Monday, May 22, 2017

Where He Is Now: Six Years Later

James and I toast his milestone birthday in Turks & Caicos, January '17.
Today is Commencement Day for the Yale School of Management's Class of 2017, making it six years since I graduated from their MBA program, and one year since I last posted an annual update.

Me with the U.S. CEO of Deloitte,
Cathy, whom I met at "The Hunt,"
a horse racing tailgate event in
Far Hills, NJ, October 2016. 
Work-wise, I'm still doing human capital consulting at Deloitte, the firm I joined out of business school in 2011. For the past 11 1/2 months, I've been staffed on a project at a media company based in Manhattan. I'm leading the change management program on a multi-phase, multi-year order-to-cash transformation. In a nutshell, this means I'm in charge of making sure that this client's employees are ready and willing to use new technologies and follow new processes from the point at which an order is placed through the point at which payments are applied to the accounting records. I lead a team of nine. There are things I like about the engagement: It's local, the people I work with are great, the schedule is generally predictable, and I feel capable of doing what's being asked of me. That said, a year (and counting) is a long time to be on one project, and I know from previous experience that the longer you're on a project, the more shielded you get, and the harder it is to transition to the next gig, whenever that may come.

Me trying to punt
in Oxford, June 16.
Although not much has changed on the employment front over the past year, in two weeks I'll be transferring from my regional service line into a new national practice called Digital Enablement. This group of about 200 practitioners will focus all its attention on topics such as the human implications of robotics, artificial intelligence and digital transformation. These are cool topics, so I'm excited to join this new team. I'm on the transition team and will be attending a planning session tomorrow.

Derby in front of a new
mural, April 2017.
James and I are still together, four years and counting, living in Forest Hills with our beloved dog, Derby. Over the past year, our main focus has been on adopting a healthier lifestyle. We've been going to a personal trainer twice a week since September, playing a lot of tennis, eating lighter and drinking less (or not at all). James has been particularly dedicated, going to at least one fitness activity a day, be it kickboxing, Pilates, boot camp and/or yoga. (He works from home, so he can organize his work around these activities.) He's lost 60 pounds and looks amazing; I've only lost about 15, but I've never been in better shape. So looking back on the past 12 months, I'd say that's been the most meaningful shift for the better.

High school BFFs Jenny, Shiri and
Tracy in St. Louis, October 2016.
I've also traveled a decent amount over the past year, to destinations far and wide:
  • Durango, CO, with friends from my Texas journalism days;
  • Seattle, to visit a friend from summer camp who lives there;
  • Oxford, London and Lewes, UK, because we love it there;  
  • St. Louis (my hometown), for a high school friend's wedding; 
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, for a work training and to visit friends from back when I lived there; 
  • Fort Myers, FL, three times because my parents live there (my dad turned 80 in March); 
  • Orlando, FL, to hit the theme parks; 
  • Nantucket, MA, with friends from Yale for Labor Day weekend; 
  • Montauk, a "fishing village" on Long Island; 
  • New Haven, CT, several times for recruiting events and to visit a friend from Yale who moved back there; 
  • Key West, to visit friends we made in Paris a couple years ago; 
  • And, the highlight of all these trips, Turks & Caicos, to celebrate James' 50th birthday.
Next week we're driving upstate to spend three nights at The Getaway at Glen Highland Farms, a rural retreat for dog owners.

Me with Dave and Ryan, friends
from my Texas newspaper days
 in Durango, CO, June 2016.
So, in general, things are still good. Time is flying, though. It's been 10 years since I took the GMAT and started thinking seriously about quitting journalism to get an MBA. Did I do the right thing? I think so, but I'll never know for sure. Maybe I should've gone to law school instead. Maybe I should've gotten a PhD in a passion area, like film studies. Maybe I should've stuck with journalism but pivoted from local newspapers into a more stable (or growing!) sector. Maybe I should've made a bigger push to pursue my songwriting. Maybe I should've gone with my Plan B and become a high school teacher. Maybe I should've moved back to my hometown, leveraged family connections and gotten a 9-to-5 job in some office. There's no way to know which path will make us happiest. The main thing I'm grateful for is that I was able to choose that path on my own terms. As for what's next: My boyfriend is starting a business. I'd like us to move into a bigger house as soon as it's financially feasible. And I'm going to try my best to live in the moment next week on the farm.

And, certainly most importantly, my mom and my friend both beat breast cancer this past year!

Those are the highlights. See you next year!

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