The Great Transition
Written by
Michelle Cullen
September 2012
Written by
Michelle Cullen
September 2012

Being on SheWrites for the past few months, I've realized that this site is a great resource in a lot of ways, but it's also full of other professional women who are warm, welcoming and willing to confer and advise as needed. That being said, I'd like to share my story.

Ten years ago I graduated from college with my BA in English, and started my first career as a middle school English teacher. By 2003 I had completed my MA in Liberal Studies and gotten engaged. By 2005 I had landed a position in the school where I would spend the majority of my teaching career, bought a house, got married and had everything going for me.

However, over the past decade a lot has changed, and most of that change was within myself. Teaching that used to be fun, exciting, challenging and meaningful slowly became tedious, frustrating and a constant ethical battle. I was getting burnt out. Add to that the crushing and devastating effects of being one of the fools who fell for The Great Mortgage Scheme, and you had a recipe for disaster. While I was on the top of my game in my career, I was at the lowest of lows in my personal life, and the strain was just too much. The financial success I had spent my life building was gone in a whisper, especially after my high-school-sweetheart, and first husband, decided it would be easier to end our 12-year relationship than to rebuild it.

I had no possible way of knowing it at the time, but these seemingly catastrophic events only served to enhance my life, and to help me grow into an adult version of myself that I could be proud of. On New Year's Day of 2010 I decided it was time to rebuild my life. I started dating again, began looking into new career options and ways to start rebuilding my credit. By 2011 I had met the love of my life, saved up six months of my hard-earned salary and took a leap of faith. I relocated to New York City and decided to forge ahead in my pursuit of a second career in book publishing, and a second chance at love.

The career growth has been slow, but the effects invigorating. Cash may be tight, but I've learned to live more simply. There may be challenges, but I have friends and family whose unwavering commitment and loyalty are unparalleled. On the love side of the coin I've gotten engaged and I'm planning a wedding with the most amazing man a lady could ever hope for. I'm also meeting with success in my new career. Over the past year I have taken on various assistant positions and internships to build my repertoire as a publishing professional, and to build background knowledge in the field. I have my own small business as a freelance editor and Twitter marketing campaign writer, and I'm looking to build that business so that in the next 3-5 years I can earn a comfortable living on my own terms. Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a full-time career and a second job that fulfill all of your passions? That's the goal I'm working towards. In addition to that I have the joy of writing and sharing my creative process and product with so many amazing people.

It's just exciting to have a fresh start and to feel fantastic every day. While there are still lows and disappointments from time to time, life is surely good. I wanted to share that with all of you because everything we talk about here on SheWrites is related to our passion for words and for the expression of ourselves through it. Just remember no matter how rough it gets, or frustrated you feel, you are only a few actions away from making it better.

Let's be friends

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