We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Remsen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
This question stuck out to me the most, because I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it over the past few years. I think the answer is, you need to be able to give something up when it no longer serves you. Instead of “give up” I prefer “choose something new.” I recently gave up my position as a small business owner when the business I created with my partner merged with another business. It was an incredibly difficult decision, one that took years to make. I come from a family where “giving up” isn’t really an option. If you choose something, job, marriage, house, you stick with it. It doesn’t matter if it makes you happy or fills you up, you just do it. It took me a long time to unlearn that. I think our society also favors people who stick it out and keep going no matter what. Don’t get me wrong, I did stick it out for eight years. I did keep going when times were tough. But one day it dawned on me: I did all of these things to make this business happen, to manifest it and bring it to life. Now how do I get out of it? What’s my exit plan? It was the first time I’d ever thought of it because I was so intent on making it work for so long. But it wasn’t making me happy anymore. I’d taken it as far as I could without completely losing myself in it. And I chose to give up. I chose something new for myself. And I don’t regret it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I stayed on as an employee with the company that my business merged with. I’m part of the HR team and am able to work from home so I can be with my son who is doing virtual kindergarten. It’s been interesting to be present for someone else taking over the business I created, to witness it all in real time and not be able to hide away. It was tough at times, but ultimately I think it expedited the healing process. The company I work for now, Wise Sons, is also owned by my friend, so it has been fun to work with him. And my husband and I still get to work together!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is in an interesting question to answer in the depths of these chaotic times. It has been so long since I’ve gone out! If I was answering this question last year at this time, I’d say that we should go get wine at Oakland Yard, then eat tacos out back of Tacos Oscar. If it was fancier dinner, I’d suggest Soba Ichi, which is some of the best food I’ve had in Oakland. Some of my favorite bars are Kon-Tiki, The Miranda, Cafe van Kleef and The Avenue, of course. Sequoia Diner is my favorite breakfast spot. Funky Elephant and Champa Garden are my favorite Thai restaurants. Wow, I just got really sad thinking about how some of these places might not be around anymore. I hope that isn’t true. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My best friend, Jenny. She has been a true confidante and an incredible source of wisdom in my life. She’s listened to every story about work drama you can imagine, been part of every triumph and every heartache. She is also the person who taught me that things don’t have to last forever, that it’s ok to change your mind or walk away without feeling ashamed. That what you do for a job doesn’t define your worth. I’m convinced she has lived at least a few lifetimes before this one, to have the amount of perspective and sage advice and patience that she possesses. Thank you Jenny.