Earlier this week, my darling husband — the love of my life — came home, walked silently into the kitchen, gave me a big bear hug and then said four words that I’ve never heard him utter in 10 years:
I love my job.
They were the words that I’d been waiting to hear since a fateful day in late 2009, when we decided that he would take a giant leap, with no safety net, and quit his job — to do what? Figure out what it was that he loved.
To understand how we got to that day in 2009, I have to take you back to 2003. Lucas had completed a grueling 5-year architecture program at Syracuse University…a track so difficult that only about a quarter of the people who started classes with him in 2008 actually received a degree. Some dropped out…some washed out…and only a few were left standing.
He’d averaged four hours of sleep a night, subsisting on bad coffee, NoDoz and (I kid you not) Miracle Whip sandwiches.
When he graduated, he took a job at an architecture firm, where he stayed for a couple of years. When we moved to Orlando, he took another job, then another…moving up the ranks and generally being considered a rising star in the architecture field. The long days continued, but the projects got less interesting. He decided to take on another major challenge — studying for the vicious architecture exams, which almost nobody passes on the first try.
Guess what? He passed. He passed with flying colors, and not only got his license (making him a registered architect,) but he went above and beyond to become LEED certified. Those two things skyrocketed him ahead of people decades older in his field, and pretty much secured him a stable career in the field.
But with every step up, I saw him going down. He hated talking about work, dreaded Monday mornings, lost interest in his projects and generally felt stuck, facing a certain future of unhappiness.
In direct opposition, he had to live with me — someone who loved her job. Who worked weekends because she couldn’t stop thinking about the to-do list. Who crowed to anyone who would listen how great it was to have ownership over your career. I’d had a similar slide, years before, but decided to take a leap of my own — moving to a small company, surrounded by people I respected and trusted. That leap paid off.
It was time for him to take his.
So, in 2009, with no backup job and no real sense of what he wanted to do…Lucas resigned from his firm and set off on a whirlwind adventure. He started a blog, all about his passion for craft beer and homebrewing (http://nighthops.com), became a house husband (cleaning, running errands, taking care of the furballs, cooking) and loved every minute. So did I. He would call me at work and tell me how cute the dogs were being. Or do meal planning and dig up vegetarian dishes that he thought I’d like. He would text me sweet stuff about how happy he felt. Ask me questions about blogging, and set up the video camera on a tripod so he could videotape his brewing process.
He was back up.
And now, those risks have all paid off…he had the courage and the conviction to go after a few “dream” jobs, including writing about beer and architecture for Orlando’s #1 culture blog (http://TheDailyCity.com) and working at Redlight Red Light, one of the country’s most well-known and well-respected craft beer bars. He’s still writing his blog every day, and he’s even set up his own architecture firm — working for himself and taking freelance/contract projects.
And now, he comes home — after 9-hour shifts, standing on his feet in a crowded bar — and tells me:
I love my job.
I’m so glad he took the leap.
(This decision did not come lightly, and did come at great financial compromise and risk. We were extremely fortunate to have the ability to do it, and I don’t want to bum out anyone who is not in a position to go about it the way Lucas did. How did we make it work? In a future post, I’ll detail my survival guide for living on one income…this time, from my perspective as the one in charge of bringing home the bacon tempeh.)