Follow the journey
Some of you may have been wondering where the hell I have been while others may not even have noticed I was gone. To the former, I apologize but am happy to let you know I am back in action! To the latter, I hope to change your perspective going forward.
It's hard to believe that it has been over 5 months since my last post on the The Craft Beer Social blog... As many working adults know, sometimes life gets in the way of your hobbies. I even thought about quitting the blog at one point! But I had a lot of time to think about my future over the last five months and this blog was always a big part of that future. So, I'm back, buckling down, and it's full steam ahead!
The last five months have been jam-packed with ups/downs and sad endings/new beginnings. But in the end I've got a new perspective and motivation to pursue the dreams that I've been putting on my To-Do List for the last few years. Let me fill you in on my journey for the past five months.
I apologize now for the long post! A lot happened in five months!
My full-time job is as the Sales & Applications Engineer for a manufacturing company in the Clearwater/St. Pete area. Essentially, I'm pre-sales and work with everyone from individual customers to full-blown engineering firms on projects that may potentially use our products. I vet their applications and make sure it's a good fit for our products and then narrow it down to a single product and build out a custom configuration. It's not a terribly difficult job and there are typically two of us in this position.
Well, back in August my equal quit the company to go back to graduate school so I was left to pick up the slack. It wasn't until September when we finally posted the opening and started looking at resumes. We brought a few people in for interviews but no one really clicked and so we passed on everyone we interviewed. My boss gave me a lot of say in this process as I would be the one to train and work closely with them. Needless to say, I was being very picky because I wanted someone who I didn't feel was going to leave in 6-8 months.
After that round of applicants the job opening never got posted again. Since September I have been asking to get it posted again and nothing would ever come of it. So, I've been busting my ass at work doing the work of two people and also being the liaison for our international sales representatives. I HAVE BEEN SWAMPED! Working this hard day in and day out in front of a computer made me very unmotivated to come home and sit in front of a computer for a few more hours and work on the blog...
Later in the year I had actually gotten head-hunted by a recruiter for a similar position and was eventually offered the job. My boss and the executives, however, recognized the hard work I had been doing and made me a counter offer to stay that I just couldn't refuse.
Finally, just last week, I ran into the President of our family of companies at the copy machine and he asked me if we had filled the empty position yet. I told him we didn't even have the opening posted and he was completely surprised. He walked right to HR himself and get them right on posting the opening!
It's been a long five months at work doing the job of two people but I'm confident now that we will get someone to fill this position soon to take some work off my plate. So, I'm feeling much more motivated to get back on the blog game and get a head start on content before work starts to get a little less busy!
While work has been extremely stressful the last five months nothing compared to the upheaval in my personal life. Up until four months ago I had been experiencing the last four years of life in Florida with my best friend. We met not long after she moved to the Sunshine State from the mid-west and we had been inseparable ever since. I followed her to Tampa from Bonita Springs for her dream job and I managed to land the job mentioned above.
As we both settled into our new careers, talks about our future began to pop up. It was becoming apparent that we were not on the same page and that we even held differing long-term values. It ended up being our differing views on religion and the role it should play in our future that was insurmountable. After a couple months of hard conversations we decided it was best to go our separate ways. Were there other underlying factors that lead to our separation? Of course. But religion was the one that could not be compromised by either of us.
The separation was mutual but still difficult. We lived in S. Tampa but I work across the bay in Largo so the decision was made that I would move out of the apartment. Where would I live? Would I even stay in Florida (I can work remotely)? Well, I have fallen in love with the Tampa Bay area and did not want to leave. My friends, my gym, my work, the beaches, and my favorite downtown spots are all in the St. Pete/Clearwater area so I knew I had to move out of Tampa and across the bay. Luckily, I had a friend from college living in Clearwater who offered up a room at his house until I found my own apartment.
Moving in with my friend came with one, little caveat.. I had to help him renovate his house so he could rent it out by February 1st, 2019. He is an officer in the FL Army National Guard and had been selected for flight school to learn to fly helicopters. I moved in with him and his high school friend at the beginning of November 2018 and immediately began apartment hunting. It didn't take too long until I found the apartment that was exactly what I was looking for. Though it was November, I wouldn't be able to move into the new apartment until the end of January. This worked out perfectly as I no longer had to worry about where I was going to live and I could focus on helping my friend with the renovations right up until he had to leave.
I had never done a home renovation before but I certainly learned a lot in five months. I sometimes felt Chip Gaines from Fixer Upper!.. but I was missing my Johanna. It was an exhausting five months: Wake up, work, gym, renovations. Any free-time I had was spent removing popcorn ceilings, tearing down dry wall, cutting new flooring/baseboards, and sweeping. So much dust! In the end, we completely gutted and renovated the dining room, kitchen, living room, and one bathroom. The three bedrooms and two bathrooms had been done not long after he bought the house.
It was a lot of work but it took my mind off of my recent relationship and I also got to help out a friend who has always been there for me when I needed a helping hand.
Needless to say, I was so busy over the last five months that I didn't even think about putting time into the blog. I didn't update the website at all and only posted to social media a handful of times. But a new start is beginning and I have a new focus/motivation!
Moving Onward and Upward!
I moved into my new Clearwater apartment on January 24, 2019 and spent the first night on the floor as I didn't have the means of moving my bed from storage yet. But nothing was going to stop me from spending that first night in my new apartment. It's the first time in my life that I am really living on my own and by myself. It's been an extremely liberating feeling. I'm able to completely focus on myself and go after what I want.
With this new freedom I decided to physically write down a "TO DO" list of short and long-term goals I want to accomplish. These goals cover everything from traveling, to education, personal finance, and my career. Here is a snapshot of what I have written down:
The above is not the be all/end all list of things I want to accomplish but you can kind of see the areas I want to focus on: My physical/financial health, building the blog, and starting a brewery. Each of these short/longer term goals are also broken down into smaller steps/goals to make getting to them easier and to help stay on task.
In regards to the blog, my goal is to publish a new post at least every Monday. I've already put together a calendar of posts I want to write for the next several weeks. I also plan to post to Instagram and Facebook at least once a day. Everything I've read so far is that when it comes to blogging and building a brand, consistency is key!
I've already started my physical goals. I'm currently in the gym at Caged Crossfit five days a week, am currently competing in the Crossfit Open, and will be participating in WOD WARS IV in April.
Financially, I've put together a solid budget that I think will be easy to stick to. I no longer own a credit card and not eating out is much easier when you are single!
The brewery will come with time as I build the blog, brew more beers, learn from professionals in the area (through the blog), and read more.
While the end of 2018/beginning of 2019 was extremely stressful and disheartening at times I know that 2019 will be my biggest year of personal growth. I cannot wait to look back on this post in twelve months and see how far I have come.