September will mark six months of working for myself, and it's been a fun, challenging few months work-wise. Finding the balance between all the different things I have to fit into a given day has been stressful at times and very rewarding at others. I currently primarily write for one regional, weekly ag newspaper and two nationwide ag magazines, and also maintain my photography business. I do help as much as possible on the ranch, and have also added landlord to my list of jobs since renting out my house.
One question that still lingers, and I am still asked with surprising frequency, is why I left my job as Assistant Editor of the Roundup. That question then leads to others surrounding my experience at the paper, and a lot of people have heard some humorous, but incorrect answers. Well, lets set the record straight, and get this off my chest.
First, I quit. I wasn't fired.
Second, I quit because of a co-workers attitude, and the impact her attitude had on my ability to do my job.
Third, her attitude's impact on my position lead to the job being very different than it was outlined to me during the interview process in a some key areas, and I couldn't make it work in the way she demanded, either financially or emotionally.
The story I've heard over and over through the grapevine is that I just couldn't take being away from the ranch any more, and longed to return to the ranch and that lifestyle. People ask people I know if I'm doing okay in concerned tones, as if I was near the brink of something awful as a result of being off the ranch. It's an entertaining story that makes me sound like an idiot, but it's not the truth.
Did I miss the ranch, yes very much so - what ranch-raised kid doesn't? As a 25-year-old with my own house and job I thought was perfect for me, was I longing to move back in with my parents and leave that job and house I had bought and loved - heck no!
Furthermore, as the job was described when I was hired, I was to have adequate time to help out on the ranch so long as it didn't interfere with my ability to complete my Roundup job in a quality and timely manner. That was the most important part of "being on the ranch" (aka, helping out during busy times of the year as my schedule allowed) to me while I had a full time career. I was satisfied with the arrangment, and not so "homesick" I left a job that was supposed to allow me (it depended on if you asked her or the owner) to go home and help, and which was located a mere 2.5 hours from the ranch.
Prior to leaving I did call several meetings in an attempt to figure out what exactly her problem with me/my work was, and in an attempt to reach a mutually beneficial solution. The result was her telling me my work was great and always on time, and asking me to be more compassionate toward her. This was followed by her choosing to only speak to me when it was absolutely necessary from the time I gave my notice until I left, which was longer than the standard two-weeks because I opted to stick around and help write and put out a special edition (aka, I stayed to help her).
I should also note that attitudes like that just piss me off, and are one of my big pet peeves. I was not impressed with her refusal to act like an adult and try to work, and talk, in an effort to improve the situation for both of us. Today I get a chuckle out of her silent treatment, and try to take what I learned from it and leave the rest.
I loved a lot of things about the job, and really didn't want to leave. It took God sending some pretty strong signals, primarily through her I suppose, for me to realize I could no longer handle working that job with her. Needless to say, she and I didn't leave on good terms. But, in answer to another question - I really like the people I worked with, including her on a personal level if not a professional one. It was a good office to be a part of, and I really liked my co-workers.
Today I am considerably happier and more relaxed, and still able to do the aspects of the job I enjoyed most through freelance writing. I learned a lot during my time at the Roundup, and have a lot of fine memories, but am also very glad I'm no longer there. I am not a destitute, unemployed wreck on the verge of collapse, but rather someone who mindfully chose self-employment over a less than desirable job going broke and crazy working for someone else, and who has made the choice not to work for someone else since - and I'm loving it!