When Neil and I rung in 2016 in a tiny studio apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan I doubt that either of us had any idea what this year had in store for us. Throughout our week and a half vacation we kept saying to each other…”what if we could live here?” We loved the hustle and bustle, the museums and shows, and that you could eat almost anything you wanted at any time of the day. It felt like the world was at our fingertips.
It was lovely to think about, but with my job in oil and gas it dictated where we could live and work. This dream didn’t feel tangible at all. It was more of a sigh with murmurs of “someday.”
After February’s events it was now my time to dream. I promised myself that I would take the month of February to just…be… I wasn’t going to think about finding another job right away or stress over what I should be doing. I wanted to be kind to myself as I navigated these new waters. Once I did start reflecting on what brought me joy it became clear that I was not interested in returning to the job or role that I used to do.
What do you do when you’ve spent fifteen years of your career in one industry? How do you transform your life?
I attended an online information session for a full time MBA (Masters of Business Administration) program and as I read through the program description I found myself nodding up and down. This sounded so exciting to me! I began researching schools and studying for the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), hence why I was reacquainting myself with math at the end of March.
It wasn’t an easy process. Given my age and experience level several schools pushed me towards their part time programs which focus on people who will enhance their existing career. Students work during the week and go to school on the weekends. I was interested in a full time program because I was looking for a transformation springboard. When I pushed back I was told that my potential for change was not as large as someone younger than me, and that I would be less employable than my classmates. These were not easy words to hear and I definitely shed a few tears wondering if I was making the right choice.
The harsh words spurred me on to put some hard thought in to what I wanted out of an MBA and to find the program that was the right fit for me. Thankfully Neil was incredibly supportive as this would mean huge changes for both of us. I interviewed with my dream school and then held my breath as I waited to hear back from the admissions team.
On a bike ride with friends in Banff we stopped and got off our bikes to walk through one of the animal fence gates. As I got off my bike I quickly checked my phone and there it was. An offer of admission from the Sauder School of Business at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Neil and I were officially moving to Vancouver.
The final build towards Ironman Boulder became a whirlwind of putting our house in Calgary on the market and looking for an apartment in Vancouver. It definitely added a lot of additional stress to Ironman training, that is for sure! Selling a house in a buyer’s market and finding a rental apartment in a city with a 0.8% vacancy rate is not for the faint hearted. It was also absolutely insane to be negotiating an offer on our house two days before race day. Ironman stress plus home selling stress? Yikes!
Here we are now, on the cusp of a new adventure in Vancouver. After ten years I have officially said goodbye to Calgary. That is now the longest that I have ever lived in one city! I will miss Calgary and the wonderful friends that I made there dearly. However I am very excited for the future and the world that awaits in business school and on the other side. Here is to embracing challenges, joy and opportunities!