Ferris Wheel on Mt. Tibidabo, Barcelona
It has been a while, my friends, since I’ve shared my adventures with you. The past six weeks have been quite a whirlwind and I apologize for keeping so much to myself, but it was extremely hard to reflect on—and write about all the changes that were happening as I was going through them. Now the winds have quieted down a bit, and I have had some time to gather my thoughts, conclusions, observations… and wits!
In the past six weeks four major things occurred: I went to Spain, I resigned from my part time marketing position with UW-Waukesha, I accepted a great job with a local furniture dealership, I was offered my dream job with another local company and decided to un-accept my previous job offer and accept the new one (uh, yeah, stressful).
So, you see…much has been happening in this gal’s life. It seems fitting that I started my job search with a trip to Neocon in July 2009 and now I will end my job search with a trip to IIDEX, Neocon Canada next week. I have come full circle, in more ways than just attending Neocon as a beginning and end to my year and three months of unemployment.
Several years ago I began to feel unsatisfied in my career. I was restless, longing for more of a challenge (don’t get me wrong, space planning is one of the most challenging job duties known to mankind), and so I decided to create a new position for myself within the company I worked for (pretty ballsy, yes I know) and pitch it to leadership. I wrote up a three-page summary of my job duties, and a one-year action plan for how I would succeed in the position. This new position: A&D Marketing and PR Coordinator. As you might imagine, no one really took my young 26-year-old self too seriously and the position, though necessary, was never created. That year I instead poured myself into greening our office, creating some excitement about sustainability, studying LEED practices and principles and gearing up to take the LEED exam for Commercial Interiors.
Then, I lost my job. And so I embarked on my journey, the one all you lovely readers have followed me on, and one year and three months later I have landed a position as A&D and Environmental Marketing Specialist. Essentially a culmination of my two passions…
Oh it all sounds so good, so “meant to be,” right? In reality this past year has been the hardest, most humbling, degrading, depressing time of my life thus far. But it has, in many ways, been the best and most life-changing year ever.
I left the design field, bitter, unsatisfied, angry (young and overzealous as well). I searched in vain for a job that was far removed from the office furniture industry. I was rejected time and time again. The Julie that felt in her youth she could do anything (Goonies never say die, right) started to disappear. I felt lost.
I started a marketing job in a totally unrelated industry and, surprisingly, I didn’t love it. I missed cubicles. I missed the challenges and fast paced nature of office furniture. I missed innovation, design, working with clients. I was even more confused than ever.
Hadn’t I wanted something different?
Hadn’t I worked so hard so that I could leave the furniture industry and try something new?
Who was I?
I left the country in July, still not really knowing the answers to these very important questions. Sure, I had already learned a few life-changing lessons such as:
HUMILITY is a necessary component to any success story. Had I learned nothing from all these Shakespeare tragedies where the hero always falls because of his PRIDE? Apparently not. Life has to teach you that lesson first hand. Go work retail (as I did) every now and then. It brings you back to reality right quick.
PATIENCE really IS a virtue. Youth sometimes gets the better of us, and we think we can do and be anything. And yes, we can, it just takes a bit more finesse and TIME than we think.
RESPECT yourself, your employers, your friends, your family. This is one thing I have always done well, but I learned to do it even better… especially the whole “self and family” part.
Life doesn’t have to be ALL about your career, or your family, or your partner or whatever. It’s important to have BALANCE. I never really had that. I placed too much importance and stock in my professional life and often missed out on the real things that mattered, like friendship and family and cooking and traveling. The little things and big things alike deserve attention.
You’re never too good, too strong, or too independent to ask for HELP.
I traveled through Spain and didn’t really think much about my life—and it was wonderful. I actually LIVED IN THE PRESENT MOMENT (as my horoscope told me). I stopped my worrying and analyzing and dreaming for 17 days and when I returned to the states I had a newfound clarity that somehow came out of all that living and peace.
I knew I didn’t want to work for the university any longer. I knew I wanted back in the design, architecture and furniture industry. And as soon as I realized how much I loved that field, how much I wanted to be a part of it interview opportunities started flying in. And I was thrilled.
I was ready and excited to start delving back into the world of cubicles, and I think perhaps it showed, and so, I received a job offer from a great company, close to home and which would allow me to be reunited with Julie #1. Yay me! I felt like I was 23 again, ready and willing to take on the world of office furniture. Just as I realized how truly full circle I had come in terms of where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do, another offer came in for a job I could only before ever dream of. It was in the right industry, it was a new and exciting position, it was a culmination of all my skills, interests and experience.
The wheel always turns, and we always come full circle. What goes down must come up. It’s so hard to remember that when in the throws of tragedy, or pain, or hardship… but your wheel will turn. And the new Julie, who is patient and humble, knows that her wheel could turn again and she is okay with that.
Monday I will no longer be an unemployed interior designer. I will be an employed interior designer in a new role. And you will continue to hear from me about my adventures, and I will continue to share the experiences of others going through the job search and career change experience. XOXO