The Times They Are A-Changin’

Let’s be real for a moment: Change is hard. Yes, change can be really good, and really needed, but I think no matter what, change is always hard at first. And I think it gets harder with age, too. But sometimes, it is absolutely necessary.

Today marks one month since I started my job with the City of St. Peters. Today also marks the first time in three weeks I’ve logged into my personal laptop at home (hence why I haven’t blogged in a month). That’s right, when I leave my office at 5 p.m. every day (or close to it) I don’t take a laptop home and I don’t get on a computer again until I log back in at work the next day at 8:30 a.m. And it’s also rare that I receive any emails between that time, or over the weekend. I don’t get any phone calls or texts after office hours either. It’s crazy. And absolutely wonderful.

I also realize how spoiled I am at work with a massive Mac screen that is twice the size of my PC laptop… and how much I’ve missed working with Macs (this PC keyboard is tripping me up right now, so I apologize in advance for any typos). I worked on a Mac (also a huge screen) when I was with SCC, which was nearly five years ago. Turns out, there are a lot of similarities between this job and my job at SCC, and I am loving it.

Everyone keeps asking me what I love most about my new job, and typically, I start with that. The 8:30-5 p.m. hours, with no nights and weekends, and not having volunteers call/text/message me at all hours of the day has been pretty sweet, not gonna lie.

OK I can’t say NO nights and weekends, I did attend my first Board of Aldermen meeting tonight, after all. But it was only to snap a few quick photos, which is what I did at an outdoor concert event a couple weeks ago. Running meetings and events is a whole lot different than just showing up to take a few photos. So I don’t mind the few “nights” I’ve had to work so far, which entail me driving somewhere that is less than 20 minutes from my house and staying no longer than an hour. We do have a large two-day festival that we are in charge of coming up next month, called Celebrate St. Peters, but that’s just one weekend out of the entire year and it’s all hands on deck.

But, like I told two of my former Wash U kids today, I still miss the people, including both my volunteers and coworkers at ACS. And I knew that’s what I would miss the most. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great people who work at the City, my new boss and coworkers included. And like I did at SCC, being in the Communications Department, I get to work with a lot of different departments, which is really cool. But there was something about working at a nonprofit, being stressed out about meeting your fundraising goals all the time and planning events for a cause that you all care so deeply about that just brings you closer to those people you work with. It’s a special bond like no other, that’s for sure.

But I don’t miss the stress. I miss the flexibility and being able to run errands during the day, but I don’t miss working late nights at Wash U and driving out to Warrenton. And to my volunteers who might be reading this – I really do miss you guys, just not the work!

While I love the stability of my new schedule, I have been struggling a little bit with managing my personal time. Running errands after work or on the weekends along with everyone else and their mom has been an adjustment, that’s for sure. It was Tyler’s birthday on Tuesday and last weekend I made the huge mistake of trying to go to Kohl’s on Saturday, forgetting it was tax-free weekend. After seeing the chaos inside the store, I promptly turned around and left. I didn’t go back until Monday, when it was peaceful, calm and relatively organized, for Kohl’s, at least.

I’m having trouble feeling motivated to work out after I get off, too. After sitting in an office for most of the day, the last thing I want to do is get home, change, then head straight to the gym. I’d much rather unwind, relax, eat some snacks and watch some TV.

And forget about waking up early to work out before heading into the office. In the nearly five weeks I’ve been with the City, I think I’ve done that twice, maybe three times. I am proud of myself for doing it that many times, to be honest. Now that it’s starting to get a little cooler (not counting today), I’d really like to start running before work. Maybe someday I’ll be able to get up early and work out or run multiple times a week, but I’m taking baby steps here.

Back to the whole snacking after work thing. Perhaps I didn’t realize how much I ate with my crazy schedule at ACS, but I quickly realized I needed to start stocking up on snacks at work if I didn’t want to leave the office starving every day. My favorite snack right now is carrots and hummus. I’m sure my coworkers love hearing me crunch on carrots all day – sorry guys! Don’t worry, I haven’t turned into a health nut or anything (ha!), I also have a bag of Kit Kats on my desk (also crunchy – yikes, I must be annoying). Oh and lunch is a whole other debacle.

OK it’s not really a debacle, but technically I only get a half hour lunch, if I want to take longer I have to make up the time. If I bring my lunch and eat at my desk, technically I can leave a little early. But bringing my lunch would mean I would have to go through the trouble of preparing it in advance… which is tough, especially since our Sunday night softball league started back up a couple weeks ago.

And I have to be honest – my lunch options are rather limited in St. Peters, at least when you compare it to my options around my old office in the Central West End. I end up getting Bread Co a lot, and McAlister’s every once in a while, too. There’s also a cute Italian deli right up the road, Valenti’s. I really wish there was a Potbelly close (I know there’s one on Hwy K, but that would take me a half hour to get there and back). There is a Jimmy John’s right by City Hall, so I probably get that at least once a week. It takes less than 10 minutes to drive up there, get my food and drive back, which is convenient. Plus there’s a lovely little park with a gazebo and a pond right next to City Hall, I imagine I will be eating my lunch out there a lot this fall.

Lunch hasn’t been the only issue – now that I’m home every evening I’ve had to start cooking a lot more if I don’t want to eat take out or fast food every night for dinner. I don’t think I realized how poorly my husband had been eating for the past five years when I wasn’t there.

Although to be fair, it’s not that we eat fast food when neither of us cooks, it’s more that we are probably doing something with our friends or family and going out to dinner. Typically, if I need something quick for dinner, my favorite go-to is Crazy Bowls and Wraps. Although lately I’ve been making my own homemade version of that (inspired by this recipe) and taking the leftovers for lunch – it’s a win-win! We also love getting the rotisserie chickens from Fresh Thyme – they are seriously the best, so tasty and moist!

Last, but not least, I do miss having my own office and being able to work from home, but sharing a space with two of my coworkers is almost necessary in the Communications Department, since everything we do is in tandem with each other. It has been an adjustment thought, going from doing everything on my own, working from home by myself, to going back to working with people every day.

But it’s been so great going back to my roots in writing and marketing, as well as photography. I love getting to use my creativity at work again. I’ve been doing a lot of website editing, too. The Communications Department is basically a grab bag of everything and anything that involves marketing what the City does, which includes documenting those things. You could basically say we are the City’s historians, too. So I’m able to get out of the office several times a week to take photos of all the things going on in the City, whether it’s classes/programs at the Rec-Plex, kids summer camps, parks or events – and I love it!

Overall, a month later, I’d have to say I have no regrets on making the job change and I am really happy. Like I keep saying, I certainly miss my coworkers and volunteers, but I love the work I’m doing for the City, and I can’t wait to share it with you all!

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