I’ve wrote several posts involving career and now it’s time I share some details of my own career experience. I graduated from University of Missouri – Columbia in December of 2011 with a Fashion Marketing & Merchandising degree. I didn’t want to be a buyer but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I’d spent 18 years obsessing over school, getting a career and striking out on my own but upon graduation I found my self somewhat lost. Not only did I work during the school year but I’d had an internship styling “Looks of the Month” for a magazine in Columbia, I’d interned as a Business & Marketing intern for a design house in Columbia and I’d even become an editor for a Best Selling Author. Needless to say, my resume was stacked. I had so much experience I didn’t know where to start.
So like many graduates I went home lived with my parents and got a job. I worked as an assistant store manager and I HATED IT. I went through so much at this job but it really made me grow up. I had the nightmare boss, I had the amazing boss, I had horrible employees then I had employees who I loved. I was held back because of my gender and age. I went through just about everything imaginable in this position. By 24 I decided I wouldn’t get stuck here. My father would say “You could work with this company for a long time they have good benefits..” blah blah blah. NO! I wasn’t looking for a job, I wanted a career. I didn’t bust my a$$ for 18 years to work at a job I hated. So I began to get aggressive with my career plan.
I was naive when I got my first job. I didn’t believe I’d have to fight as much as I did for career opportunities. I had to fight, you have to fight, just about everyone has to fight to get opportunities. So my aggression towards a new job got real. Every day after work I’d apply for jobs on LinkedIn, I spent my days off looking up companies, reaching out to people who worked in HR on LinkedIn. I literally wasn’t hearing no for an answer. I ended up getting a job interview at Sears HQ to be apart of their social media team. Many people warned me not to but I didn’t care. I wanted OUT of my current situation and this was the fastest way.
When I began this position I learned that it WAS NOT what I thought it was. It was a customer service position via social media. Sears was building a social care team and I was apart of the beginning. I was apart of a team that could define what this position was and how it operated. It was a very challenging position to be in but in the long run best decision I ever made. Over time the roll evolved and continuously changed. I was able to branch out and learn different roles on the team. I met my fair share of challenges and even spent a year not really growing. At 27 years old I decided it’s time for me to leave because I wasn’t growing and wasn’t a valued member of the team.
It’s my rule that if I’m not growing then I need to go. This should also be your rule. If you’re not learning or facing challenges that help you grow in your career, what are you doing? Either ask for opportunities to grow or leave. You nor I can’t afford to waste time being complacent. I read the statistics on women and black women in the workplace. While I know I can do and be anything I also don’t doubt that I’m underpaid or under valued especially if I’m feeling that way. So I decided all of the things I wanted to do in my next role and set out to find it.
I had some titles in mind but decided this time around I’d need the full knowledge of the role. So I began applying and interviewing every where. I was selective about company culture and work life balance. I interviewed at this major agency and immediately knew that it wasn’t for me. The interviewer kept moving her lips and making facial expressions when I answered her questions. I knew immediately I didn’t want to be apart of a bitchy culture.
So months went on. I never immediately found jobs. It took me several months. This time around when I found a new job it was unsuspecting. I applied for a company I didn’t think was a real company. I figured it couldn’t hurt. The first email from the HR director gave me pause but I did the phone call and showed up to the company. I went through two interview rounds for maybe 3 months. This company was unsuspecting because as far as executives there weren’t any Millenials, women nor black people. Shocking right? In addition, I’d never worked for a startup, a small company or a company that didn’t have stock to invest in. In spite of all these things, I liked the vibe, the people and it felt right. For me when things feel right I go with them. I’ve learned the hard way to trust my gut. Another major factor was the fact that they invest in classes and conferences. They want me to continue to learn, grow and get better. My previous employer lacked that so I took this job. I’ve been the Digital Marketing Manager for about a year and it’s been great. A lot of career firsts and a lot of learning but I’m very happy at my job. So much it feels foreign.
As I look back, I have had 3 jobs out of college and two of them from a career I didn’t know I’d have. It’s been a great experience thus far, my career could literally go anywhere at this moment. Always remember that you have to get out of your comfort zone. While your making plans life is usually happening and most of the time you just have to lean in and go where it takes you.
Hopefully this answers any questions you have about me and/or inspires you to go for what you want.