Silver Linings is a blog series created and written by members of the CWCC Young Professionals board to engage and support other young professionals (and everyone, really), and to share their perspectives, experiences, and to show that no one is alone as we work through overcoming challenging times.
Making Career Moves by Kara Hardman
In August of 2020 I got a call from my boss asking if I would be willing to relocate to manage a project in Aspen, CO. As a project manager in construction, I was asked because it was for a hospital job that required high levels of infection control, which is something that I specialize in. After inquiring more about the role and the project, I decided to be open to this opportunity. Who was I to say no to an opportunity in the middle of a pandemic? I was happy I had kept my job thus far and was not going to make any decision to jeopardize that.
While I was excited about this opportunity, it also had its challenges. The first was housing. Finding housing was difficult since I was moving into the Roaring Fork Valley at the beginning of ski season. I ended up having to get a place in Glenwood Springs, an hour’s drive away from my new project. Luckily, I was able to move as many belongings as I needed to spend an entire winter in the mountains, so I did not have to make the trek back to the city often.
The other challenge, which was also the hardest to make up for, was the social part of life. With my friends being 2.5-3 hours away and the world still being in a global pandemic, there was not a way for me to make friends in Glenwood. I made up for it with Zoom chats and had some friends visit while I stayed, but essentially became quite lonely many times throughout my stay.
From this project, I realized that working in the mountains is much harder than working in Denver. The options for contractors are limited, the cost of construction is much higher, and work just moves slower. There is also harsher weather with more winter driving and fewer roads to get to your destination. I had moved to a bigger city for a reason, and this opportunity landed me right back into that small town culture I was eager to get out of immediately after college.
Over the course of the six months of this project, I learned to see the silver linings and a lot about myself. One being that living in the mountains and/or a small town is not a good fit for me (for now at least). I love Denver and the community I have created here! And that even though I can drive in endless amounts of snow, I don’t really want to.
Kara is currently serving her second term on the CWCC Young Professionals Board in a leadership role on the YP Executive Committee.