Reply To: PPVE Grads – Share your updates & stay connected

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Kristen Walker

Hey Erin! So good to hear from you, and thanks for the update!

I’m glad you’re trying to be easier on yourself for not being where you thought you’d be by now (these things never tend to happen on our timelines — they always seem to take longer than we’d like!). And it sounds like you have made several changes in your non-work life, so definitely give yourself credit for that! Since you’re a Thriver, that’s arguably MORE important anyway.

As far as your career direction, I want to say that being a Thriver doesn’t mean you can NEVER combine your passion with your job … it simply means “proceed with caution” so you don’t find yourself resenting something you love. If there’s a way for you to work in the horticulture/landscape world that feels fun and low-pressure, then you might be able to make it work! (It’s the pressure that tends to weigh Thrivers down the most.) Don’t feel like you “should” find an admin/support/remote role if that’s genuinely not interesting to you. Go with your gut on this to see what feels best to you.

Good question about how to answer interview questions about changing to a more Thriver-friendly job. First of all, I don’t think a Thriver job HAS to be a step backward from where you are now. Any job that’s enjoyable, low-pressure, and provides flexibility and stability can be a Thriver job, so you don’t have to feel like you’re moving “backward” in your career to honor your Thriver values. So there’s a chance this question won’t even come up in an interview! Instead, they may ask why you’re switching industries/fields, to which you can reply that you’d like horticulture to become more of a hobby of yours than a career, and you’re interested in learning/trying something new. And if they DO ask why you’re seemingly taking a step backward in your career (which, again, I don’t think you have to), you can always say that you value work-life balance, and the balance was tipping far more toward work in your past job, and you’d like to find a true balance because then you can more fully commit to your work when you’re there (since you’re not burnt out and resentful).

Congrats on getting a job offer! I agree that, in the end, it wasn’t worth taking because you would have quickly become frustrated with the lower pay and benefits, but it’s still validating to get an offer after sending out several applications. If you can get one offer, there’s no reason why you can’t (and won’t) get several more.

I love Karisa’s idea about your painting, too! I was even thinking maybe you can devote one full weekend day to painting a month. Since you said you’d like longer stretches of uninterrupted time, having an extra 20-30 minutes on any given day may not seem like enough time to get fully into creative painting mode. But what if you treated it like a one-day monthly creative workshop? As in, you put it on you calendar, don’t schedule anything else that day, and let your friends/family know you won’t be available that day, and then have hours upon hours to simply paint. What do you think of that?