Monday, April 16, 2012

All in a Hard Days Work

I've been thinking about work a lot lately. Admittedly even losing sleep over it. I had to move up my "end-date" yet another 2 weeks early. My official last day is next Wednesday. I feel bad to be leaving so early because I am leaving my boss, who I have know for the past 8 years, in somewhat of a lurch. Luckily she knows it's best for me and is being really cool about the whole thing.

I will be doing what I call "retiring"... hey, I may not quite be thirty yet...but I have a retirement with the company. So it's not quitting, really...right? hehe. I just don't like the sound of quitting. Especially not this job. Let me tell you a little something about what I do.

I work at this wonderful place....

Those of you who know what Trader Joe's is probably love it (whenever I shlub around town in my work t-shirt just about every human I encounter says, "Oooooohhhhhh! You work for Trader Joe's?! I LOVE Trader Joe's!" Those of you who don't know what it is and are in the will know soon. We are multiplying stores like bunnies. :)...It's a specialized grocery store with amazing prices, stellar products, and even more remarkable crew members.

I've been working for this kick butt company for the past 9 years. But for the past 6 or so I have had the dumb luck (impeccable work ethic + great timing) to get to do this...
I am a Trader Joe's Sign Artist....and I love my job.

Over the years I have gotten to create a wide variety of hand drawn art for our store...
Hundreds of signs for all types of products, holidays, and special projects. 

Growing up I think I always wanted to be an artist. But it was never something I thought you could make any sort of stable living it was off the table. Then I went to college and mustered up the courage (or naivete, or leap of faith) to be an Art Major. There I learned invaluable skills that help me on a daily basis in this job. Still, I never dreamed I could get paid to do art....full time....every day.....for years and years, and many more years into the future if I wanted. It has been a dream come true, and one that I try not to take for granted.

I mean, THIS is what I do! ALL DAY! ...

So, why leave? (you might ask)

You already know that Hottie and I are relocating to Kentucky next month. He works for the company as well as a manager and will be helping open a new store there. I could technically work in the same store as him since there is not another one in the area....but....

Well, there are many reasons why I am walking away from this incredible job. Here are the main ones:
1. I am burnt. (Hottie and I work opposite schedules so that our little one doesn't need daycare. This means I work at 4 am twice a week and 6 am the other days. I work on his days off and vice a versa.) Yeah, it gets kinda old. Right? Yes. Seriously.
2. I am at a point in my life when I am thrilled at the idea of being a stay-at-home-Mom. (I never thought I would say that because I am more of a worker bee than a nurturer.) BUT. Maybe having three kids and one on the way makes a difference? My kids are little, well half of them anyway. They need me, and I need them. I want to take care of our new house, children, and husband and not feel like I am doing some balancing act with a career...always tired from crazy hours and time hoarding (that's what I call trying to collect all of my free time and use it solely for what I want to use it for...usually scrapbooking. :)
3. I can. For the first time ever, Hottie and I are coming out of the phase where we rely on both of our income to support the family. That's part of the reason we are making this big move. To remove some of the SoCal expenses that are wearing us thin. 
4. Time to pursue my dreams.  I am walking away from a full time paid artist gig, but that doesn't mean I am done creating. (That made me think of a song by Journey a'la GLEE..."Don't stop! Creaaaaating!"hehe so cheesy.) I have major scrapbook goals and am determined to go after them. Now I will make more time to do so.

So. There you have it. These last 6 days at work are bitter sweet. I am so excited to open a new chapter in life and see what is in store for us. But I do love my job, love the people I work with (especially my boss...she kicks so much @$$, for real.). And TJ's is one of the best companies in the US to work for. I will miss feeling like an important part of a team, like my work is appreciated, trying out new delicious foods and wines on the clock....but I guess I will just have to find out how to make that happen for myself now. I'm the boss. (Insert evil laugh here for no good reason.)

My advice to you, should you ever stumble upon the amazing opportunity to become a Trader Joe's sign artist? Take it. Don't hesitate. You are one lucky son of a gun. It really is one of the coolest jobs ever. I will miss it...but will not miss setting my alarm for 3 am. Seriously.

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