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Twenty years in California - the funcrunch files

Aug. 10th, 2012 09:06 am Twenty years in California

Twenty years ago this month, I moved from Pittsburgh, PA to Berkeley, CA to begin graduate school at the UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law. This move was just two months after my graduation from Northwestern University, in Evanston, IL. I moved into student-run co-op housing. It was a strange and exciting new place.

Little did I know that only a couple of months later I would drop out of school due to illness (chronic fatigue syndrome). The following year was difficult, trying to work full-time at clerical jobs on campus while having very little energy. Meanwhile, having decided law school was not for me, I decided to apply to library school, but the Cal program was closed for two years to modernize the curriculum.

By that time I was feeling better and too used to earning money to go back to school. I found a new career in tech support and, later, web development, working at Cal for five years and then UCSF for ten. I married, divorced, moved from Berkeley to El Cerrito to Albany back to Berkeley and finally to San Francisco with boyziggy, who I then married.

After my third and final web development job at UCSF proved too much to handle, I quit, took some time off, and started a freelance photography business. While rewarding in some ways, this proved to be a bad career move as it relied much more on sales and marketing than on actual photography skills. This month I officially stopped taking on new clients.

I'm now entering the next phase of my life, focusing on providing food to the hungry. I'd already been volunteering with Food Not Bombs for over a year, cooking and sharing vegan food. I'm now taking on additional volunteer duties at the Free Farm and Free Farm Stand, where I help grow the food as well as distribute it. Eventually I may need or want to seek conventional paid work again, but for now I am happy and lucky to be in a place, thanks to boyziggy's steady employment, that I can volunteer my time to help people in need, and do so in a way that aligns perfectly with my values.


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Date:August 10th, 2012 04:35 pm (UTC)
Best of success in this new phase - it sounds great :)
Date:August 10th, 2012 05:00 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! I wish I had the means and wherewithal to take some time off from the corporate world and do exactly what I want to do. I'd probably volunteer at theaters all the time and write musicals and teach shows if I could.
Date:August 10th, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
Congrats lop. I'm happy to see you busy doing something that really has a direct positive affect on other people's lives.
Date:August 11th, 2012 02:21 am (UTC)
This is an interesting summary, thank you for posting. Good luck with this next phase!