Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why Steve is one of the most courageous persons I've ever met.

A year ago, Steve had new clarity that he was ready for the next phase.  He'd wanted to be a math teacher when our children were young - summers off, especially - but to move into a more math-oriented field down the road.  He realized that he was ready to shift gears, found out that William and Mary (only an hour away) had one of the best accounting graduate programs in the country, and that we get in-state tuition.  He scrambled for the GMAT and got a rockin' score.  And applied to W&M and was accepted, including a merit scholarship.

Spring semester, he worked full time and took 21 credit hours of accounting prerequisites.  It was madness, but we kept saying on repeat: "This is an investment.  It's an investment."

We were already in transition, like living in the winter rental only through May -- in part to take advantage of new opportunities.  This was one of them.  He ended teaching in June, we travelled all summer, and he started the one-year graduate program this fall.

Yesterday, we found out he was accepted at Deloitte in Richmond.  The top ranked accounting firm, and one of the Big 4.  An incredibly difficult position to get, especially as a 32 year old seeking a CPA position, instead of being a younger fresh-out-of-college guy. 

The W&M program told him initially he shouldn't expect a Big 4 job, because of his age, and we both agreed that wasn't what we needed.  He had a lot of directions he could take his CPA and still be happy.

But now that we know he's been accepted...OMG.  

He did it.

THIS is the message I wanted my children to see -- from that first moment he came home and asked my opinion about leaving his job and going back to school.  The message that if you really believe in something and are willing to back it with incredibly hard work, you can make it happen. 

I believe in risk-taking when it's about listening to your inner-self and being authentic to the direction you're supposed to go. I believe in changing directions when you know it isn't right.  That life is short, yes, but's pretty long, too, in that you get to shift gears when things aren't working.  31 was too young to decide it was "too old" to change careers. 

Sometimes those next steps are scary because you just know the current situation isn't right...but the Other Side of it isn't yet clear.

Steve was getting accolades galore for his teaching...getting the highest exam scores for his subject area in the department...and nominated for Distinguished Teacher of the Year.  Perhaps to many, including his colleagues, leaving didn't make sense.

But it did to me.  I trusted him and knew he would always take care of our family.  And even if the decision seemed strange to others, it didn't feel strange to me.  Being a good teacher isn't the same as having it be your passion, and he needed to go down his right-path.

So here we are. 

He starts his internship in January for two months, and then his contract begins in September - the standard start time for CPAs.  Which means I get another summer to travel with the family. :)

California, here we come. 

The big question now is when to move to Richmond: January, and have him reverse-commute to W&M the last two months of the semester, or wait until the fall.  

He's left it up to me, and my biggest sticking point is my children's co-ops.  Right now, they're an hour each direction from Williamsburg.  Richmond has an incredible co-op, 4 days a week where you pick and choose your classes (college-style) for each of the kids.  Similar to the current ones, but on a larger scale.  So I'm not concerned about schooling options once we get there --- just wondering whether we're ready to leave our current ones.  I'm pretty sure we're not.  

Either way, my most resounding emotion is absolute joy for Steve. That he could create a goal for his life and bring it to fruition...even against all odds...creates a feeling in my stomach that I can't even describe.  

The 15-years-ago-Steve would laugh at me saying this, but he's got quite the adventurous streak. ;)  Maybe not with travel the way I feel it, but with demanding good things from life - and having the adventurous courage to make it happen.  

I am inspired.


Rambling Rachel said...

My mother went to college at 40 something, got a degree in interior design, and is now a kitchen designer. And she's happy. And she makes a living wage.

Her act of trying something new is living evidence that I am never too old to try something new. That no matter what I'm doing today, I can explore and try something new. I'm not stuck.

Steve is that person for your family and what a gift!

Sarahbeth said...

Rachel, I love that. My mom was a career-changer too, going back to school in her 40s. I've always heard that women can have a Renaissance period after children are grown, and I think that's so great. I often wonder what my "next me" will be. :)