Walking Away from the Steady Paycheck, Awesome Healthcare & Flexible Hours… And Happy About It

I did it.  After 13 years of working as an electrical engineer, after having 3 kids, after returning to work after 3 maternity leaves, after spending 7 years as a full time working mom, and after 3 years as a full time working mom and blogger… I left my career in telecommunications.

For the last 13 years, I have held one of Corporate America’s best jobs, at one of its best companies.  I had little supervision, lots of responsibility, flexible hours, no dress code and the opportunity to work from home between business trips.

At Qualcomm, I worked as the Technical Account Manager, managing North American customers designing phones and tablets for Verizion, ATT, Sprint and the other carriers.  I traveled around the United States and Asia, managing the technical side of designing a device.  Working with the west coast and Asia, my mornings were usually free to take the kids to school.  Working for a great company, slipping out for an hour long school performance was easy.  I had a good job, good pay and an amazing healthcare plan.

The problem was that it never stopped.  Designing a phone is easy.  The trick is making it small, reliable, with a long battery life, without being hot to the touch… all while being affordable and first to market.  The critical issues that must be solved “now”, just never stop.

Each night I would clear my inbox, only to wake up with, no exaggeration, 100 new emails from Asia.  The day time would bring hundreds more emails, constant conference calls and online troubleshooting.  Meetings at 8:00pm and 11:00pm were common.  And it just never stopped.

For the last 3 years, I have been managing my job, my family and BigKidSmallCity.com, with the plan of someday leaving Corporate America.  BigKidSmallCity.com is now Houston’s go-to resource for things to do in Houston with kids, but actually deciding to leave a steady paycheck and a fantastic healthcare plan is hard to do.  Until this happened…

Last summer, I was on another 8:00pm conference call.  My husband was out and I was attempting to get the kids to sleep between un-muting and talking to the customer.  I soon found myself scolding my sick 2 year old, who just wanted to be held, so I could calm down my adult customer that was being unreasonable and loud.

Soon after this meeting, I told my boss I was done.

It is bitter sweet to leave the job I have held since college.  I worked for a great company that had the stability that many would love to have.  But I’ve never been passionate about building mobile phones.

For years, my goal was to make BigKidSmallCity.com, and adventures with my kids, my full time career.  I’m happy to report that after 3 years, this dream has come true.  Despite the uncertainly of not having a guaranteed paycheck, I feel as though a 500 pound weight was lifted off my chest.

BigKidSmallCity.com is part of the bigger BKSC Group.  In addition to the website for things to do in Houston, with kids, we are marketing consultants for local businesses, writing several full page advertorials running in the Houston Chronicle (along with other projects).

So here we go… December 2014 marks the start of the full time career that I am passionate about!

BigKidSmallCity Featured on 365 Things to Do in Houston!

Jill Jarvis on 365 Things to Do in Houston Top 5

I am excited and honored to be featured on 365 Things to Do in Houston‘s “Top 5” Series today!  Each week they highlight a different Houstonian, who shares her five favorite things to do in the Greater Houston area.  If you don’t follow them already, go HERE to get tips and fresh ideas for enjoying daily life in and around Houston.
Go HERE to see my list!

One Square Mile: Texas – Season One Begins on Thursday, January 16, 2014 on PBS

One Square Mile: Texas is a “documentary television series that portrays Texas culture from the perspective of distinct square miles across the Lone Star state.  As a whole, the series is a microcosm of Texas life and a collective portrait of the state.”  And one of those square miles is Montrose in Houston!  

One Square Mile Texas in Montrose
I am so honored to be a part of a series that incorporates 2 of my very favorite things: my family and my neighborhood.  I’m a little nervous to see how it all turned out, but also excited to see the result of all the hard work done by Brazos Films.

What makes this series even more amazing is that a couple, with 2 young kids, put together the whole series. Along with Ski and some friends, they traveled to Austin, Houston, Dallas, Silverton, Nacogdoches, San Antonio, El Paso, Midland and Port Isabel and then put together the 9 episode series.


The series is slated to air Thursday evenings beginning January 16, 2014 on all 12 Texas PBS stations!  










What if your 20 year old child wanted to get married?

If a 20 year old Brooke announced she was getting married, I might just fall over.  If she was still in college and fallen head over heals for some Navy man, I would suggest she take her time, get another degree, start a job, have some fun or just grow up some more.

But if this 20 year old was me, and I was so certain about my life plans, there would be no stopping me.  And this is what happened.

Jill and CJ Dancing at Wedding

I got engaged at age 20, graduated from school a semester early, secured a job in San Diego, and married my husband a couple of weeks later.  We immediately moved from New York to California where he was in the Navy.  And gone most of the time.

[Read more…]

Joe the Garbage Man, 6 Year Old’s 1st Business: Interviewed on ABC 13!


In February 2012, Joe started his own little Garbage Can Curbside Service. For details, go HERE. In short, he asked our neighbors if he could roll out, and then back in, their garbage cans on trash day. In return, they would pay him 25¢ each week.

He was lucky enough to be interviewed by ABC 13 this week! Montrose family teaching son value of money at young age.

Go HERE to see the ABC 13 interview with Patricia Lopez!

Fun and Easy Lunch Box Ideas: BigKidSmallCity Interviewed on ABC 13


Thank you to Patricia Lopez for the opportunity to talk about making fun and easy school lunches!  Watch for blog updates each Friday for lunch box ideas!

Click on the links for more information on making Rice Balls and the Tools I use for our lunches.

Also, here are some quick links to some of the tools/products (affiliates included):

Go HERE to see the story on ABC 13!

Free & Unique Things to Do in Houston: BigKidSmallCity Interviewed on ABC 13


Thank you to Patricia Lopez for the opportunity to talk about free and unique things to do in Houston!  Click on the links for more information on the Mysterious Red Button, JP Morgan Chase Tower Observation Deck, Tunnels Under Downtown, the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony and Weekday and Weekend Events!
Go HERE to see the story on ABC 13!

Fun Free Things to Do in Houston: BigKidSmallCity Interviewed on KPRC Local 2


Thank you to Courtney Zavala for the opportunity to come on and talk about free things to do in Houston! Thank you also to 5 year old Samuel, and his mom Tiffany, who originally told us about Burping the Bayou! Click on the links for more information on the Mysterious Red Button, JP Morgan Chase Tower Observation Deck and Weekday and Weekend Events!

To see the KPRC Local 2 interview, go HERE


JarvisFamilyMar2013Welcome to BigKidSmallCity. My kids aren’t really big, and Houston isn’t small, but my kids FEEL big while we are exploring this big city one small piece at a time.

It is my mission to encourage parents of young kids to do get out of the house, rejoin the human race an enjoy life more than you ever thought possible.  Follow along with BigKidSmallCity for ideas and encouragement.

Each week my 3 kids, ages 5, 3 and 1, and I are exploring and reviewing all the family activities we can find in Houston.We would love your feedback on what fun you have found in our city and tricks you have for getting out of the house.

I may be best known for being the mom of Joe the Garbage Man.  Joe has been featured on Fox & FriendsNewsFixHuffington PostSunny 99.1WGN Radio, Chron.comBig Jolly Politics & Waste & Recycling News.  You can view all the BigKidSmallCity Garbage Man Joe stories HERE.

And finally, let me introduce the person who inspired me to stop trying to organize my house and my life and just get out the door and enjoy time with my kids.

KidsFelicia describes herself as a married Mexican-American mom, living in Houston, with two little girls, who have a German last name, that speak Chinese as a second language, trying to make sense of the world.   And her family loves books.  A lot.

Felicia is very good at finding things to do in Houston with kids and at  finding good books to read.  Since her kids were reading chapter books before entering kindergarten, she’s in charge of the book review part of BigKidSmallCity.  And since she is very funny, you will be able to spot her contributions to the blog!

Thanks for visiting! Jill