Yes, it’s scary, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need.
Yesterday was my last day as the food editor at HONOLULU Magazine.
I’ve been at the magazine for just over three years, covering everything from new restaurants opening to the farmers who grow the food we’re eating. I’ve eaten alcohol-infused fro-yo, fried chicken drenched in adobo butter and a teppanyaki dinner that cost $200—without drinks.
I had never, ever planned to be a food writer. (Read this.) I like to eat food and make food—but I never really thought about critiquing food. To me, food, in its many incarnations, is subjective. You like what you like. You hate what you hate. That’s it. I mean, how can I be an objective food writer if I’m partial to mayo and loathe peas?
Then again, how could I complain, either?
My job is to eat and write about it. I get paid to try out new restaurants or talk story with some of the most interesting, hard-working people around. It’s really not a bad gig.
So why in the world would I quit?
It’s not the job that I’m quitting. It’s not the company or my co-workers. I left because I needed to. I wanted to do something different, challenge myself, get outside my comfort zone. While I can’t say right now what, exactly, that new gig is, I can say I’ll still be writing—and I’ll still be working at the same company. (Just a different magazine.)
I could never do the same job for the rest of my life. In fact, if you look back at my work experience, I’ve done everything from making bouquets at a florist to working in an accounting department to assisting on a marine conservation campaign for a nonprofit. And I enjoyed all of it.
I like learning new things, working with new people, seeing jobs and companies evolve—and, even better, seeing people evolve. There’s nothing more gratifying that watching co-workers get promoted or move on, quit and start businesses or families or travel the world. Life has to keep moving forward, and we all need to ride the changing tides.
The one thing, though, that I’ve done the entire time, no matter where I’ve worked or what title I’ve had, is write. I love writing. I always have. From the time I could—around second grade—I penned stories. About horses, about magic dragons, about three fish with Chinese names. That has never changed.
And with this new job, that won’t change, either. I’ll still be writing—just not so much about food. And I’m looking forward to it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love sampling new menu items and interviewing the passionate people behind all the restaurants, bars and bakeries I’ve covered. And I’ll still be doing that—just not exclusively. (More to come, I promise!) But I needed to step outside the confines of food and write about other experiences, get uncomfortable and, in doing so, grow as a writer and person.
At least that’s my intention.
It was incredibly hard to walk away from such an enviable job, one that came with great medical benefits and an expense account. And I got to work with a pretty amazing team over the last three years: art directors who are incredibly creative and work longer hours than anyone else because they care about their work; talented writers who love to help, share and collaborate; editors who only want you to be better and write the stories you’re passionate about. I have made friendships with many of my co-workers—including an entire cadre of millenials—who are compassionate, funny, loyal and aggressively fun-loving. These people have been there for me through everything: the stress from audits, a tough pregnancy, my transition to motherhood, and all the ear infections, concussions, migraines and hospital visits I’ve had in three years. They have been so kind to me, throwing me baby showers, writing me cards when I’m stressed, buying Landon random gifts just because they were thinking about him, sewing me squids made out of socks, putting chocolate on my desk because they know I love it. And there were A LOT of hugs. You don’t find co-workers like these very often.
The good news is I’ll still be working with them, though not as closely as I was before. But we’ll still meet for lunch and take breaks to 7-Eleven. That’s made this decision a little easier, for sure.
So stay tuned! I’ll have more to announce soon. But just know, it’s all good.