Changing Gears: A Journey of Discovery

It has been a little over two years since I left my corporate job. Two years.

Boy, oh boy, time has flown.

I will never forget the day I gave my two weeks notice.

Let me take you back –

It was January 2017. My team and I were back from the holiday break, and like the beginning of most new years, I was eager to kickoff the new year. Besides, it was the year I would finally get married to my best friend. I was excited for the future to say the least. It wasn’t long before leadership told us about the organization going through some restructuring. I was basically assigned a new set of duties and a new supervisor. The changes were drastic and unexpected. After getting over the news, I guess you can say I had no choice but to accept the challenge. (I mean, what could you do at that point, right? I just had to roll with the punches.)

Things seemed ok. As I got to know the new team (and leader), I thought to myself, “Hmm…maybe this isn’t too bad after all.” Here’s the thing – I am an optimist. I will seek the light in (almost) every situation. I knew I was in that situation for a reason. And it was my job to figure it out.

If you are not familiar with my story, here’s the long story short. As soon as I graduated college, I thought I was going to end up in the fashion industry. I studied Fashion Merchandising and Marketing, and I was determined on landing a job relevant to my studies. However, life after college was a big slap on the face. As soon as I thought I had a job in Marketing, I was back to square one when I showed up on my first day and the office was closed. Apparently, they were closed on Labor Day, but for some reason, scheduled that day to be my first day on the job. What a joke.

Seven months later, I decided to move back home. I was helping the family business during the day and bartended at night. I didn’t give up on my dream of landing a job in the fashion industry so I kept applying to several jobs in Dallas, TX. Six months later, and still, no luck. Finally, on one of my bartending shifts, one of my best girlfriends recommended to try the oil and gas (O&G) industry. She pointed to Houston as the city with a booming O&G economy. I took her advice, and lo and behold, I accepted an opportunity later that year. (About one year and five months after graduation!!! Recent graduates – I feel your pain.)

As the new team and I picked up the pace, the real stress came. All of us were challenged in various ways. We were a new team who had to figure out new processes, systems, etc. There was one tiny obstacle I had to overcome – learning how to deal with my new manager’s persona. Luckily, I didn’t report to him directly. But still, I was not saved from his opinions, comments, etc. The biggest issue I had was the tone he would use to communicate. It was sometimes questionable. Like – was it really necessary? On top of that, his comments weren’t always the nicest. Anyway, I was forced to get over this REAL fast. I wasn’t going to let anyone break me when I knew I was doing my best.

So what did I do?

I flipped the script. I altered my perspective.

Things at work kept changing. Direction was constantly adjusting. And the workload was steadily increasing. I learned to let go of the trivial stuff in order to put out my best energy.

One of the things my mom instilled in me as a young girl was, life is a school. I took her advice to heart specifically through this season, and made that my mantra – life is a school. I tricked myself into believing I was in college again. Since I worked at a large corporation, the campus truly felt like a college campus so that part was easy. I also constantly reminded myself, this too shall pass. At first, it was hard. No lie. I cried myself to sleep many nights and had anxiety through the roof. A couple days I barely ate, in fact, if it weren’t for Jose, I would have skipped dinner most nights. I worked through many nights, sometimes until 4 a.m. And yes, I would be at the office the same morning by 8 a.m. It was an unhealthy lifestyle but I felt nobody could help me.

It was up to me to make a change.

I started listening to Tony Robbins on YouTube. (This was before I discovered podcasts.) I found his videos to be powerful and encouraging to keep going. Before I knew it, I discovered many interviews with Mark Cuban. I fell in love with Mark Cuban’s way of thinking. His approach to business was fascinating to me. He shifted my perspective and I started to view my job as a business. This mentality gave me the confidence I didn’t have before. Some days were easier than others but I managed to stay the course.

After my wedding, I knew I had to eventually make a move because I knew I wasn’t in the industry I hoped to be after college. By this time, I knew just how vulnerable the O&G industry was. In 2014, the company went through massive layoffs. It was a scary time. I still felt fresh out of college and it was devastating to see so many people lose their job. I remember thinking I never wanted to be in their positions, especially after several years of giving myself to a company. We aggressively paid off our wedding, and by December of 2017, the wedding was paid off. At the start of the new year, I knew change was coming.

Certain projects were scheduled to be completed between May and July. Therefore, I aimed for the summer to be the perfect timeframe for my exit. (I was pretty determined on completing those projects, lol.) And soon as I got the hubby’s blessing to leave my corporate America job, I did. There was a possibility of having a new job in a different industry but nothing was set in stone. I was relying on that position, but at the end of the day, nothing was promised. I took a huge risk by leaving a secured job before securing another one. At this point, I was willing to face the consequences. It turned out that I didn’t get the job. I was pretty bummed.

After a few weeks, I stopped the job search and went back to my roots. After applying to several jobs in O&G, I knew IF I went back, I would find myself in the exact same spot later down the road. I didn’t want that to be the case so I kept exploring my options. By this time, I had already created my blog to serve as my creative escape. (I’ll link more about how I got it started here.) When I say I went back to my roots, I went back to support the family business. I was commuting to Bryan, TX a few days out of the week and worked from home in Houston, TX the second half of the week. Even though I was making a lot less money, I was fulfilled. I was happy.

As soon as we made the decision to purchase our first home in Houston, I knew I had to find a job that was located in Houston. I was open about my options, even if it meant returning to O&G. Listen – as bad as I wanted to be in the fashion industry, I had to be realistic too. Houston is NOT the capital for fashion-related jobs. It just isn’t. Also, instead of wishing upon a star to be in the fashion industry, I created my own platform (aka this blog) and loved creating my own fashion and lifestyle content.

Having said that, I applied to various jobs in different industries. Thanks to my network of friends, I landed a job in technology/manufacturing! And guess what?!? I FREAKIN’ LOVE MY JOB. Like truly, truly love it. I still cannot believe this is my job. Things are different right now so who knows what the future entails, but for now, I am focused on today. And today – I love what I am doing.

If you are currently laid off, or thinking about switching industries, here is what I’ll leave you with:

  • Get to know your market. I strongly believe there is something for everyone. Yes, competition is out there, but honestly, you shouldn’t focus on that. The more energy and focus you give to something, the more you attract it.
  • Write down your strengths, knowledge, and experience. Explore which roles align with your strengths, skills, and experience. Capitalize on what you know.
  • Tell your network (aka family, friends, and past colleagues). You may be surprised at how many people are actually willing to connect you to their network, especially if they believe you are a great fit.
  • Write down your ideal job. This is practicing the law of attraction. For the past three jobs, I’ve written down exactly what I wanted. Sure, as time goes on needs and wants change. But still, it’s always good to know what you want.
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date. I actually got one of my jobs through LinkedIn.
  • Ask a past (or current) colleague to write a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile.

If you are not satisfied with your job, or feeling uninspired, here is what I suggest to do:

  • Focus on what you should be learning.
  • Step out of the victim role/mentality. The more you victimize yourself, the more you are bringing yourself down.
  • Practice gratitude. There is millions of people currently unemployed. Be grateful for your job.
  • Ask God (the Universe or whatever you believe in) for guidance and ask what are the lessons to take away from your current situation. Life is a school, remember? Never stop learning.
  • Change your perspective and play mind games to help you stay motivated. For example, tell yourself this is yet another college experience. Figure out what motivates you.
  • Seek for guidance or input from someone you trust. Sometimes all you need is to vent. Just don’t vent to anyone you work with…I would be very careful about that.
  • Listen to podcasts relevant to your passion or a subject you’re interested in. There is a podcast for everyone.
  • Strategize to make your exit. If you know what your next step should be, figure out what you need to do to make the next move.

Final Thoughts:

Most of you are going through major changes right now and I want you to know my thoughts and prayers are with you. I know what it feels like to feel alone and what it feels like to live in a new city without knowing a single soul. I know what it feels like to be the youngest in the team. I know what it feels like to experience imposter syndrome, what it feels to feel like a failure. I know because I’ve been there. You are not alone or a failure. You are knowledgeable, smart and will figure it out. Even more, you are made for something greater than you could have ever imagined. Patience is a virtue, but with hard work, anything is possible. As always, if you need to talk, feel free to reach out.

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