From Trailing Spouse to Digital Gypsy

Dec 19, 2016


My  gut wrenched as I told my employer “I’m so sorry, but I have to give you my notice.”  It was 2013, and after nearly a decade as his colleague, I was leaving to follow my husband across the country into the great unknown.

I didn’t want to leave, but the Las Vegas construction industry had taken a nosedive when the Great Recession hit and our family was struggling. My husband had tried to find work in the area, but with no luck. I was working countless hours in the office away from my family and feeling unfulfilled.  Then he was offered a great opportunity in New York, and we both made the decision that he should take it.

Suddenly, I’d gone from having my own career to becoming the trailing spouse. But it’s what our family needed, and it was a sacrifice I had to make. So I quit my job, packed up the boxes and moving truck, and made the 3,000-mile journey in the dead of winter.

Once in New York, I had a tough time finding a job. Besides the fact that I was unfamiliar with the area, many employers were hesitant to hire someone who relocated because of their spouse’s job, thinking what happens should the spouse relocate again?

I learned about WAHVE (Work At Home Vintage Experts) and checked it out. Here was a chance for me to continue my career, but without needing to go to an office.

For me, I felt like I’d struck the life/work balance goldmine. The work environment was remote – I could do my work from my home office, and be home with my husband and children every night for dinner. Plus, I didn’t need a fancy office wardrobe – I didn’t have to buy makeup or grab lunches on the run. No sitting in New York traffic, either. Best of all, my kids didn’t have to go to before/after school care.

Two and a half years later, I was in a routine and living the dream. Then it happened – my husband was transferred again, and within a few weeks he was on his way to California for the next big project. So we packed again.

During this move, I realized how fortunate I was to work from home. The stress of giving notice and finding another job in my field was no longer a burden. I could focus on supporting my husband in his career, and continue to be fulfilled in mine. Plus, moving was made easier – after he’d started his new job, I was available at home to coordinate the movers and the packing. The last thing on the moving truck was my office desk, and the laptop went with me in the car. The entire time, I was able to work and be there for my family, and I didn’t have to sacrifice my profession in order to do that.

My CEO was super supportive of my relocation. Although I was no longer available for face-to-face meetings, our team uses Skype and VOIP phones to stay in touch, and she felt fortunate that she didn’t have to replace me. The entire company works in a virtual environment, so the biggest obstacle was getting used to being in a new time zone.  One coworker thought I was just going on a vacation – the transition was so seamless; he didn’t realize I had moved!

My position at WAHVE has given me a license to roam. Working from my laptop, I refer to myself now as a digital gypsy, with the freedom to travel the country and yet stay connected. Some weeks I’m working in Las Vegas in my home office or kitchen table, and others I work from California. Next month, I’ll work from New York while I visit family and reconnect with friends.  No matter where my new nomadic lifestyle leads me, I can use technology to stay connected and get my work done.

Chrissy Tadlock

Making Wahves

This post is the first in a new series of posts that will highlight members of the WAHVE team.


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