That’s the only word that comes to mind when I try to sum up the last few days… scratch that, last few weeks!
When I took the decision to leave my job as weather specialist and community reporter for Global News in Montreal to become a G.O. for Club Med in Punta Cana, I definitely under-estimated all the emotion that would come with my announcement.
The wave – no, the tsunami- of messages that flooded my social media platforms has been overwhelming. I cannot express how grateful I am to have you all in my life. Viewers, followers, friends, family. Your positive yet saddened reaction has been heartwarming, and it makes leaving so much harder.
Many of you have asked me to keep updating you on my travels with pictures and stories. And because I do want to stay connected to you in some way (and also because I love to tell stories!), I thought I would start this blog. I’ll also keep updating my Facebook page (Jessica Laventure), and my Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (as @jesslaventure).
This Wednesday, I fly out to the Dominican Republic where I will work as a G.O. (which stands for Gentils Organisateur, or Gracious Organizer). My time will be divided between working the front desk of the all-inclusive resort, entertaining guests, performing in nightly shows, and doing anything to make sure everyone is having a fun time.
Most of you tell me it sounds exciting and awesome, and you’ve been so encouraging. But for a lot people around me, the first reaction was: you’re crazy. Which is completely understandable. I’m leaving an awesome job that a lot of people would kill to have, I’m about to experience a pretty big salary drop, and I’m leaving friends and family behind to pursue something that might keep me away for a long time.
Needless to say, I’ve been getting that “why?” quite a bit in the last few days.
I’ve wanted to try this for a long time. Taking off, working abroad, learning about different cultures and traveling the world. I think a lot of people think about doing this, I don’t think I’m unique in that perspective. But I do know there are different constraints: marriage, kids, a mortgage to think about, etc, etc… Not to mention that dropping everything is SUPER scary. Trust me, I know. I’m terrified.
But I’m single. I don’t have kids. No pets even. I do have a mortgage on a condo, but that was easily handled by finding someone who was willing to rent it, fully furnished. My car is fully paid, and my mother is willing to store it in her driveway (thanks Mom!). I won’t be making much money where I’m going, but I won’t be spending either. Everything is taken care of: room, board, activities, uniforms, even medical and dental plans.
The timing is perfect. Everything adds up.
Except for the job I have. Had. I loved this job. I was so happy when I got it that I cried. I remember jumping up and down and running around my Dad’s place like a crazy person. I never negotiated a single thing. I remember Karen, our station manager, telling me over the phone that I had the job if I wanted it and I yelled, “YES! I want it!” And she answered, “but you don’t even know what I’m offering you yet.” And I still said, “doesn’t matter! I want it!” That’s how much I wanted this job.
And it’s been a blast. Really. I’ve met some truly remarkable people, made what I hope will be life-long friendships, and I’ve developed skills that will be useful for life. I’ve learned to ask the right questions, improvise my way through any situation, read people so I can interact with them better, and trust that being myself will almost always work.
I am about to live an experience that is pretty much out of the ordinary, and definitely out of my comfort zone. But I’ll be fulfilling a childhood dream of working abroad, and once again, I’ve had the incredible luck of finding an organization that not only welcomes my crazy, but wants me to make a living entertaining people with it. Yes, I’m leaving a job I love, but I feel like the timing is right for me to try this now.
I hope to see all of you at Club Med Punta Cana in the next few months. For those who can’t make it, you can always come back here to get a taste of the G.O. life. I’ll try to update this as much as possible.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield
OK, then. Here I go.