After 20 minutes on the line with a recruiter learning about what sounded like an amazing job opportunity, I was on the edge of my seat. Just as I was about to jokingly blurt out, “When do I start!?”, I realized…the recruiter never mentioned where the job was located. When I asked, there was a short pause before he announced…“Bossier City, Louisiana!”
He quickly filled the following silence by telling me about the relocation package being offered with the role. This jarred me out of my excitement because Bossier City was not on my list of Top 10 places I wanted to live. In fact, it wouldn’t have made Top 50! This was mainly because I didn’t know much about the area. But I was untethered, and the role really did sound like a great fit. Aside from that, I had recently returned from an extended hiatus in the Dominican Republic, so the relocation package was a huge plus.
Long story short; I took the job and moved to Shreveport-Bossier City on a ‘wing-and-a-prayer’.
What Happened Next?
A year later, the job ended and I accepted a contract role in Seattle, WA. *YES…I know I skipped past all the details of what that year was like…I’m getting to that.*
I just wanted to first make note that we actually LEFT. And when we left, I thought we’d never see this place again. But we did COME BACK. And the best way to explain why, is by giving you examples of the intangible factors that led to our return.
1: The Sheriff Who Chewed Me Out
I made my son walk to school one day (to teach him a lesson) when he missed his bus and I couldn’t take him because had a meeting. An hour later, I got a call… from the SHERIFF! He saw my son walking (recognized him), pulled over, told my son to get in the car, and drove him to school.
The sheriff called me at work and started to sort of chew me out (a little) about how far it was (3 miles) and how it’s not safe to walk on the big roads. I was a single mom at the time, and I told the officer… “Hey, I’m a single-mom who works full-time. He’s in high school and missed the bus lollygagging this morning and I had to make a choice.”
- Let him stay home unsupervised and do nothing all day (which tells him that when he doesn’t want to go to school, he can just miss the bus).
- Call in to work and miss my morning meeting because my kid missed the school bus (if this happens enough times, I put my job at jeopardy).
- MAKE HIM WALK! (This teaches him that if he misses the bus, he still has to get there on his own, so it’s in his best interest to be on time for the bus).
I asked the Sheriff, “So what happens if he keeps doing this and I keep missing my meetings to take him? If I lose my job, then what?” I added, “I bet you one thing; he won’t be late for the bus again after this.” LOL – The Sheriff softened up a bit and said he understood that I was just ‘parenting’ but left me with a warning that I should find another way next time because the big highway was not safe.
While I was a bit frustrated and offended (initially) that I received a call at work to have my parenting skills ‘criticized’, by the time we ended the call…I felt nothing but GRATITUDE. Here’s why:
- The Sheriff recognized my son. *This means A LOT. How many of us from bigger cities can say our local law enforcement members actually recognize our children (unless they are known trouble makers)?
- He actually pulled over and took my son to school, talked to him, and then called ME. *He was genuinely concerned, and his actions were an epitome of ‘Protecting and Serving’ the Shreveport-Bossier City community.
- This is a prime example of the ‘village’ we refer to in the saying “It takes a village to raise child”. We did not know this Sheriff personally, but he showed me that he was part of our village.
Thank you, Sheriff! I sincerely appreciate knowing you are there for our kids.
2: School Faculty and Students with Integrity Changed My Son’s Life
My son has always been quirky. He has Asperger’s and in his first 15 years, never had any friends. Never asked if he could visit with friends. Never had a friend come looking for him. At school he was silent most days and would spend his lunch time standing on the wall just waiting for the bell to ring.
Our first year in SBC, he surprised me one day by asking if I could take him to his friend’s house. I almost fell out of my chair in surprise! I couldn’t get the questions out fast enough. Here’s what he told me:
One day he was at lunch standing on the wall as usual and a guy came over asked my son why he was always standing on the wall by himself. My son looked around in confusion trying to figure out who he was talking to. The guy invited my son to join him and his friends at their table. My son (still in disbelief that this person was talking to him) didn’t know what to say. But before too long, the guy said “C’mon, come sit with us”. – My son followed.
This ‘guy’ was a senior and was part of the varsity football team (we will call him ‘Jay’). My initial thoughts were of concern. I didn’t know if they were just a bunch of seniors taking advantage of my son, having him around to make fun of him, or what. But my son said they were nice and each day Jay would stop by to get him off the wall, so he continued to sit with them.
Seeing this made others feeling more comfortable approaching my son and talking to him in class. And he eventually met someone in his own grade. That person told my son that he acted just like one of other friends, he introduced them, and they hit it off. The three became inseparable. Group text messages, lunch meetings, weekend workouts; my son was now living a typical high school ‘life’! I was overjoyed to see this finally happening.
Toward the end of that first year, I stopped in to speak with the school counselor about our upcoming move for my new job. I told her about my son’s experience and how Jay took my son under his wing that year.
The counselor’s face lit up as she told me about Jay. She said he was a star student who always looked out for the underdogs and that she wasn’t surprised to hear my story because that’s what he does. She also knew my son’s new friends by name and assured me that he was in good company.
We worked out the details of our transition including her liaising between another family and me to arrange a temporary stay so my son could be around for end of year testing.
NOTE: This level of involvement is almost unheard-of in the bigger cities and metro areas.
3: Community Business Support
When I contacted the Shreveport-Bossier Better Business Bureau to see about reinstating a previous BBB accreditation, every person I encountered was down-to-earth and greeted me with respect and a genuine desire to help. My assigned representative was Ms. Lisa.
We met and finalized our agreement at Gateway Tire & Service Center in Shreveport where she introduced me to a core citizen of Shreveport-Bossier City and fellow BBB accredited business owner (we will call him ‘Mike’). Mike shared a story about the general store he and his wife ran for many years and empowered me with words of encouragement and support.
While I was there, I watched a girl glide into the parking lot and pull some boxes out of her trunk. She walked in, placed the boxes on the counter, revealed two freshly baked cakes, and told Mike she was collecting donations to raise money for a personal cause. She said $5 would suffice, but Mike pulled $20 out of his pocket and asked her to leave both cakes with him. The girl left with a look of relief and gratitude and Mike returned to our meeting, never mentioning a word about it.
– Good people do still exist!
Since then, the local BBB staff has stayed in just enough contact with me to let me know they are there to help me. I appreciate that and hope to maintain that relationship for many years to come. It’s more than just a label for my small business.
At the end of the day (figuratively speaking), for us, these things far outweigh the benefits of living in bigger metro areas like Los Angeles, SF Bay, Atlanta, and Seattle. Yes, they outweigh even the job markets in those other places.
I hope this community grows and prospers while maintaining the same core values that have been demonstrated to us by all the people we have crossed paths with here.
I choose to work remote jobs now (aka work from home) so I can continue living in this great community and contribute to the local economy. I spend my money with our local businesses and this article serves as a kick-off to the shifted focus of my travel writing hobby to the Shreveport-Bossier City area.
I am a proud Shreveport-Bossier Ambassador and supporter of the #BeAFanOfSB initiative which is a month long promotional campaign designed to compliment National Travel and Tourism Week, organized by the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau.
So Follow Me and be on the lookout for articles about Shreveport-Bossier City experiences coming soon. In the meantime, checkout www.20×49.com where Chris Jay showcases everything you need to know about Shreveport-Bossier City food and entertainment.
And if you’re a local interested in learning how I find (and SECURE) the legitimate remote jobs that allow me to live where I want and contribute to my community of choice, I developed an online course to help you! Check out the course and free resources at www.RemoteWorkHelp.com.
~ Until Next Time