Monday, August 5, 2013

Big News: Tim's Officially Full Time!

We interrupt this week's regular Weekend Basics post to bring you some big news we've been eager to share here on the blog for quite sometime now!

Today marks the first day I can call myself a full time blogger and freelance food writer.

I've quit my corporate day job in order to pursue my passion for food, sustainable living and creative projects. While it's a big leap, this of course wasn't a light (or easy) decision made quickly — it's something we've dreamed about, planned for and the timing was finally right. Over the past 3 years, nurturing the growth of our blogs has taught me so much and as I continued to see opportunities for growth, it was time to make the final call on whether or not to dive in full steam ahead or continue as we have been with the blogs as our creative hobby. So, I'm taking the leap.

I never would have imagined that at 47 years old I'd be leaving my full time job in pursuit of full time blogging — heck, blogging didn't even exist when I joined the work-field back in the 80's. Even if it had, I might have been the first one to laugh if you'd told me this would be the career path I'd be so enthusiastic and dedicated to pursue.

As many of you know, Mary works in Marketing for Etsy — a job and company she wakes up excited about everyday and gets creative inspiration and fulfillment from. Over the past 3 years she's really helped encourage my own creative pursuit and helped me realize that chasing my own dreams by carving out a little corner of the food world really was possible.

While I won't be headed into a regular office setting for set hours any longer, I know the work involved in this new creative pursuit will require long hours and a new kind of dedicated attention. Instead of churning away in a corporate setting, I'll be challenging myself to work more independently, sustainably and authentically — as the best version of myself. The hard work ahead is something I'm really excited about, and I feel a new sense of motivation for the challenges to come. What this does mean is I will now have the quality time to dedicate to cooking, photography, writing and all the projects we've tackled here on 17 Apart without cramming them into the weekend and evenings. It should mean more projects and fun posts all around — which Mary and I are both really excited about.

While some major changes will be taking place in our regular routine, we’re looking forward to making it work and learning from this new opportunity and experience.

Image by Tori Watson of Marvelous Things Photography

To provide a little background, for 25+ years I've worked in the corporate world for the electrical business. Fresh out of high school I worked my way up from a residential electrician to working as an electrician in the the industrial market. Realizing I did not want to be 40 and walking around with a pair of Klein's in my pocket, I got into sales which I have loved for a very long time — eventually working in management for an electrical distributor for a fortune 500 company. While it's something I was (and am) very good at, my passion has always surrounded food. I always like to joke that I was born hungry. I'd simply been accustomed to the idea that being a self-taught home cook wasn't something I could create a career out of, that it would always be my creative outlet. I honestly never would have imagined that writing about the things I love would be of interest to others. It wasn't until the past few years with the growth of social media and blogging that I realized pursuing this passion was viable.

As you can imagine, after 18 years of working in an office setting, I've truly developed a second family of sorts with all my corporate coworkers and saying goodbye has been bittersweet. I've learned so much from each of the people I worked with on a daily basis, but I know we will keep in touch and have their enthusiastic support in chasing my dreams.

I've really been so pleasantly surprised by all the well wishes and support. Messages from members of my work family like the one I received below are really what drive my interest and passion for gardening, eating and cooking at home, supporting local farmers and food purveyors:


I did feel a nervous sense of release as I pressed the delete button on my corporate email account — those of you addicted to checking your work email on your smartphone like I did will know what I mean!


Although excitedly nervous about this new career choice, I feel a new drive, motivation and passion to make it work. As I write this post, it's a weird feeling not having had to wake to the sound of the alarm and head into the office for the regular Monday start to the work week. Creating a new schedule will be a challenge I'm looking forward to.

Logistically, I'll be writing full time now for my personal blog, E.A.T., along with other regular food columns (like Lot18 and Relay Foods) and freelance opportunities that crop up now that I have more time to dedicate to writing and photography. In addition to food writing, you'll find more posts and projects from me here on 17 Apart, I'll be maintaining our Vintage Etsy shops and taking on responsibilities in shipping, social networking and communications for Mary's jewelry Etsy shop. If that weren't enough, some of you know I sit on the Board of Directors for the Richmond Food Coop — an organization I couldn't be more passionate and eager to help get off the ground. My work there will continue to grow and change as we get closer to opening a local space.

Volunteering is something near and dear to Mary's and my hearts, though I'll admit it's not something we've actively made ample time for. Now that we're making time through this new venture, starting this Wednesday I will be volunteering at FeedMore, our local food bank of sorts, which serves up to 3,500 meals a day to the #RVA community and surrounding areas. Everything I know about food and the industry has been self taught, so apart from the obvious joys of volunteering, I'm really looking forward to learning more about the best practices and goings-on behind a full scale industrial kitchen.


For those wondering how to help and support this new venture moving forward —your readership is what keeps us going! Without you, none of this would be possible and we are forever grateful for those of you that follow along with our regular going-ons, no matter how much it surprises us that you do. If you feel so inclined, sharing our blog with your friends or a particular post you find interesting on your social networks always goes a long way. Most of all, we are just looking forward to continuing the conversation with all of you right here, as we always have.

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A note from Mary: I can’t wait to see where this new journey takes us and we are both excited to let it unfold here on the blog. On that note, Tim and I are so appreciative to each of you that have popped in to read a post or come back on a regular basis to keep up with what’s going on in our little corner of the world. Your readership has been a key factor in helping us take the leap into this next stage and we hope you’ll continue to stick around to see all the plans and projects we’ve got up our sleeves now that there’s a little more time in the day.
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One thing's for sure, this guy is beyond happy he gets to spend more time with Daddy throughout the day:

Image by Tori Watson of Marvelous Things Photography

So, that's our big announcement. We welcome your questions in the comments section below and look forward to what comes from this new chapter!

Keep the conversation going with plenty of places to find us:

35 comments:

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. I also did get your email and will look into that also. I am headed over to check out your blog tonight!

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  2. Congrats on following your dream! Look forward to your being a full-timer!

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  3. So happy to read this. I have been reading for quite some time already and your posts are always interesting and honest! So many times I have wished I was closer to Richmond to follow some of your suggestions on where to buy fresh produce, etc. Even though I will be a supporter from afar (Brussels, Belgium!) I wish you the best. Oh, and I like everything on your blogs: food, DIY but overall, the 'sustainable living' part. So important nowadays!

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    1. Thank you so much Maria such a compliment! If we are ever in Brussels we will look you up and you do the same if travels bring you state side!

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  4. What fabulous news - congrats!

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  5. wow,
    you are so brave Tim!
    congrats on your new life. I am sure you'll handle it.
    Love your blog and the way you are making things with all details and care and lucky us to read you more often :)
    Bests from Istanbul

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    1. Thank you for reading and for the kind words of encouragement!

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  6. Good for you! Congratulations! You're such a good model for us to do what we love for a living.
    I'll be following your blog still!

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    1. Thank you Carolyn so happy to have you as a reader!

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  7. Yes, congratulations on following a dream! :)

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  8. Way to go Tim. And dear Mary !


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    1. Thank you for following along in our little world!

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  9. It's a brave step to nurture your creative spirit and make a living at the same time. And in the end, there's nothing more important. I'm living proof of that.

    And, in a few years when Danny is through with college Bob will be joining me in the business full time.

    We wish you all the best.
    xo

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    1. Thank you for the inspirational message and for being a faithful reader!

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  10. Congrats, Tim! What a wonderful change... live the dream, live the dream! So excited for you both as I know you will only bring more positive inspiration to your home, community, and readers! Enjoy your new adventure, you deserve it!

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  11. That's awesome news Tim! Good for you! Too many talented people get caught up in the 'what if's' and just can't bring themselves to leave a secure job, in exchange for a chance to make a living by what they are passionate about! Myself included. :-) We are taught to look before we leap, but sometimes you just have to stop looking, stop mulling it over, and jump. We spend so much of our life at work, so why not spend that time doing what you love and what fulfills you? I wish you all the best on this new leg of your journey and can't wait to see your future posts!

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    1. Thank you Alanna and yes we are definitely taught that. Sometimes you just have to do it!

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  12. Congrats on taking the leap! I'm sure you'll do an amazing job at it :)

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  13. Congratulations Tim! how exciting!

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  14. congratulations!!! I love your 17apart blog and the E.A.T. one too. Can't wait to see how the locker/table turns out. Basil looks elated to be with you, silly me, I thought maybe your "news" was of the pitterpatter of little feet kind!!! LOL

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    1. HaHa Judy thanks for this message we both laughed!

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  15. Congratulations!!! I am thrilled for you (both) and excited to see where your full-time passions lead you. How fabulous to breathe easy and to wake up ready to enjoy, create, and fulfill.

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  16. That's awesome news, you guys! If you choose a job you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life, right? :)

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  17. That's so exciting! Congratulations, and I hope that things unfold for you in delightful ways.

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