Jesse Stoddard

Life After High School: Interview with Amber Hausfeld

Today’s interview with Amber Hausfeld is part of my ongoing blog-to-book project: Life After High School: Secrets To A Successful Life By Those Who Have Had Twenty Years To Think About It (or) What They Didn’t Teach Us Gen Xers In High School. If you missed the last post, click here, otherwise, you can start at the beginning here.

Amber Hausfeld

(Formerly Amber Bravato)

Renton, WA

My Life In High School

Amber Bravato AHS 1996

Who were you in High School and how did you feel about it?

I was quiet. I had my core group of friends and that was enough for me. I was never in the spotlight and I liked it that way.

What did you think your life would become when you graduated?

I knew I would go to college but had no idea what I would do. I probably thought I would become a teacher. I knew I would want kids and hopefully leave a normal fun life.

My Life After High School

Amber Hausfeld with husband

What happened in your life to you, for you, and by you in the last twenty years (how have you used your time and who have you become)?

After High School I immediately started attending Washington State University (Go Cougs!). They were some of the most fun years of my life. Pullman was a great place to go to school. I really enjoyed (and still do) the sense of community in Pullman and how being a “Coug” is a connection that pulls people together almost immediately. While I had great grades in High School, they fell quite a bit in college. That may, in part, be due to the great community that accepted anyone into a party!

I went back and forth many times on what to declare as my major. I now know that I should have gone into teaching. At the time though, I wanted something with a better paycheck. I ended up getting my BA in Business with a focus in Marketing.

When I graduated in 2000 jobs were abundant. I was hired straight away by a company called Square D, an electrical manufacturing company, doing sales and project management. Square D actually got a hold of my resume somehow and contacted me—I never even applied. The money was great, however, I hated the job. I just had no interest in the industry.

After 2 years the company went through some financial difficulties and I was laid off. My fiance and I had just bought a condo at the time so I took that time to paint, schedule some updates and get our new home ready.

Several months later it was time to look for work again. I ended up at a small family run business, again, doing sales and project management. I stayed at this job for the next 5 years taking on different roles in the office. I played around with management (people) for a while and soon found out it was not for me. It was a great company to work for and the people were all great. I worked with this company right up until I had my first child.

I met my husband at WSU. We were friends for a couple of years before we started dating. We moved in together right out of college and lived in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. We had great times living in that area. When we decided it was time to buy our first place (rent on our apartment drastically increased) we could not afford the area and moved south a bit to Tukwila. We were married later that year—October of 2002.

We had our wedding in Maui right off the beach. It was awesome and I would change a thing about it. In 2005 we decided to buy a new home and ended up in Renton. I was working in Kent, WA while my husband James was working in downtown Seattle. Renton seemed like a good compromise in commute for both of us.

In 2007 we welcomed our first child, a son, name Jovin. I quit working to be a stay at home mom. In 2010 we welcomed our second child, a daughter, named Ainsley. I have spent the last almost 9 years at home with them and do not regret a minute of it. It’s not always the easiest thing to do but it has worked well for our family.

This September was another change for all of us. Ainsley started kindergarten and I went back into the workforce. I accepted a job at the preschool where my children attended. I am now a TA and work with kids all day along. While the money is not great the hours certainly can’t be beat. I can drop my kids at school and be there to pick them up at the end of the day. I don’t know how long I will keep this job or if I will every fully enter the working world again; we will have to see where life goes.

I feel very blessed to not have too many lows in my life. The worst of it being losing my mom in 2012. I still miss her and think about her every day. Nothing compares to that. I know I have not led the most exciting life either, but I have had great vacations, great friends and lots of fun. Nothing compares to just having my little family around, running to sports, dance and music lessons and hopefully raising kids that just want to be good people and do good things for the world.

My Life Lessons

What were the major life lessons and wisdom that you gained during your journey over the last 20 years?

It’s hard to know what you want to do with your life when you are 18! What is important to you at that time probably will not be important to you in 20 years. My biggest failure it not listening to myself and getting my teaching degree. 20 years later—business degree in hand—I’m wondering if I should go back and get my teaching certificate and Masters.

Letter To My High School Self

If you could write your 18-year-old self (or however old you were when you graduated) a letter, and send it back in time, what would you say? What lessons, wisdom, encouragement, or warnings would you give yourself?

If I were writing a letter to my 18-year-old self I would say: Put more effort into keeping in touch with friends from the past. When my current friends go hang out with their high school friends (or are still best friends with them) I realize I’m missing out! I had great friends in High School and let life, distance, and other things get in the way of keeping those friends close.

In the next post, I will continue with more great interviews, like this one with Carly Murdock.

Are you from Generation X? I want to hear what you think! Please comment below and participate in the conversation about What They Didn’t Teach Us Gen Xers In High School. What do you wish someone told you when you were eighteen?

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Jesse Stoddard


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