Walking Away…

In the fall of 2009, I took my first job at one of Steamboat’s many condominium properties in the role of Front Desk Agent. Fast forward 7 years, and I am the Assitant General Manager of a brand new, internationally branded  hotel in beautiful Brentwood, TN. These seven years have been full of moving across the country – from CO to TX to NY to TN to FL and back.  I have been “on-call” 24hrs/day 7 days/week since the fall of 2010 and I’m tired. 90% of my energy has gone to helping strangers and the other 90% has gone to a team that is often underpaid and always over worked. I’ve never been the best at math, and even I can tell you that those two combine to well over 100%. Unfortunately, the numbers in that equation represent ME. My personality and hobbies and interests and rough edges and the energy it takes to wake up with a smile. They represent me. And, all of me has been consumed taking care of everyone except me.

A standard 40hr/week job with two weeks of vacation leads the worker to a year of 1080 hours worked. My average is north of 65/hours per week and that leads to entierly too many hours worked and not nearly enough time spent living. If I had known at 22 years old that focused-service hotel operations managers worked such long hours, and that the industry owns one of the highest burnout rates in the world; I never would have started down this path. That is not the same as having regret, and I have few regrets.

Have you ever stood still and realized that everyone else’s life is moving forward and you seem to be knee deep in quicksand? Welcome to my world. Everyone is moving forward, making changes, and I am knee deep in quicksand. True or false, thats the feeling I woke up wtih everyday for the last 3 months.

So, I am walking away.

As of Thursday, I have officially and voluntarily resigned my position. That’s right. I quit. I’m done. Finitto. Termindada. Done.

In order to tell the rest of the story, we need to go back wards to July and August. My first solo trip outside of the country included a visit to an English Language school where I met with and interviewed for a course to become certified to teach English to speakers of other languages. The school is located in Heredia, Costa Rica which lies just outside of San Jose and in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. The TESOL certification is internationally accreddited and requires the successful completion of a 4-week intensive course with practicum teaching.

Thanks to the friends and family that noticed my “smile is missing” and to the terrible traffic which creates an hour long commute, one way; to those that said “you can do anything you set your mind to”;  and to generations of teachers and travellers…. I am walking away from my job and from Nashville, and taking a chance on a passion that’s been hidden away for years. In the middle of a horribly frustrating week at work, my phone rang. It was a blocked number and I decided not to answer it. The voicemail I received after that call was from the school director in Costa Rica… “Hey it’s Luke from Costa Rica. Haven’t heard from you in a while and wanted to see if you had made a decision on taking the course. As I told you, you’d be great at it and we still have spots left for November. Shoot me an email when you can. Pura Vida!”

Dad always says…. Sometimes God opens a window for you and when he does, it is up to you to listen.I heard it and saw it and felt it. I’ve considered moving abroad for years and everytime Yahoo! news has an article about the person that gave up everything to go live on a beach, well, I think that maybe I should be next.

Just like her name suggests, Nike and I are are going to Just Do It! We leave November 12th for 5 weeks in Costa Rica. Stay tuned for more news soon!