How changing careers changed my life.

Because it’s been about two months since my last blog post, I feel the need to make up for lost time. So heed my warning now that the end of this post will be a long feed of motivational Pinterest quotes that have gotten me through this recent transition period in my life. You’re welcome, or I’m sorry…either one feels appropriate.

So what is this transition period, you ask? Well, to refresh your memory, I wrote a blog post at the beginning of July about the very real struggles of changing your career path and the importance of constantly growing and challenging yourself.

Despite a long, sometimes discouraging job hunt, I am so proud to say that I finally found the right career fit doing something I love, and for a cause that matters to boot. After five years of working in the marketing industry, I am now an event planner for a small non-profit dedicated to bettering the lives of children and families affected by rare diseases and genetic disorders.

Make no mistake though, the journey I went on to get here wasn’t an easy one. Before I accepted my new job, I was working as a mid-level marketer and was so unhappy that I had to scale back my hours just to better improve my mental health. I realized that I was killing myself in a toxic work environment, practically giving my soul away to someone who only cared about her own career and consistently failed to encourage my growth or autonomy in any manner. The worst part was though, I was performing day-to-day functions that didn’t suit my true creative passions or skills, and something needed to change.

And the reality is that from the moment I decided to make the switch until the day I accepted my new job, there were weeks and months of “no” and “not quite”. Whether they were in the form of declined interview requests or making it all the way to the final found of the process just to hear that someone else was “better suited” for the role. I constantly felt like no one was taking my career move seriously or seeing my potential, and it definitely made me doubt myself and my decision to pursue a different path. But every time that happened, it was vital for me to remember why I am doing this, and who I am doing it for.

That quote right there ^^ is what helped me maintain my conviction during the toughest moments of this process. And I’m not even sure what I initially expected would happen…Did I really think moving into a new industry and job function of which I had no academic education and only adequate professional experience doing would be easy? Looking back, maybe a little, because before this I never really had much interaction with professional rejection. Which no doubt started when I went on my first ever post-grad interview and got the job without having applied or interviewed anywhere else. But when all was said and done, I think having had to work that much harder to prove myself and needing to mentally reinforce my decision over and over, made the end result that much more gratifying and rewarding.

And the end result wasn’t just getting the job, it’s so much bigger than that. The end result is improving my mental and physical health; it’s being able to enjoy my personal time with friends and family more; it’s sleeping peacefully through the night…AND not dreading the day when I wake up in the morning. And the biggest one of all for me; it’s being overcome with the feeling of gratitude in the middle of work-day. A moment in time where you stop what you are doing, acknowledge how much you love your job, and recognize that you can only be this grateful for where you are now because of where you used to be.

When I reflect back on things, the best feeling of it all is that my instincts were right. That gut feeling I was constantly overcome with about being called for something different, or that it is possible to have a good manager and to love what you do for a living. Those weren’t just unrealistic fantasies I was entertaining in my head to help me cope with a bad situation. The right fit was out there, and I found it because I took a risk. Despite having no idea where my future would take me, I trusted what my head and heart (and loved ones) were all telling me, and it absolutely paid off.

I think there are a few reasons I feel more gratified on a daily basis when it comes to my job. And before you make an assumption, it has absolutely nothing to do with money, quite the opposite in fact. First and foremost, I’m more fulfilled because I genuinely enjoy my day-to-day responsibilities. A lot of what I do comes naturally to me, and the rest is just fun to learn. I also really enjoy the relationship I’m building with my boss, and every day I am still surprised that positive interactions between a manager and his or her superior can exist and it absolutely changes the entire dynamic of your work life. Another major thing that helps feed my excitement about my job is that the nature of what I do keeps me on my toes and breaks up the monotony of a 9-5 office job. Being an events manager is a more mobile and fluid type of work, and I live for the days that I get to run around on donation errands or site visits, and even more for the nights when I’m actually hosting the events we’ve worked so hard to plan. But the biggest source of fulfillment I get from what I do is that I am a part of something so much bigger than myself.

In my other roles at previous organizations, I had a very hard time finding the motivation to care during the days I was stressed or overwhelmed, mostly because I was overworked and unappreciated. Especially in my most recent role, I was often put in situations where my boss made us feel like our work was life or death, and nothing else mattered but the job we were hired [underpaid] to do. The problem with that was, I just wasn’t passionate about the mission or purpose of the companies I was working for at either time. It felt more profitable than meaningful, and what I really wanted out of my career was to contribute to a bigger picture instead of just a bottom line. And that’s how I found myself in non-profit! It is so much easier to stay fulfilled in your career when you truly care about and believe in your organization and its intentions. And whatever challenges may come my way at my job, I know at the end of the day none of the superficial stuff actually matters, because it’s what I do that matters, and every dollar we raise from our fundraising events go to so many deserving and kind-hearted families, some of whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet already and would inspire the hell out of any one of you.

Now to wrap up this already way too long blog post, here is me making good on my earlier promise with those motivational quotes, direct from my own personal Pinterest feed. So for anyone fighting some type of internal battle when it comes to their career, maybe one of these will happen to be the exact words you need to hear to get you through this chapter and onto the next [and better] one. But you’ll never know if you don’t try. So make like Nike and “just do it.”

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