Last summer (2011) I graduated college, got a job, relocated to Downtown/East Village Des Moines, and met Jeremy. I felt like I was thriving in this new and exciting chapter of life - job, apartment with a view of the city, new boyfriend and a life of happiness ahead!
This summer? I was playing a whole new fiddle.
Summer 2012 started out on a very rocky note. In the early part of the summer, I watched two coworkers, also friends, get laid off from my company. One day everything seemed fine, but that same afternoon they were gone and told (for financial reasons) not to come back the next day. My mind started to wander…
It could have been me. It should have been me. I’m not better than those guys. I could be gone tomorrow. I should be gone tomorrow. How much trouble is the company in? Will they find jobs? Will they be able to pay bills? What should I do?
The mood of the company changed. We didn’t know if we’d come to work one day and leave without a job. No one was telling us anything. Disconnect in philosophy and the mission of the company became prevalent. This shook me up.
Right after that all happened, my parents sold my childhood home back in Wisconsin. “An offer they couldn’t resist.” I understood, but as I felt my new chapter in life starting to hit the rocks of uncertainty, I then realized even my safe place of a true “home” was soon to be gone.
Then came August. Usually one of my favorite months of the year - my birthday month! This summer, it took on a new tone.
As I was about to leave work on a Friday afternoon in early August, another coworker and I were asked to come into the CEO’s office. Let’s just say I left that office with a nice letter explaining more financial hard times and a couple of boxes to clean out my desk.
I was officially unemployed. What else? I had to pack up my desk, head straight to the airport for a flight to DC and a weekend with Jeremy.
As I drove to the airport and proceeded on my six hour journey (layovers and delays included), I had a lot of time to think. Here was my thought process (probably in this order too):
As the plane touched down in DC, my mind and body were exhausted, but the tears were done and the fears had subsided. I felt that sense of peace.
I had a great (and much needed) weekend of relaxing, reflecting and even laughing as we saw Jerry Seinfeld do standup comedy. I came home feeling hopeful. This became my anthem for the month of August: I’m hopeful.
Thanks to the networks and great connections I had in Des Moines, I was able to get interviews soon after the layoff and I accepted a new job right before Labor Day weekend.
Overall, life threw me a curveball this summer with lots of stress and emotions flying along with it. Even in the face of fear and doubt, I didn’t let that stop me from moving forward.
I know my story isn’t the norm, and there are a lot of extremely talented people around the country still without jobs. I don’t know their situations, but I know some of the feelings they may have previously felt, or are still feeling.
My takeaway thought would be this: While your mind is drifting through an array of emotions, don’t lose site of the fact that your worth is not tied to an occupation and your life’s journey is not in your hands.
It’s been a crazy summer. One for the books. Happy to report I’m once again employed, still healthy, and a much stronger person today than I was four months ago.
Thanks, Summer 2012.
My 8th Grade social studies teacher passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in probably five years, but the impact he had on my life is one I will never forget.
Mr. Schneider had a reputation in our middle school. He was the crazy teacher who would stand in the hallway between classes yelling “IT’S A GREAT DAY FOR A TEST!!” while clapping his hands. Who the heck was this guy?!
As a seventh grader, I had heard stories of how he would jump on tables, shout with such vigor that you could see spit shoot across the room, and my favorite was the time he got so passionate and excited that he accidentally knocked the window air conditioner out the window only to watch it dramatically crash onto the pavement below.
By the time I became an 8th grader, Mr. Schneider already knew who I was thanks to other students (my older sister) and other teachers … Kelsey Jones: outspoken, politically active teenager who was ready and eager to embark on a political debate with my peers and teachers. He simply smiled, shook my hand the first day of class and said, “Boy oh boy! I’m excited to have you in my class!”
By the end of the first week, I was almost giddy to go to social studies. Learning about our early American history could have been boring, but learning about it from a man full of passion for his job, the subject, and the kids, made it a thousand times better.
One of the things I valued most about Mr. Schneider was his vow to keep his personal politics out of the classroom. I tried desperately to pry it out of him. “PLEASE Mr. Schneider!! Just tell me if you’re a Democrat!” I would beg him after class. He always laughed and refused. He wanted me and others to form our own opinions. I look back on that now and am thankful he never told me (even though I figured it out later). He made it about the issues, the debates, and letting our young minds form our own opinions.
Mr. Schneider helped ignite my passion for politics, but also my passion for people. He encouraged my political fight and fire. He would debate me, send me articles and discuss current events outside of class, while also caring about who I was as a person. This was a sign of a real teacher - wanting to see students develop into who they wanted to become.
I’ll never forget sitting down with him for a book report interview toward the end of the school year. The report went great, but he had more to say to me than asking questions about the book:
Follow your dreams - don’t be silenced - keep educating yourself on the issues - stand up for what you believe in - continue respectful debate - don’t think you can’t do something - You have the ability to do anything.
That conversation will live on with me forever. The essence of Mr. Schneider will live on with me forever. His smile, clapping, yelling, passion for history and politics and words of inspiration have always and will continue to push me towards my goals.
Many others have written and I agree: Mr. Schneider was surely welcomed into heaven with clapping hands, infectious smiles and as much love as he gave out during his time here on earth.
Thank you, Mark Schneider. Thank you for playing an instrumental role in so many lives, for loving and caring about people, and for using your life to help and influence others for the better. Your life, lessons and love will live on through your many family, friends and students.
I hope to also be welcomed into heaven one day just like I was to social studies - my favorite teacher standing outside the door, clapping his hands with an infectious smile and yelling,
“It’s a great day for eternity!”
Not an American Idol fan, but have become addicted to this song. Have you ever been in an unfamiliar place, longing for the feeling of home? Then you meet up with that one friend or complete stranger who can just put you at ease?
“Just know you’re not alone, cause I’m gonna make this place your home.”
(the following was just sent in email to the President, Dean of Students, and Provost)
My name is Seth Hedman, I am a Senior L.P.S. major who also plays on the football team. As a member of several campus organizations, I am writing to inform you about some…
I ran across a couple pictures today of the Kelsey B Jones of yesteryear. Scary thought. The Kelsey B Jones of 20 years ago. Don’t worry, these were the cute pictures before the crazy hair, awkward pre-teen body days.
Looking at that little innocent blonde girl with a huge grin, I had to ask myself:
“Did she know at 4 years old what she would become 20 years later?”
Of course she didn’t. The 4-year-old me wasn’t thinking past her 5th birthday, starting Kindergarten and which dress she could wear the next day. (Right?! There was a short phase in my life when all I wanted to wear were dresses… That ended!) She was shy, loving, a little lippy, funny, curious, and had the whole world in her backyard.
Did she know about how challenging some of her teenage days would be (especially those awkward years)? Did she understand how important her family, friends, teachers and random encounters with strangers were going to be in her life? Did she know yet that her plans of marrying a prince and living in a castle weren’t going to happen?
Did she know that her life would come with experiencing loss, extreme joy, tears, laughter, embarrassment, love and confusion? Did this painfully shy little girl know she’d develop a passion for politics, animals, helping other humans, and communication?
Did she know she’d one day hate herself, judge herself, and not want to look at herself in a mirror without crying? Did she know how incredibly freeing it would be to experience what it means to truly love herself and allow others to love her? Did she know that she was going to meet some of the greatest, most caring and loving people in the world in her high school and college years? Did she know then that her parents (and sister) were going to show her unconditional love even when she was extremely sarcastic, unloving, and withdrawn?
Did she know then how much her heavenly father loved her, knew her, and had a (perfect) plan for her life? Did she know that he had mapped out every single person to put in her path, shape her journey, and draw her closer to him? Did she realize then that in 20 years, her relationship with her creator would be the one stable, constant and most important thing in her life - something way deeper than the occasional Sunday School song or nightly prayer?
Short answer? No.
It’s an interesting feeling to look back on that little girl and realize, “That’s me.”
I look back on 20 years and realize that it took all those experiences to bring me to where I am today. I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m still shy at times, but more outgoing than I ever thought I’d be. I care deeply about people. I want to help them experience love - from other humans and from their heavenly father. I’m still young. I have a lot to live for. I have dreams. I have standards. I have an amazing life.
Dear 4 year old “Kels” - You had a reason to smile so big. You somehow knew that even through all the bad days, 20 years later, you’d have even more reasons to smile.
Now, as for the me of 20 years from now (44 year-old me), let’s hope I can find a good picture to look back on with even more lessons and reasons to smile… :-)
I’ve been reading too many stories about people being unfaithful and even today ran across an article that had “tips” on what to do when your significant other has an affair. Brilliant idea: DON’T CHEAT. This photo caption goes for women, too.