Keeping Up With the Family: The Job Edition

Two months ago, when I was pulled my little car into Clark County, Washington, I was unemployed, with no prospects. After about two days of catching up on sleep, food, water, and copious hugs, I sat on my bed, opened my laptop, and began the arduous task of job-hunting.

Days later, after my third or fourth interview, my Dad and I had a heart-to-heart in which he essentially said, “Even if it takes more time than we had expected, your mother and I would rather you wait for the RIGHT job instead of just settling for any job that comes along, just so you can have income.” That conversation really changed my mindset and the job-hunting process for me. I became pickier about where I applied and I prepared myself mentally for a longer period of unemployment.

Then, I got a call. I was invited for an interview at an office where, as soon as I arrived, I felt like I belonged. I interviewed with a panel who so impressed me that I knew I would enjoy working with them. And after another interview and a couple of weeks, I got THE CALL.

I had mentally prepared myself for a long period of unemployment, but I’m pleased to say that I’ve made it half way through the second week of my new job. It’s not a job I settled for. It’s a job I’m pleased and privileged to have, at an office with people I enjoy, and work I believe in. I already feel at home there and can see myself thriving there, long-term.

I have no complaints about being back at work. There have, however, been a few challenges. (I like to think of them as “character-building experiences.”)

Getting out of bed at 6:30 AM has been a challenge. I had to laugh when, on my second day of work, my boss came into the office and said, “Oh, I see you’re a morning person.” Actually, I’m not. But evidently, I fake it well.

Another challenge has been wardrobe. I’ve never been what one could call “fashionable.” Add to that the fact that 90% of the clothes I own are in storage in Burlington, NC. And I’m struggling on a daily basis to look more like a staff member in a university president’s office than the students we serve. Thankfully, my Mom sent me a couple of outfits in a care package this week. (Yay Mom!)

The most character-building of experiences has been the commute home each day. I live in Washington and work in Oregon. The drive each morning is a quick one—about twenty minutes across the bridge and into the city. But on the way home, I’m just one of a million cars trying to cram onto I-205N to get back into Washington for the night. Suddenly, a twenty-minute commute turns into thirty or forty-five minutes. Or, one day, an hour and a half. The lessons I’ve learned from this are that you must keep your gas tank full and have a snack in your purse. Also, I will be asking Santa Claus for books on CD this year for Christmas.

(Please note that the picture on this post is a picture I took in traffic. I thought it was fitting, since I’ve spent SO much time in traffic the past couple of weeks. Oh, heck, the last couple of months. I feel like I must also add the disclaimer that I was NOT the one driving when this particular picture was taken. And yes, that is Mt. Hood in the distance.)

Throughout the entire transition from my NC life to my Pacific Northwest life, I have found an incredible amount of support from other people. I have never been good at asking for help, but in this transition, I’ve had no choice. And at times, help has arrived that I didn’t even know I needed until it arrived. It has been the ultimate character-building experience of my life thus far.

While I can’t name everyone, there are so many who have shared their strength, love, and hope with me along the way. I thank you all, but I decided there are a few of you that I especially want to thank for being amazing…

My parents have sacrificed more to make my dreams come true than I ever could have imagined. And they have given me far more than I can ever sufficiently thank them for – not the least of which is the care package I received this week with House Autry hushpuppy mix and REAL grits! (Who wants some cheesy grits casserole this weekend?!)

On the day I made my decision to move, I cried out to my friend, Andy, and said, “Have I lost my mind?!” He calmly and confidently responded, “No. You’ve found it.” And ever since that moment, he has proceeded to walk with me, sometimes literally and physically, every tiny baby step of the way from where I was that day to where I am today.

My friends Don and Morgan opened their home and their family to me and made the way for me to come west. They said, “You have too much to offer, to possibly fail. We believe in you and will support you. And no matter what, we love you.”

As I struggled with facing life in a city so far from home, my friends Malcolm and Chris helped me to face my fears, worries, and doubts. They have counseled me, challenged me, laughed with me, and held me while I’ve cried. (Then made me laugh again.) They took a city that wasn’t home and made it home. And they became my brothers.

Speaking of brothers…

Tim’s calm, level-headedness and his willingness to give me hugs keeps me sane…

Nick continues to give me new perspectives on life – challenging me some days and making me laugh on others. Honey, I don’t know what I did to deserve your friendship, but whatever it was, I’m glad of it!

And last, but not least, I want to thank Barbara C., Rick, and Vicky – back in NC. Thank you for missing me. And for not being afraid to tell me so. It means a lot to me. More than I can say, in fact.

And that’s what’s been happening here—

With much love,



About Sarah Salter


  1. I feel you on the grits, girl. Instant ain’t the same, know what I mean? 🙂
    I finally discovered Polenta, which is basically yellow corn grits masquerading as some fancy Italian product. See if you can find it – it’ll satisfy that grits craving anyday!
    And my mama STILL sends me jars of Duke’s mayonnaise!

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    LOL! Megan, one of my biggest shocks out here was NOT being able to find Mt. Olive pickles in the grocery stores. Seriously? Everybody knows that Mt. Olive pickles are the #1 pickles in the US!

  3. I missed this when you posted it, but let me just say how proud I am of you and your journey. It takes a lot of strength to leave what you know and strike out into uncertain territory.

    -Proud big brother

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Tim, your friendship and your support is part of what made it possible. I have always known that I could count on you for encouragement, hugs, and a listening ear. I haven’t always had that. Or known how to accept that. Thank you for helping me along the way!

  5. Uncle Lee says:

    Great story….and it continues each day. Aunt Becky and I are so very proud of what you have accomplished in such a short time. Best of luck to you in your new job. We are glad that you found such a good fit. And yes, your parents ARE amazing. I think I have learned more about them from these last few months than ever before. I am proud of them TOO! Keep the updates coming. Love ya, Uncle Lee and Aunt Becky

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Uncle Lee, when I told my parents I was moving, I was pretty sure they were going to think I’d completely lost my mind. Once I’d convinced Mama I wasn’t kidding, they dove in headfirst. I’ve had no greater cheerleaders than they are. 🙂

    And thank you! I always remember that the Brady’s are in my corner. 🙂

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