Growing up I watched my Dad get up and go to work every day. Most days he went to work and he was bored. He loved the guys that worked for him, but he wasn’t inspired nor passionate about his job. But that was neither here nor there. The important thing, I was taught, was that he had a job. It didn’t matter if you liked your job or not, you did it because you needed a paycheck to pay the bills and put food on the table. If you were lucky, you made enough to put some in a savings account. You worked because that was what you did, not because you liked what you did. So that is what I did, worked regardless of whether I liked it. Then I met Kevin.
When I met Kevin he had his own business fixing cameras. This was before the digital camera age. Yes, I am old. Anyhoo, until Kevin I had mostly dated professionals. They had college degrees and careers that required them to work during the day. Kevin made his own hours and worked when he wanted. Sometimes he would go into work at 9 p.m. and finish at 3 a.m. During the days he did what he was passionate about – mountain, rock and ice climbing. I remember thinking that there was no way our relationship was going to work. He didn’t have a steady 9-5 job! I couldn’t possibly date someone who just worked whenever he wanted. But I noticed something, he was happy. He liked fixing cameras and the freedom he had. He loved climbing and it meant something to him. I started to realize that maybe he was on to something. As time went on and I saw how happy Kevin was, I realized how miserable I was. I hated my job. I was bored. A couple of years after meeting Kevin we were in Florida on vacation. I sat on the beach and came up with a plan. I was going to go home, quit my job and go back to teaching. And I did. Meanwhile, Kevin’s camera repair business was slowing down and he decided he was going to pursue a career in outdoor recreation, something he loved. And he did. After finishing his masters coursework he got a job at the university where he got his degrees – Eastern Washington University – as a climbing wall manager and climbing instructor.
Kevin, and I’m not just saying this because he’s my husband, is not just a good instructor, he’s an amazing boss. His employees are students and he has a way of inspiring them, teaching them how to be leaders, exposing them to a world they don’t know much about, and cultivating learning within themselves. Recently one of his students told him that when he decided to come to EWU he had no idea what the outdoor program was, but he heard about Kevin and wanted to work for him. Enough said.
Unfortunately, in every job there are politics. EWU isn’t without them. I won’t go into specifics because it isn’t my story to tell, but Kevin hasn’t been happy in his job for a while. If he could just go into work, teach his classes, take students outside to climb and spend time mentoring his staff, he’d be delighted. But other stuff exists that contributes to a work environment that makes him unhappy. Recently, he found out the college was going to restructure his job and essentially make him a 9-5 office guy. No dice. So last week Kevin quit his job. I couldn’t be more proud of him. Does he have a job lined up? Nope. Do I? Nope. Come the end of August we will be unemployed and throwing caution to the wind. It’s frightening and exciting. If my Dad were alive he would be freaking out! For some reason, I’m not. I don’t know where we are going to land, but I don’t care right now. The heavy weight Kevin has been carrying is off his back. That is more important to me than anything.
The future may be unknown but I have a feeling it is going to bring about some much needed changes for the Klim clan. As Ray Bradbury said “You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
Onward we go!