Wednesday, May 23, 2012


A friend asked me on the phone tonight how work was going? A harmless question, but all I could muster as a response was how awkward it feels being inside those walls. It's like the divorce is finalized but we're still sharing the same house for another two weeks. It's cordial, but distant. Both parties knows the other is down for the count and already thinking about what's ahead. There will be an internal job posting soon to replace me, and I am already planning speaking and farming events for weekdays. We're both moving on.

That doesn't mean it isn't scary. The choice to leave the office is one I believe in with all my heart, necessary on so many emotional, career, and social levels it surprises me it took this long in the first place. And yet there are faces I will dearly miss, memories and laughter, strong friendships and connections. I hope we all stay in touch, and remain close friends. If I don't see folks like James, Andrea, Sarah, Bryan, Chrissy and Tyler I'll be mighty sad.

There's also a lot of stress and fear and mistakes I made at that office. Things I said I can't take back, people I am silently grateful I don't have to see anymore, and half-hearted responsibilities and tasks I long ago lost the fervor to care about.

But that's everyone's story, isn't it? My experiences at my job are just like any high school graduate's, summer camp counselor's, or ex band member after a tour. You love some of it, regret some of it, and miss all of it. A corporate office is just another box of dying animals, people trying so hard to matter and expand, even though they already are beings of expanding matter. Well, it all belongs to the backlist now. And there's no way to grow that don't hurt.

I think I'll be writing about this whole transition a lot. It'll help me ride through it. I hope that is okay, as it isn't really about farming or the farm, but it is about how becoming one changes you. Will that do?


Anonymous Catherine Palmer said...

Congratulations on your decision and best of luck with your new adventures!

May 23, 2012 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger Marcheta said...

That'll do.

May 23, 2012 at 10:04 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

It is definitely about farming. I, for one, need to hear it, probably almost as much as you need to write it.

May 23, 2012 at 10:12 PM  
Blogger Marlo said...

I commend your process and willingness to share it. That'll do well. Away you go!

May 23, 2012 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Feel free to write about the transition. It will be good to read what it takes to be that brave!

May 23, 2012 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger bree said...

Yes, certainly that will do!

May 23, 2012 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

It's hard to make even the transitions we long for. When I was working I wanted nothing more than to stay home with my kids, but once I was home I felt guilty that I wasn't contributing financially anymore. It doesn't help that most of society turns it's nose up at those who don't work within the normal parameters. It literally took me years(which I deeply regret) to finally feel comfortable being a stay at home mom, and truth be told, I work harder now than I ever did at a so call "real job".

My ramblings aside, I'd love to hear more about your transition. In my humble opinion it's as much about the farm as everything else.

May 23, 2012 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger PattyW said...

That'll do woman!

May 23, 2012 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger renate said...

yes, absolutely it'll do! it's all part of the process.

May 23, 2012 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

What your doing is a huge chapter in your life. Your readers care about every part of your life. I hope these next few days fly by for you ☺

May 23, 2012 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Christee said...

Absolutely. I throughly enjoy reading about your day and the stuff that keeps it all stuck together.

May 23, 2012 at 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Dani said...

Transition on. I'm going through something similar. I've given myself three months to make my own living. It's incredibly scary and incredibly exciting.

May 24, 2012 at 12:14 AM  
Blogger Carrie in Wisconsin said...

Jenna, for as long as you've been writing this blog since I've been reading(must be going on 2 or 3 years here) you've shared a lot that maybe wasn't farming related....So, no worries! We enjoy hearing about it. Hugs! :)

May 24, 2012 at 12:19 AM  
Blogger KiwiGirl said...

Provided it's looking at the positives, go for it. That office job has kept you afloat for quite some time, so I wouldn't kick it too hard.

May 24, 2012 at 1:50 AM  
Blogger Ivanhoe said...

I actually skip over the lengthy posts that are about particular details of farming (but I know they're wonderful and valuable for most of your audience). My favourite posts are the ones that can apply to anything, where you relate farming to other activities. I'd personally love to hear about the transition, as I'm in a similar situation!

May 24, 2012 at 2:09 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

It's the transition-period that most of us are most scared off. Maybe you can lead the way?!?

May 24, 2012 at 3:41 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

It will definitely do.

May 24, 2012 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

I went through the same thing 6 years ago when I left my job of 18 years. For the first 15 years, I was passionate about my job and then people that I worked with moved on and new people came in. Unfortunately, several created problems and, in turn, animosity. I couldn't wait to leave but I had to hang in there for 3 more years until I got my financial ducks in a row. I felt like I had abandoned my ship at sea but realized that that I will always remember fondly the first 15 years of that job and that it abandoned me for the last 3 years. I just found a life raft. You can talk all you want about leaving your job ~ we all have been through that (good or bad).

May 24, 2012 at 5:41 AM  
Blogger kwdiving said...

Write whatever strikes you as worth writing. It is your blog. We choose to read or not to read. Personally I am inspired by your changes and challenges. If we don't try new things, we stagnate. Keep trying and don't be afraid to ask for support. Best wishes

May 24, 2012 at 5:46 AM  
Blogger kwdiving said...

It is your blog, write about whatever you feel the need to write about. We can choose to read or not. Personally, I am glad to read about your changes and challenges. I find your blog inspiring. Some times we all need a little kick in the butt to get us moving. I thank you for that. Live your life the way you feel is right for you and don't be afraid to change. Without change, we stagnate. And that is never good for anyone.

May 24, 2012 at 6:04 AM  
Blogger Fresh Eggs Farm said...

Jenna...this blog is your story...whether it is about farming, gardens, livestock or work and your decision to leave your job. Write it and we will read it.

May 24, 2012 at 6:38 AM  
Blogger Kelpie and Collie said...

Something tells me Jenna, you will be fine.

May 24, 2012 at 7:00 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Leaving a job is like walking a don't want leave things unsaid for your own mental health but then you dont' want to burn bridges either. I always hope to go out with grace and dignity. I left my fulltime job in 2005. I have been "called back" on 3 occassions to fill in for maternity leaves or during job searches when the company couldn't find the right person, etc... Each time I agreed to come back. Each time I needed the money and it was a big help to support my goals of a farm. Each time I did the job to the best of my ability and left with good relationships intact. It is important in a small community to get along as those ex-employers may some day be your customers. I'm sure you know this and will use full professionalism in leaving. Wishing you the best. And I never regretted leaving:)

May 24, 2012 at 7:33 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

Jenna, your heart IS the farm. So whatever spills from it onto this blog is fitting. Bring it...

May 24, 2012 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger concertoinv said...

I agree with so many other readers. This is your blog about your life, farming and/or otherwise. We choose to read and most of us read because we find your adventures fascinating. Please share whatever you'd like about this time in your life. It is relevant to the person you are the farmer/writer you are striving to be!

May 24, 2012 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger Matt_Middleton said...

Having changed jobs every year or two, I'm very familiar with that feeling. It can be really difficult, because you are really excited about the upcoming adventure, but you don't want to make your co-workers feel like you don't value the experiences you had with them. That being said, it sounds to me like you've made the right decision, so good for you! :D

May 24, 2012 at 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Patsy from Illinois said...

That'll do Jenna, that'll do.

May 24, 2012 at 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Patsy From Illinois said...

That'll do Jenna, that'll do.

May 24, 2012 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger you can take the girl out of the country but.... said...

I am particularly interested in the details of your transition because it is something I want to do but haven't got the guts yet. I am a high school teacher but dream of starting a sustainable CSA Co-op of sorts. The problem is that I have three kids, am a female with a female partner and we don't want to move to a place where there is more close-mindedness (as are the more rural areas in South Jersey where we could afford land). I was hoping that you would write about the transition.

May 24, 2012 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger you can take the girl out of the country but.... said...

I am hoping that you will write about the details of the transition because it is something that I want to do but haven't had the guts yet. I have a comfortable job teaching high school science in a Quaker school but I dream of starting a sustainable, CSA co-op farm that supplies participants with vegetables, meat, eggs and dairy products. The problem is I have three kids, am a female with a female partner, and we don't want to move to a more close-minded area (as are some of the more rural places in South Jersey where we could afford land). We have to take into account our mental well being and that of our children. So bring on the transition details and maybe it will inspire me.

May 24, 2012 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

I am reminded of a scene I saw play out one day at Kinko's. I was waiting in line to laminate something behind a man in a flashy business suit talking in a raised voice on his cell phone. Office talk.
The woman at the laminating machine had a little girl with her, probably about 3 or 4 years old. They were laminating something the girl drew as a present for "grandma". The conversation was cute and the girl was having a ball.

Of course, it took longer than it should have.

The man was visibly irate and interrupted his phone call long enough to rudely bark at the lady and her child "How much longer is this going to take lady! I have important things to do!" He then went on jabbering into his cell phone after giving the woman a nasty look.

The woman very calmly turned to face him and stared at him until he finally hung up the phone. Then she said, very sweetly, "I am so sorry. I did not realize that you needed to laminate the plan for world peace."
He left.
Everyone clapped.

What people think is important because of what we have been told for so long is really just a bunch of hot air and middle men.

I look forward to reading about your transition.

May 24, 2012 at 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

I just read Barmheart . . . I mean Barnheart :) and just loved it--such a fun read! I was thrilled to find out you are a young author, too, and am looking forward to being one of your regular blog readers.

May 24, 2012 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger greendria said...

YES - please please write about the transition! So much of my identity is tied up in my career, yet so much more of my heart is tied up in my land. I need to hear about how you do it.

May 24, 2012 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Writing about the transitions is a healing in and of itself. We're here for you, so pour out your heart and figure things out as you write. You can still design from CAF. That's just a change in geography.

Let us be present for you as you have been present for us in our hopes and aspirations.

May 24, 2012 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger Elaine said...

the hardest thing is the world is to complete those 2 week's notice at a job you are finishing up ... you're heart and mind have raced ahead to your new life, your new challenge, and your feelings of responsibility to those you are leaving behind help you to continue... good luck to you, Jenna. I was laid off a job that I hated and it was the best gift I've ever been given, despite the uncertainties of the future.

May 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Christine said...


May 24, 2012 at 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Lynda said...

Yes, please, write about the process.

May 24, 2012 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I will love you writing about this.
Love all that you write.

Very proud for you Jenna.


May 24, 2012 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

If you had no sad feelings about leaving your job then you would have wasted your time there. To miss a place or a job means that you did something worth while. Very happy to hear about the jorney.

May 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Woman Seeking Center said...

I think it would be incredibly useful to share your transition here for everyone, yourself and readers alike!

Having been thru two very similar sorts of life changing transitions (corp to self sustaining work/career and "originally planned life" to farm life) I think insights you share will be astoundingly valuable.

The phase you're about to begin is dynamic and dramatic, intimidating yet exhilarating! In all large life choices there always comes the time/point where you inventory your heart, your soul and then choose: stay or leap. Stay safe and wither or LEAP with skill & hope as your anchor and passion as your parachute to soften the harder days....

One thing I believe with every fiber of my being is that for many of us never trying/never knowing is a slow life robbing personal death. Always wondering being far more difficult to deal with than trying, seeing, knowing for certain.

Personally I'm betting you'll leap successfully and well :-)

(ps sorry to have rambled on so long)...

May 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger Katie Swanberg said...

I can't wait to hear all about it. Write what you need to, your core audience will follow you. Folks that balk aren't your core audience!

May 24, 2012 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger jules said...

Writing is what you do. This transition is an important part of what you are doing to further your chosen path in life.

Write on girl!

May 24, 2012 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger jules said...

Writing is what you do. This transition is an important part of what you are doing to further your chosen path in life.

Write on girl!

May 24, 2012 at 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! Write about the transition, maybe it will embolden me to make one! I have not nearly the courage you do.



May 24, 2012 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

Reading about transitions is just as interesting as the farming stuff.
Coincidentally, just today visited my former job, one that I really loved. I'm still in touch with several of the people there, and while it was hard to leave, I'm glad I'm no longer there. Those uncomfortable feelings may take a while to go away, but I guarantee that the issues attached to them will become less important to you as as time goes on.

May 24, 2012 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Melina said...

I would love to hear about it.

May 24, 2012 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Melina said...

I would love to hear about it.

May 24, 2012 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger karen said...

I love all your posts-keep writing what is in your heart, it is why we visit here. i left the corporate world 14 years ago and it took a while to let it all go but I did. You will miss your friends and the ones that are really your friends will still be there for you. Following your heart and passion is the right thing to do!

May 24, 2012 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Absolutely! Anything you write about is always interesting.

May 24, 2012 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Tora Consolo said...

Absolutely Jenna, this is YOUR BLOG! We come here to rad about your life. Not just the farm and the animals but the life that goes along with it. You don't have to ask us for permission.

May 24, 2012 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Michelle Huddleston said...

It sort of sounds like you didn't want to leave. I hope you thought it through? You are so awesome, and such a great example to a lot of people. I hope you are happy!

May 24, 2012 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger ladyfarrier said...

".... A corporate office is just another box of dying animals,"


May 25, 2012 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger spike said...

"there's no way to grow that don't hurt" that is so true. I'm stealing it as my new mantra. I can relate to this transition. I left my desk job in 08. I still design on a contract/freelance basis which I imagine you can always do too. But, I no longer care about design awards or big titles. You already know what is important in life and I'm sure your heart will expand so much with this change. You are making room for much more in your life. Just watch.

May 25, 2012 at 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Jenna,

I have been lucky enough to have two short semi-retirements in my life so far (I'm only in my mid-30's). The first one was not by choice (layoffs). The second one was. I'm back at a full-time job currently. I like the money, and the conditions are agreeable.

I wanted to caution you about something I never expected to happen during my jobless times. The first month is GREAT! The second month of being jobless is Good. By the third month, I started to feel like I'd lost a piece of my identity. I started to feel useless to the world, out of sync, and depressed. Now, I have never been one to love working in an office or any job. So, I was surprised when I became listless and depressed without that.

The second go around, I sort of knew what to expect, so I braced myself and tried to incorporate more "stimulation" and people-oriented activities. It worked for a while. But, six months down the line, I was seriously going crazy. It's also tough when everyone around has to go to work every day, all day.

What I found is, the self-dictated tasks I gave myself were simply not enough. We all need a little external stress in our lives. People don't normally think of stress as being healthy. But, in small doses, it is.

Your animals will be a reason for you to get out of bed and keep a routine. That's good. But, please make sure you see people every day if you can. Also, it would be good for you to set your goals high for speaking engagements and writing tasks to give yourself some challenges and responsibilities. It will do you a lot of good.

And, don't be mad at yourself if/when a few months down the road the isolation starts to set in. Be proactive. And, best wishes! I'm proud for you!

May 25, 2012 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Colleen Mole said...

Of course you can! Don't be silly. We're here to support you hon.
(Besides I secretly dream of escaping my cubicle and its good to read about a fellow sufferer who's made the leap!)

May 25, 2012 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Meagan said...

My friend, I would expect nothing less: YOU are the farm, and this blog, and the memories of your job, and Gibson sitting politely. There is no separating one from the other, despite our human inclination to compartmentalize our experiences into nicely labeled boxes. Your emotions transcend the words you choose to communicate with us; you'd be telling us the story even without wanting to. Thus, I appreciate your honesty! I look forward to seeing how you succeed with the challenge that set me back that one time. But I am still here, as are you, I have no doubts about that!

May 26, 2012 at 2:12 PM  

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