What I Learned When I Became a Dog Walker

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I remember the last day I traveled into an office to work a normal job. I was a Development Manager for a small Montessori school, and while I enjoyed parts of my responsibilities, it was never going to be a good fit. Hours after leaving on my last day on the job, my mind drifted off to what my new life was going to look like. Leisurely morning coffees, afternoon café explorations, nighttime freedoms to do as I pleased… It’s quite possible that at that very moment on that particular day, I found peace in the idea of never having to return to a job.

The morning after, reality returned, and the sinking feeling of failure set in. “How did I let this happen?” was a question I probably asked compulsively for hours. “What the hell are you going to do?” was my runner up question. I realized that I didn’t know how to even approach planning my next steps. And although I’m sure the answers were somewhere inside me, I needed to bring them up to the surface if I was ever going to be happy working again.

So I buckled down on my budget (meaning no happy, midday café hopping), got a gym membership to take care of myself (and lost twenty pounds in the process), and started getting comfortable with the unknown while addressing those pesky good and bad patterns I created in my previous professional life. Eventually I started taking odd jobs when money got even tighter and poof! There I was, walking dogs for a small company based in Wicker Park.

Most of us feel like we need to know it all – that we should have everything about ourselves and our futures figured out all the time. But I began to realize that it’s okay to live in a place where we don’t have all the answers, and that the unknown is actually where the magic of our lives unfolds. As long as you’re taking action to move in the direction of who you are and what you love, you’ll be presented with opportunities that you probably could have never planned for yourself.

And so I find myself telling the same story I’ve told before when I was just walking those dogs. It was during that time I found a very pure and easy sort of happiness. The type of thing where even on the hardest day, the most frustrating day, things were still simple and sort of lovely. And I pictured day after day of doing this forever and I was not only content, I was thrilled.

After nearly two and a half years of living far below the poverty line and barely getting by started Rover-Time. It was time for me to actually make ends meet and after getting married to Mark, I discovered my window of opportunity; and my co-founder was willing to encourage me all the way.

Consequently it’s all working out. I’m nine months in and having never worked harder, I’m still experiencing that “sort of lovely” feeling I had back when my afternoons were spent in dog parks. So I learned to let the unknown unfold when I became a dog walker. And now that I’m a small business owner, I still appreciate those unplanned moments but I am also equally thrilled when my entrepreneurial light flashes on and I take an idea to the next level. Because I can.



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Comments (3)


Thank you for sharing this Julia. Let the unknown unfold!

Finding Focus and Simplicity | Rover-Time Dog Walking & Pet Sitting

[...] liked throwing in personal stories of how I came to know what I know, what I want to know more of, why I do what I do, and how I came to [...]

An Honest Look at Being a Dog Walker | Rover-Time

[…] play groups out of Wicker Park dog park and taking moments to look up and just feel pure happiness (and I’ve written about this before). It was completely different from anything I ever felt at work for anyone else. Dog walking can […]

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