Why I’m Changing Careers – Part 2

“you TEASE!! lol”

“Um you need to do the next post like yesterday lol”

I love leaving ya’ll hangin’! Too funny! As I promised, the next part of the story is below.  But quickly, thank you all for the well wishes regarding our move to New Jersey! We are super happy about the new place. Yes, yes, it’s just an apartment. One day, we’ll get to the house level. But for now, ummm, our apartment is SWEET!!!! Dare I say that I’m in love…with an apartment. lol! More to come about our move in another post.

Ok, story time? Yes, please!

— — —

In my last post, you read that I’m changing careers. I’m leaving higher ed because there are bigger things that I have always wanted to do and now is the time to do them!

For those that don’t know me, I used to design websites. I haven’t done so in a LONG time. I believe, we were all still using flip phones when I was designing. 🙂  Since I began designing my sorority’s site back in ’99, I was immediately drawn to web design and starting thinking about starting a business. For me, web design is an awesome creative outlet. I began learning how to do basic HTML when I was working at UMich’s medical school as a student computer lab…. assistant? I can’t recall my title. I used to troubleshoot computers in the lab, keep the printer full of paper…things of that nature. I’ll be honest though, the job didn’t keep me too busy. I had plenty of down time to do my school work. 🙂

One day, it was pretty slow in the office and my boss (who maintained several websites at the medical school) taught me how to make a website. I was hooked!! I took it further and started teaching myself, mostly by just playing around. I eventually bought a few books and purchased some design applications for my computer. I highly enjoyed it. It was probably the most enjoyable thing I did outside of writing. And low-key, I’m a techie at heart. I absolutely love everything about computers. But I haven’t immersed myself in them like I would’ve liked to over the years. Even when I was heavy into web design, I was doing too many other things at the time to focus on it.

Later, once I started working at UMich professionally, I started an online web development certification program. I got through it but it was too basic for me. It didn’t really help me, but I did feel slightly better getting some “formal education”. I had always been worried that I couldn’t start a business without proper education. (I know different now.)

Once I came to the conclusion that I wanted to start my own business, a lot of anxiety set in. You all know the back and forth your mind can play on you when you have a big idea. You start to think about it, get excited and then doubt it all! I can’t even explain the fear I had when I thought about working for myself. Sure, it would be awesome to set my own schedule and be my own boss. But, what about everything else? Would I be able to draw enough clients to keep it going? Would I have the skills needed to give my clients what they wanted? Would I make enough money to support myself? What about health insurance, surely I’ll have to make a TON of money to afford that, right?

The questions would go on and on. They still do. But, I got to a point where all the questions just faded away. The only question that comes to mind now is, “Why not you, Tracey?”

Prepare for rant in 3…2…1

I’m not getting any younger, folks. None of us are. I’m at the point (beyond it, really) where I’m tired of being afraid. I’m tired of doubting myself. I’m tired of other people doubting me. Yes, there are people that may not tell me to my face, but I hear it in their voice. I see it in their eyes. I get it. It takes a lot of guts to step out on faith, out of your comfort zone and follow your heart. Think about when you hear of people changing career paths. Think about how you felt when you read my first post. Many times, people think, “wow, I could never do that”. But you CAN! What’s the point of having dreams/goals if we never try to accomplish them? 

I’m tired of hearing these stories of people starting these amazing companies and listening to people say how they could never do that. We look at people like Oprah, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and think, wow, only certain kinds of people can do what they did. NO. Stop saying that! We all can do it if we put in the effort and stop being afraid! And no, I don’t need to be a billionaire. We all know money doesn’t equal happiness, but it helps in so many ways. One thing money can do is help people and that’s ultimately what I want to do in life. I read something that said, many people want to help others (monetarily) more often, but don’t because they are barely able to help themselves. That’s very true for me and probably for many of you. There are many days when I give money to someone on the street or on the train. I always try to give a dollar. A dollar doesn’t help me, but it could help someone else. I wish I could do more. What would you do if you could give more (time, money, etc)? 

We all should be so lucky to be on this Earth. Whether you believe in God, another higher power, the Universe or nothing at all, we are here for a reason. What’s the point of being on this Earth if we sit back and watch life pass us by? What good is it to have dreams when we don’t even attempt to do anything about them? What purpose do you want to serve on this Earth? 

/End rant.

Back to the story…

Months before I decided to get my Master’s degree, I had begun putting together the plans for my web design business. But I got scared. And distracted again. I thought, well, if I don’t go back to school now, I won’t ever go back. So, I put the business on hold and went for the Master’s. Honestly, grad school was a huge step for me because it meant living in another state for the first time. I will never regret taking that step because let me tell you, it took me a long time to push myself in that direction (again, due to fear). And while I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I stayed in MI, I’m very glad I went to DC. I met some great people and had a wonderful experience. Everything happens for a reason and I’m grateful that DC happened to me. It has become one of my favorite cities and I would love to live there again!

Well, while the school experience was wonderful, the finding work experience hasn’t been great. During this time of trying to find work in higher ed, the idea of starting my own business again has been front and center on my mind. And let me clarify that I’m not choosing to change paths because I can’t find work. Oh no, this is not one of those situations where I’m giving up. However, if anyone wants to think that spending nearly four years (total unemployment) is me giving up on higher ed, well, please go right ahead and believe that. What’s that saying, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Yeah, that’s how I feel. On a spiritual level, as a Christian, I fully believe God has been telling me no for a LONG time with this higher ed thing. Sometimes, He says no and we refuse to listen. It happens. So now, I’m finally listening and going after what I feel is right. And if it’s not, well, it’ll be another learning experience, right?

And you know what’s funny? I told myself I would stay in higher ed for about 10 years and move on. Guess what? It’s been 12 years. The last few years have been shaky, but I started working professionally in higher ed in 2002. I think God’s telling me my time’s up! 🙂

So that’s it folks! I’m going to start focusing on web business again. This time around, I plan to go much further than I did the last time. One of the things I lacked back then was back-end web development, or the programming side of things. This is going to take a lot of effort and time to learn, but I’m ready for the challenge. I am starting to look for low cost ways to learn (either online or in-person). If any of you are techies and have some info, let me know!  I need to re-learn all of the web design apps that I learned before, plus some. I only used a few applications back then, but there were others I never got around to learning.

Long story short (too late), I have a LOT to do! And of course, this isn’t going to happen overnight. I pray my brain is ready to absorb it all. I pray my husband bares with me as I embark on this new adventure. I pray my friends are supportive. I pray that I’ll learn fast and can get this business going soon because my husband and I have so many goals we’d like to fulfill. coughcoughhavingababycoughcough 🙂 Finally, I do hope I find some sort of work (anything) that can bring in some income to help us out while I train for this new career. I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid. I will still look for jobs in higher ed as a means to support the web business. If I find something, I’ll apply. Why not? Again, it would help us (gotta pay for this fancy new apt!) and help further my career goals. But, I’m open to other jobs too.

I have to end now because moving to a new place means the apartment looks like a bomb hit it. And somewhere along the line, I’ve inherited my mother’s intolerance of clutter and I MUST clean it ALL!!

More updates on this topic in the near future, friends. Thanks for reading!



2 thoughts on “Why I’m Changing Careers – Part 2

  1. Really excited for you! Sounds like you are passionate about this next step. Regardling free/cheap learning, go here (https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-online-web-development-courses) to see a nice listing of web courses, including those at Cornell/MIT. The list is broken up into Free and Paid. I’d note that places like Udemy, which aren’t always free, run promotions where you may be able to get them at a great discount. So scour the deal sites (I know Stephen knows them all!) to see if some of this cheap-but-good courses can’t be gotten for a little cheaper.

    Good luck!

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