Confessions of a Reluctant Career Woman

Saturday morning I found myself weeping in the middle of McDonald’s while tiny pieces of half-chewed hash brown fell out of my mouth. This, I feel, is a good place to start for an introduction.

As many of you know based off Lisa’s interview last week, I am the new editor here at Boundless, and y’all, I’m so excited to be here. But to be here required a move all the way from Chicago, it required lots of boxes (mostly full of books), and it required a change of perspective. I’ve never really considered myself the “career woman” Sheryl Sandburg was probably envisioning when she wrote Lean In. But here I am: a 27-year-old single woman with little to invest in but my career. If I’m not a career woman at this point, what would I be—unemployed? So off I go, taming the wild unknown with very little desire to scale the corporate ladder (plus I’m scared to death of heights).

That’s why this move to Colorado was so unusual for me; I’m sacrificing relationships with friends and proximity to my family to start over here, when, in the past, every move I’ve made has put me closer to people I love. These last few weeks, I’ve had to come to a place where I was willing to accept what this new position would cost me and who I would become if I took it. I’m that girl now, the one that’s moved across the country for a job.

Embrace the Yes

I’m also the girl who’s hoping to say yes a little bit more. Too often my knee-jerk “no” keeps me from some really amazing opportunities, and this move was a big “yes” for me. My no usually comes quickly and for lots of reasons, sometimes fear, shame, insecurity, anxiety, or often just feeling overwhelmed with life in general. But I’m kind of done living in that place of no. I’d like to pitch a tent in Yes-Land for a while and see what happens. Thus far it’s brought me to a lovely two-bedroom apartment that allows me a great view of Pikes Peak. It’s landed me on a team where I feel valued and trusted. And it’s forced me out of my comfort zone as I pursue new friendships in the wake of old ones.

Saying yes won’t  always be easy however (hence how I found myself weeping over my Egg McMuffin due to stress and isolation and loneliness and a really bad paper cut). I’m coming to realize that my yeses may come with some letdowns and tears, but I hope there are also some triumphs I may never have experienced otherwise. I took a risk in moving here to take this position—and so far it’s looking pretty great.

So my challenge to you for this week is to say yes to something, anything, that you might normally say no to, and then report back—even if it’s hard or embarrassing. It doesn’t have to be moving across the country or pursuing a new career; it could be as simple as taking a teeny, tiny step of faith or pursuing a friendship that has been neglected. I want to learn about each of you, and I want you to learn about me—warts and all. In the meantime, you can find me on Twitter @JBsTwoCents or over on Instragram. I can’t wait to hear about your yes!

About the Author

Joy Beth Smith
Joy Beth Smith

Joy Beth Smith hails from Charleston, SC, but she’s left pieces of her heart in Lynchburg, VA, Nashville, TN, and Chicago, IL. Joy Beth is passionate about connecting with other singles, and with the abundance of faulty theology surrounding singleness, marriage, and dating, she hopes to contribute to the ongoing conversations revolving around these issues. Joy Beth enjoys writing, reading, and coffee drinking, and you can often find her lurking in the corner of a local coffee shop pretending to read while shamelessly eavesdropping.