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I graduated from law school in 2004. I had no interest in practicing law, so I moved to Japan and taught English there instead. Though I was supposedly the teacher, I learned a lot and had a blast.

I moved back to my hometown for family reasons and took a job temping in a small HR office. Job opportunities did not abound, so I was simply glad I could pay my bills. I felt the same when I took on a temporary administrative role at a larger company before long. I sucked at it, but did my best to find silver linings, of which there were many.

As my temporary admin gig neared its conclusion, a woman I’d met exactly once offered to take me onto her team as an admin. I sent her a copy of my resume; once she saw I’d gone to law school, she became determined to get me negotiating software contracts on her team. I rejected at first, saying I’d have taken the Bar if I wanted to do anything law-related.

She persisted, thank God. I soon began negotiating contracts, and felt (happily) challenged for the first time in years. I loved learning about hardware and software, which I had to do to be effective at negotiating. I enjoyed negotiating and was grateful to have an encouraging, supportive manager nudging me outside my comfort zone.

I worked on software contracts for a decade. Then, two years ago tomorrow, I began working as a software licensing contractor. My commute to a full-time job with great benefits was just too long. I accepted job uncertainty as a small cost compared to the benefit of not spending four hours in my car daily.

My first few months as a contractor were deeply uncomfortable. There was a lot of ambiguity, which frustrated me until I took it upon myself to lessen the ambiguity. If anyone didn’t like how I was doing that, I figured, they’d be sure to tell me. 

Taking risks, I found myself growing. I found joy in that growing, though I’d started out discombobulated.

As that contract wound down, an opening came up for a software asset management position. I seized the opportunity. Sure, I’d never done it before and didn’t know a thing about helping ensure neither too many nor too few licenses were procured, but I knew I’d grow. I knew that any frustration I felt at being a noob the first few months would be counterbalanced by the ultimate joy of learning.

I “knew,” but I didn’t really know. ‘Cause, see, I had no idea how much I’d learn, nor how much I’d be encouraged to learn. I couldn’t have fathomed how much support I’d have, nor how mistakes would be treated as just a part of the journey of learning. I had no idea what it’d be like to feel genuine psychological safety for the first time in my life, among a team that makes me laugh while pushing me to do better every day.

I took a risk two years ago tomorrow, and another one fifteen months ago. Because of those risks, my whole life feels so much richer than it did two years ago. For how rough my life began, it’s pretty rad now.

This is all a necessary background for another story to come. For now, though, I want to say that I am more fortunate than I sometimes remember.

I’m thankful to be challenged to remember this.

  1. March 15, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I love that it was someone that you met once that set the ball in motion and that you persevered and enjoyed the growth and challenge of being outside your box! Very inspiring! I look forward to the rest of the story!

  2. March 15, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    You know, it is great to stop and reflect on how fortunate we are. I think contentment in life comes from looking at those below us, rather than those above us, and being satisfied with our lot in life, whilst also taking the opportunities that are presented to us and fighting hard to make sure the world is a better place for everybody ❤

  3. March 15, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Richness comes more from lifestyle than from money and wealth. Thank you for reminding me. 🙂

  4. March 16, 2017 at 8:10 am

    You have had many interesting experiences Deborah, I’m looking forward to read more 🙂

  5. March 16, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Wow, this is really interesting. I am teaching English in china at the moment after studying Psychology so it is nice to see a relatable post. It is also comforting to know that life can work out!

  6. March 17, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Stepping out on faith.

  1. March 17, 2017 at 6:16 am

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