On my lunch break, I walk the acceptance letter to the HR building. Yes, the Human Resource process took three weeks to get my paperwork navigated through the system, however I finally received an offer for a better variation of my job, from my current employer. As of this week, it’s official: I got a promotion to that of Web Services Manager.

Starting a new job is always scary, or at least for me it’s always scary. It’s like the first day of school ~ Sean Maher

With a generalized sense of literary purpose, I’m mostly randomly typing words, wondering what the angle of this story will be in its final form. I think back to the related stories—literally documenting the thought process of Where I Was Before to Where I Am Now—published thus far: The Road (More or Less) Traveled; Old Dog, New Tricks, and Well-Worn (Semi-Lucky) Socks; Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try; Challenging the Unknown; or Unrealized Potential of Tomatoes, among others.

All of those stories explored the virtual ping pong match in my mind: “Should I get a better job?” vs. “Can’t I be content with the job that I have?”. Honestly, that was a difficult few months, and it didn’t seem like there was a clear answer to be found. I suppose the angle to today’s narrative lies somewhere in between the two opposite points.

I never wanted a different job—see Contentment and the Pursuance Thereof—and from Day One I enjoyed everything about the position, including: the work, the problem solving, the university environment, and my co-workers. Benefits, retirement contributions, and generous vacation time allotment were all legitimate hooks in the full-time deal. There was also an added benefit of sending my kids to college for free, and (more than anything) that remained my sole objective in working for a university.

The challenge, all along, was that the paycheck was never enough to cover the cost of a home, one new car, two private educations, and three hungry, growing kids. The work-around for my specific challenge was to maintain a steady portion of freelance work, claiming that income as the stop-gap financial solution. What I didn’t foresee was the added problem of maintaining client relationships, seeking new projects, performing freelance work on weekends and evenings, and still clocking into a full-time job. To say it was difficult would be an extreme understatement. Eventually, the reality of repeated who-will-we-choose-to-not-pay-this-month conversations began to weigh heavily on me, prompting a career change of one form or another, albeit reluctant change.

I don’t believe that this public forum warrants a blow by blow account of how I got a promotion, and if you want to know just ask me, but this is the important, take-away nugget for today…

…you are always entitled to try and improve your life and the life of your family, and—as a matter of fact—you should be doing this on a daily basis.

I don’t live an extravagant life, own Top-Shelf Anything, indulge in intercontinental vacationing, or dress like the Prince of Persia; however, the one focus in my life that demands and deserves my utmost attention is that of my children. I try to make each day about them, while making choices that will benefit them and their future.

I believe this is the responsibility of every parent, but—more specifically—the obligation of every father. Speaking to fathers (or even potential, future dads), your life is not all about you, your own private collection of toys, or the list of things in this world that bring you joy. Truth bomb, sorry.

Raising, educating, feeding, clothing, encouraging, disciplining, and loving on your family with everything you’ve got in your emotional tank: that’s the role of a parent, and sadly some parents haven’t figured that out. Don’t misunderstand me: that previous statement doesn’t mean that your kid is entitled to materialistic gratification. I’m not suggesting that you seek a better job so that you can buy your kid two pair of Air Jordon XXXII or the latest iPhone X.

Starting a new job can be nerve-racking , but it’s also exciting. You’re embarking on a new future, positioning yourself to write a fresh story on a clean slate ~ Adena Friedman

At this juncture, I intend to start afresh, anew, hence the image for today is a snapshot of my office workspace. Our small department is growing, anticipating two new employees in the next year, and existing employees are getting shuffled from one office to another. My boss, formerly known as my office roommate, has relocated to a new office, down the hallway. A co-worker is moving into the vacant space on the opposite side of the partition.

With the occupational reboot, I determine that this is the perfect time to rearrange my workspace. I found some extra office furniture, from other locations, and pieced together a new desk with more surface area and work space. My old desk has been chucked over the wall, and put in place for my new roommate. With the new layout, I can now reach the window ledge area—I’m thinking of a future cactus garden!

But that’s not all that’s at the forefront of my mind: I am content in knowing that I am staying at the university, that my children will have an opportunity for a free college education, that I can pay all of my monthly expenses, and that I can continue to work at a job that I truly enjoy on multiple levels—this is my Fresh Story on a Clean Slate.