a new season


ch-ch-changes

Yes, it's true that fall is a new season, but I'm also embarking on a new season of my life here in the coming weeks. To be more specific, in two weeks. I had initially planned to wait the full two weeks before filling y'all in about my news, but I've always been terrible at keeping my own secrets, so here we are! Have you guessed the big news yet?

I'm starting a new job! I'm so excited to start a new adventure writing full-time for Junebug Weddings. The website and the team are both a perfect fit for me, and this feels like a career move I need (and want!) to make at this point in my life.

If you've been following me for a while, you know that I've worked in the domestic violence field for just short of three and a half years. I'm passionate about the work I've done, and I'm good at my job. Loving it, unfortunately, doesn't mean it isn't hard. Working in any kind of helping field comes with its own hardships. I've written here before about adjusting to going full-time a year ago, and how difficult it was for me. I started to feel angry and I haven't really been able to cope with that. 

Ultimately, when a certain video of a certain football player was leaked a couple of weeks ago, I realized that this work isn't something I can continue. I've been absolutely inundated with domestic violence in a way I hadn't been before. It was on my social media, on blogs and podcasts, on the news, in conversations with friends or at dinner parties with strangers, on top of the 40 hours I put in at work talking about it non-stop. I'm glad people are talking. I'm glad that people are reaching out. If you somehow haven't seen the #WhyIStayed stories yet, please go check it out. It's important. It just got to be too much for me. 

I feel ashamed saying that. I want to be endlessly strong and involved. I'm an advocate, officially at work, but also in life. I used to thrive on these conversations. Now I completely shut down when faced with them. I've hit a wall. In the social work field, this is called compassion fatigue. I am exhausted from how much empathy I give and give and give. I feel like I don't have anymore to give, and that's both really scary and really painful. It hurts to not be able to do what you love. It's like an athlete finding out that they have a physical injury that will affect them in a long-term capacity and keep them off the field for a long time, if not forever.

The big question I keep asking myself is "who am I without my job?" I have defined myself so much by my work as an advocate. I educate friends and family on a regular basis about healthy relationships and how to support those in unhealthy and abusive ones. I frequently ruin dinner conversations with heavy stories about my job. I feel good about myself after a day of work because I know I helped people. I feel fulfilled. I have a purpose. Do I lose that sense of security in myself as a good person if I leave this work? Am I no longer an advocate?

One of the things I said in my interviews with Junebug is that I've given three and a half years of passion to this job, and I could do that for them knowing it wouldn't affect me--hurt me--in the ways my current job does. I don't think I become less passionate about what I do just because the work isn't heavy. I don't think I have to (or could) stop being an advocate for things I believe in just because I don't get paid to do it. Empathy is part of who I am, and leaving my domestic violence job means I can heal and be able to provide empathy in a different capacity. Maybe one that's healthier for me, at least at this time in my life.

So what does this mean for the blog? Probably not much, but I don't know yet! My schedule will be more normal, which will probably make it easier to get posts done in general (especially outfit posts on the actual days I wear them!). I'm definitely not going anywhere, and I'm excited to see what I'm able to do with this space when I'm not feeling totally burnt out from my job. 

You're all amazing and I'm so thankful to have you following along and supporting me during this big change!

21 comments

  1. Congratulations on your new job! I cannot imagine the strength it took to do that for three and a half years. Know that you are stronger and a more beautiful person that thousands, perhaps millions of other people who would never be able to help those the way you were. It doesn't mean you're any less of a person. You just have to do what you have to do, no excuses. Looking forward to hearing more about your new position!

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  2. Your feelings toward your old job are completely understandable, and just because you're moving on to something new doesn't mean you can't still be an advocate! That said, congrats on your new job! I swear, our lives here in Austin must intertwine all the time because my friend who knows someone who works at Junebug Weddings asked if I'd like to apply for a writing position there and offered to put in a good word for me. I think this was about a month ago? I declined because I'm pretty comfortable with my current job, but still, so weird right?? I hope you'll write a bit about what it's like to write for a wedding site because I honestly have always been really interested!

    Good luck! :) xo

    www.rachellately.com | Austin Life + Style Blog

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  3. Congratulations on the new job!

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  4. that's crazy that you almost applied for the job! i actually saw a posting back in july for the same position under a different name, but didn't apply for it then because i wasn't ready to leave my job. when things started to feel different a couple of weeks ago, i pulled up the old posting and emailed to see if the position was still open, and it was!


    also, i actually used to be the social media manager for a wedding photographer in austin, so this is like the other side of what i had already done! instead of submitting photos and post ideas to blogs, i'll be receiving them and doing calls for certain posts we're looking for. i'm so excited!!

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  5. thank you for your sweet words! if you're interested in learning more about compassion fatigue, there's a book called Trauma Stewardship that talks all about it and how to care for yourself to prevent it (or, really, prolong it) from happening. http://www.amazon.com/Trauma-Stewardship-Everyday-Caring-Others/dp/157675944X

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  6. i really needed to hear all of this, so thank you so much. i love that perspective of doing what i need to do for me, no excuses. i'm going to carry that with me as i try to survive these next two weeks! <3

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  7. Congrats on the new job, Nicole! I think that you will be an incredibly addition to any company/business, but knowing what I do about you and weddings, this is going to be a great transition for you, and Junebug Weddings is going to gain so much by having you on board.


    I also know you'll continue to be a wonderful, thoughtful, passionate advocate for those in need, and you'll always be one of the first to offer insightful advice and perspective on the current events surrounding domestic/sexual violence. I have learned so much about these areas, and about being an empathetic person, just by being a reader of your blog. You'll continue to do great things as an advocate through a lot of other spaces, even if it's not your full time job. And work should never be harmful -- even, or especially, mentally & emotionally -- to you. It has to be as supportive and nurturing of you as you are of it; it can be hard when you're a person who puts so much of yourself into your work to find that reciprocal balance (I struggle with this, too), but it's still incredibly important. You'll continue to be great, and do great things. And I don't doubt that you know this, but I also wanted to say it.

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  8. I look forward to seeing how your style changes (or doesn't!) working in a new field :)

    Speaking of compassion fatigue, do you have any advice or tips on how to deal with it? Is it something they taught how to manage in school?

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  9. Congrats, girl! One of my favorite things about reading blogs is the deep insight into issues that people are passionate about, especially when I know little about them. Your blog is full of those for me! Though I've never had a job like this, I can completely understand how you could get to feel this way. I'm sure it got to be impossible to leave your work at work, and work-life balance is essential. Anyway, I'm excited about your new opportunity! Will you be working from home or what?

    Also- thanks for sharing the #WhyIStayed. Awesome!

    ♥ perfectly Priya

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  10. i'm excited to see how my style changes too, even though neither job has a dress code and there's actually no reason for it to change, haha.

    there's actually a book called Trauma Stewardship about compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma that gives lots of good info on resiliency! http://www.amazon.com/Trauma-Stewardship-Everyday-Caring-Others/dp/157675944X

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  11. Congrats! I understand how a job can weigh you down, hopefully this one will be less stressful!

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  12. you're so kind and i'm always so happy to see you interacting on my blog. i wish we had actually known each other at Steds!


    my hope is that in not working in DV anymore, i'll have the energy to write about more things i'm passionate about that are going on in our world here on the blog. thanks so much for your support and always knowing the right thing to say.

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  13. Congratulations! I think you're definitely doing the right thing.

    Honestly, I don't even work in that field, but the Ray Rice story affected me similarly. I've been in an abusive relationship, and hearing everybody talk about it was really draining (so much victim blaming and misinformation). I try to advocate for things I believe in and educate others, but this story was too tough for me.


    I can't wait to see where you go with Junebug! Are you working from home or in an office (or a mixture)? I'm working for a company right now where I go into the office for 2 days out of the week and work from home otherwise. I'd love to meet up with you to write if you wanna!

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  14. i can't even imagine how that story and all of the terrible coverage has affected you. i hope you're doing lots of self-care to combat the madness! i know i've been upping the bubble baths lately, but it hasn't really been enough (hence, you know, leaving my job).


    i'm not sure yet what my work-place-situation will be yet. i know they work mostly from one person's home and are looking for office space, but if i have remote days i would love to meet up and get some work done!

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  15. Right? I'm not entirely sure how we missed each other at Steds, either. Alas. I am very glad I know you now online. :)

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  16. Congratulations on your new job!


    I think your feelings about your old job are very understandable and hopefully moving to a different work field will allow you to have some of those conversations that right now you just can't, and then will maybe be able to contribute to the issue in that way. In the mean time, on to new adventures and helping people in a different way with this new job!

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  17. Congratulations on your new job! I wish you the very best. There is nothing wrong with realizing that you need a change!

    www.roothless-xo.blogspot.com

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  18. Hooray, Nicole! I'm so proud of you! I work in a helping field as well as a school counselor, so I can absolutely understand the compassion fatigue. That ish is real, and it can be a beast. I'm really happy to hear that you are making the choice to end a job that doesn't make you feel good and are onto something that very clearly excites you. Get it, girl!

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  19. Congrats! Sometimes you just need a change of pace. I definitely had a weird feeling walking away from academia after being in that vein my whole freakin life, but I needed to try something else and to detox from being so cerebral all the time. It's been good for me in a lot of ways, though unfortunately that detox has had unwanted side effects, like my writing projects falling by the wayside. Womp womp. I think this is going to be a good move for you though, and I can't wait to hear about this new season!


    -Jen
    yourstrulyjen.com

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  20. Yeah, I've been trying to take care of myself. So hard though! I swear, the most challenging thing has been self-care through grad school and other major stressors.

    Good luck with your job! Let me know what ends up happening with your work situation :)

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  21. I am so so so so so so so so so so SO excited for you! You're going to be able to learn and give so much towards the blogging and event planning industries while also taking back a little bit of you in the best way. PLUS you'll still be an amazing advocate for those in abusive situations. I'm looking forward to hearing more about how you findyour best balance.

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