Bennis Inc. | You Don’t Have to Change Everything—Just the Right Thing
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You Don’t Have to Change Everything—Just the Right Thing

You Don’t Have to Change Everything—Just the Right Thing

A summer sunset on the riverfront in Harrisburg--I'm lucky to be here!

I can admittedly say that I am going through a mid-life crisis. Okay, a quarter-life crisis. Let’s not get hung up on semantics. In any case, I recently went through the undeniable feeling like I wanted to make a huge change in my life. Not a little “I’ll dye my hair” change—I seriously considered selling everything I own but a suitcase full of clothes, quitting my job, packing up Pinot and moving to Miami. This thought was terrifying but invigorating all at the same time; it provided me with the rush of excitement my life in Harrisburg wasn’t anymore. In hindsight I wasn’t so much craving the geography change (although I would never turn down a vacation to Miami), but it was more a deep desire I had to find my passion again.

When working on the Pennsylvania Governor’s campaign it was hard and thankless work. We were overworked, under paid and stressed out. Often we had to choose between sleeping and drinking and, well, the decision was obvious. But I hit my stride there. It was around August of ’10 that I was busy from the time I woke up until the time I hit my pillow—7 days a week. I felt productive, needed and like the work I was doing actually had an impact. Unfortunately, after returning to normal hours at a job within the Governor’s administration, I lost that stride. I had my evenings and weekends back, but I never did find that passion. I guess I thought that passion moved South and I was hell-bent on doing whatever I had to in order to get it back, even if it meant leaving everyone and everything I knew.

As a result, I turned my back on Harrisburg and closed my mind to the possibility that I could ever be happy here again—for a long time. Within just the past 2 weeks, I made one single decision that changed all of that. I chose to respectfully resign from my day job and pursue my Public Relations business, Bennis Inc, full time. Starting July 15th I’ll be my own boss, set my own schedule, and yes, try to make ends meet off of this less than stable income. It will be stressful, hard and thankless, but it sounds exactly like what I’ve been looking for.

I’m so grateful that I stepped back from the edge long enough to realize I don’t have to jump. I have friends in Harrisburg, family close by and business contacts that would take years to build anywhere else. I’ve kind of fallen in love with the city all over again and am open to making a business here and a home here. So to anyone else who feels like a quarter, mid or full-life crisis may be coming on—take a breath and step back. You don’t always have to change everything, just the right thing to be happy.

Stephanie Shirley

stephanie@bennisinc.com