ignorant about investments.

So reading financial / business blogs, websites, magazines and newspaper sections is part of my daily routine.

I’m also turning 40 later this year (omg). The years of looking ahead and looking back are nearly equal.

My options and decisions as a woman are different from men.

More Women Live in Poverty than Men:

Among single women 65 and older, 28.2% are considered poor or near poor, compared with 22.7% for non-married men and 8.1% for married people in the same age group.

Heath Care Reality:

Some of the biggest health-care costs are incurred in the year prior to death, which reduces financial resources left to surviving family members. Those survivors are most likely to be women, since wives tend to outlive their husbands.

(For more statistics here: Get Rich Slowly, U.S Department of Labor, Fidelity Investments)

Faced with that possible reality, it was time to truly take stock of our financial future.

Of Course It’s About More than Money Honey

If I compare our present to many others, we look golden. I’m not cold-hearted nor ignorant of what is happening in the world around me (domestic and abroad). It breaks my heart.

There are many things to be thankful for in our “present” and there are many people with so much less and so much more hardship.

To say that I decided to go for this (amazing - I’m still kinda giddy about it) opportunity for money is too simple.

I’ve had job offers and requests to apply for jobs where earnings were more. Academe isn't exactly known for high wages. Plus, just because you are self-employed doesn't mean you can't save for the future through a SEP-IRA or Self-Employed 401K.

Security? No guarantee.

Being a professor is totally different from anything else I’ve done. Plus, it just feels right.

Different? Unknown? Scary? Sure.

This change is a challenge. This isn't a sure thing. Transition? Relocation? Can we say stress?! But really all the “not easies” were periods of growth and have always lead to the next great thing in my life.

Thanks Matthew Ginn for leading me to this strip!

Another Chapter in Our Book

No doubt self-employment has a lot of perks and challenges; however, the same holds true for being employed full-time. Unlike some, I don’t believe that one is better than the other.

What I find great about life is that each chapter, each experience builds to create the next. Each choice has lead me (us) to here.

For me, as time passes, the layers become deeper and more complex. The areas of grey seem to be greater and what’s important surfaces faster (or as a friend long ago once said, “the older you get, the faster you smell shit coming ’round the corner.”)

Letting go of the familiar; all that is comfortable is a struggle. It is never easy.

Life is full of compromise and working around systems.

The best part? I don’t have to give up all that I’ve built in the last 6 years and I get to work with some of my favorite peeps on the planet.

I'm hoping to make a difference in a different way.

The decision to relocate; the decision to become a professor; the decision for one of us to bring home a salary is a choice my husband and I made together to look after both of our professional, financial, personal growth and health.

I’m looking forward to that present.

Published by: dpdavis in Life


July 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Nicely said. And for a quick look into the future:

July 11, 2011 at 6:00 pm

@Matthew ~ LOL. That is priceless! Thank you for that chuckle!

July 11, 2011 at 11:45 pm

You are not only a very visual person, you so have a way with words. I think you have so much to offer your students from your very varied background & in turn, you will learn & grow from them. Again, congrats & I'm so excited to have you east coast!

July 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

debbie unni! congrats again! and good luck in syracuse!

July 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm

@Leslie : Wow. I'm not always so great with words 😉 Thank you for the compliments… It takes me time to gatther my thoughts as well as put them out there. We'll have some fun in NYC, eh?

@grace. (Smile). Thank you cousin! I'm looking forward to seeing more of you 🙂

July 30, 2011 at 5:07 am

Congrats. I'm jealous of all of your future students and if I were looking into grad programs now and knew you would be a professor, I'd be sold on the program. All the best!

July 30, 2011 at 7:01 pm

@Sarah ~ Thank you for such a great compliment! I wish you the best, too!

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