Wednesday, August 2, 2017

When the big picture shifts, part 2

Blog post: when your career demands a shift

What they don't tell you about getting a B.A. in Communication Studies is how vague and nondescript it is.  In one of my first interviews after college, the guy across the desk from me asked "So what does Communications mean?" and I honestly didn't know what to tell him, though it may be a testament to what I did learn at college that I was able to pull something out of thin air to satisfy his question in the moment.

Right after college, I had my old summer job at Office Depot that kept me busy for about another year.  Then, after having little luck in landing a "real" job, I left the country for the promise of a salary and benefits in exchange for teaching ESL in Korea.  Turns out having "Korea" on my resume was what got me the interview for my first "real American" job, 7 months after I returned to the States.  I worked as an administrative assistant/receptionist/office manager in a small office for a year and a half or so, and I really enjoyed it.  I loved supporting a tiny team and building those internal relationships.  The job also confirmed that I am a killer organizer, a fast learner, and great at getting stuff done.  I had outgrown the job, though, and needed something new to keep me interested and fulfilled, so into the fast-paced startup world I went as a Campus Operations Manager for The Iron Yard, then a glorified global customer service coordinator, financial services rep, curriculum editor, new hire trainer, and all around Swiss army knife.  (I have a thing for small companies and many hats.)


Maybe you already knew some of this, but long story short, today is my last day.  When I first heard the news that The Iron Yard was closing and I had two weeks before being unemployed, one of my biggest anxieties was figuring out what in the world to do next.  Having a degree in communications supposedly sets you up for almost anything (that's what the career counselor said), but it's seemed to me to be more of a jack-of-all-trades degree, the kind that doesn't give you any real direction or real skill.  This led me to look beyond my college experience to my professional experience and even my hobbies, and I've decided to try and pursue a career in editing and/or writing.

Remember, I've never had a career path.  I've been a vagabond in my professional trajectory, and stepping out on something that started as a side hustle and a hobby is frightening.  I'm afraid to fail.  I'm afraid to get the job but find that I hate it.  I'm afraid that the main reason why I want this is because I'm a pretentious and prideful person and saying "I'm an editor" sounds like I am somebody.  But, I do want to give this a shot.  I want to leave it all out on the court and see what happens.  That was my perspective when Caleb and I started dating (and got engaged... and actually that perspective stayed with me until my wedding day), and it turned out pretty great.  Editing and I have so much going for us, it would be a cop out to not try it.  So here I am, going forward into the unknown!


On the practical side of things, I am craving advice, encouragement, and job leads, and if you can help with either of those, I'd be grateful.  Even if the job hunt takes longer because of it, Caleb and I are staying in Atlanta for the time being.  We've also taken up a side hustle as dog boarders through Rover, which has been fun so far.  (Sign up here to get $20 off your first booking (shameless plug).  Gotta get that cash so I can have all those coffee dates with professional mentors.)  Feel free to pass along my LinkedIn profile to anyone who may be interested, and comment below or email me through the button on the right of the page with anything that could be helpful!

Caleb and I have both dealt with unemployment before, but not since 2012 and not since coming into our own, professionally.  It's a blow to be back on the beat again, but I am confident that this season won't last long.  We're both smart, capable, and at least somewhat charming people, and we have a lot of people who love us.  I'll be sure to update y'all when I have good news to share, and I hope that happens soon!

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