How Making A Reckless Decision Changed My Career
So here’s the thing: In 2014, I made a complete clusterfuck. I left my agency job only after a month (I know it's ridiculously stupid). You’ll just know if it’s not working for you, and I knew it by then that I’ll be completely miserable if I stayed there. For someone who just started her career, I'm already keen on sabotaging mine, right? After that, I decided to take some time off: Re-evaluate my career and direction (or lack thereof). Am I in the right industry? Is this what I really wanted to do? Then a month passed and so on, you get the picture. I was so lost, more than I was ever before.
Looking back, I envied the younger version of me because when people ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up I already had my answer: A Doctor. It was that easy. Now I'm a twenty-something, and I still get that question a lot (especially during interviews) but I don't know what to say. Sure, I have ideas but none of them are worthy answers yet.
You see, I’m not just some girl doing nothing all those months (6 months to be exact). I’ve been through a number of interviews (more than my fingers), been turned down, left hanging, insulted (yes, I nearly cried the moment I stepped out of the building)… you name it. I’ve also spent time wallowing in self-pity -- eating my feelings, shutting out the world playing hermit in her ivory tower. Yes, it’s really a mess. Our house, I mean. Okay, me too. Some days were bearable, then there are some that literally sucked the life out of me and my pride. I began second-guessing myself. Depressing, right? Unacceptable, even. Come on, do you expect me to jump for joy, eat ice cream on cones and rejoice? I know, I’m not proud of how I dealt with it either but cut me some slack. One can only take so much — much more if it feels like you’re heading on a downward spiral 300 miles per hour. I don’t know how to channel my disappointment with what’s happening, nor the people around me. My Father already gave me a handful to feel bad about (Parents tend to do that, but it's not bad. That's their nature). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dumb. I graduated in one of the best State Universities in the country. I’m not some brainiac but I got by just fine. I managed to breeze in between academics and extracurricular activities. I had a reputation. People knew me. I was golden in College. Which leads me back to not understanding why that happened to me. After graduating, I launched my career in Advertising. It is one chaotic field to be in. It’s a war zone. Competition is too high it can knock you down flat. I know the misconception of working in the industry, all the glamour and free ticket to the finest things in life but it’s not. It will eat you alive. Clearly, it is not for the faint-hearted.
Now let's go back to the 6th month my "bumming out." I was in an interview for an ad network for an Account Manager role. Long story short, it was a disaster. I knew it myself after the interviewer asked me to do an impromptu pitch… I was fucked. First of all, I hate Sales. Since forever. Second, I have this fear of public speaking. Sure, I love to blab and talk and talk, but doing it for any other purpose aside from the art of conversation? Hell freaking no. And there it went; I’ve put my foot in my mouth on that one. Then I was told I’ll hear from them the coming week, whether they’ll hire me or not. But who am I kidding? With that interview, I’m not expecting anything else from them but a big fat no. Then came next week, I got a call from them about wanting to discuss the offer. I was shocked… and confused. I mean, how did that happen? I knew I blew that interview. I even told it to the interviewer myself right after my not-so-great pitch. He knew it too. Even if I hate to admit this, but I was getting quite desperate to get a job, to the point of applying to whatever opening that might fit my credentials, I said yes to meeting them to discuss the offer.
I forgot to mention this: a part of my “soul-searching” period was that I told myself that the next job I’m going to take is something I really love. I went to my first job for the security that I am able to lend a hand to my parents, but I am done with that. I told myself “I’m going go for my happiness this time." And I guess that single important thing is not on the plate at that time. Time was ticking; There were bills to pay, and my Mother felt the backlash of me not working. I felt guilty. The offer was great, even better than what I asked for. I would be a fool to turn it down. But I have this pit in my stomach whenever I talk about it. Sure, I need other heads – consider their sides before I make the decision. All of them said I should take it, aside from I had to be practical, it really was a good offer. I’m not denying that. Honestly, it’s scaring the living daylights out of me because it’s not particularly my cup of tea. I felt helpless, and I’m not really looking forward to feeling the way I did. I’m more than convinced that I’m just going to mess it up, fail and make a fool out of myself. Then again, I’ve also thought about it that the role is out of my comfort zone. It might do great for me (or not). And I don’t have anything else to lose -- except myself. I’m not exactly ecstatic about it and it tore me apart. I have to give those people my answer soon. Now this is the part where the tables started to turn. I declined their offer. I'm sure you're all like "what on earth was she thinking" when I turned down the opportunity.
I actually met with a digital agency for a Social Media role for one of their clients (which I have no experience, by the way). I was looking forward to this one because I felt like the role is closer to who I am. I've always been social media-savvy, so why not go for it right? The chances of me getting the job were highly unlikely but I hoped for it. I went to church every single day to pray for it (desperate times call for desperate measures). So, what happened next? I didn't get the role I originally applied for, but they, later on, considered me for their digital marketing team. After a round of interviews, Skype calls and text messages, I got the job. And here I am. I've never been content with my job. I enjoy it. No scratch that, I love it. I love the vibe, the people I work with, and I've been more exposed to other pies related to marketing. I even kissed my weekends goodbye and I'm completely okay with it. It didn't feel like a job. Now I understand why people kept saying "do what you love." I'll always be grateful to everyone who helped and supported me all the way (you guys know who you are), this role opened a lot of doors for me. I can say it's definitely icing on the cake.
What's In It For You?
So you might be asking yourself why am I talking about this (I know you are). I guess I just wanted to share my story and let you know that if you're not happy with where you are right now and what you're doing, you have the power to change it. Though I'm not saying that you should quit your job without any fallbacks (what I did was a stupid move, you could do better). You're never too young or too old to change your career; it's a matter of asking yourself this question: What would make me happy? That's a tough one to answer and a never-ending journey of finding out what it is. But you know what I think? If you're doing something that's working for you and you don't find yourself looking for something else for the time being? That's already happiness. Aiming for something bigger is another thing entirely, I'd like to clarify that.
You could ask your family or closest friends before you make a decision (whether it's for your own peace of mind or I don't know, insight?), let them give their two cents; though at the end of the day it's still your life... your career. It's your decision that would matter, regardless they support you or not. However, it's not a walk in the park either. It's going to be hell and you better be ready for it. There would be a handful of moments that would question your abilities and sanity (yes, it will) but you just have to push and push and eliminate the fear and doubt. Use all the negativity you receive as your motivator to get what you want. To be what you want. If ever you fail, keep trying. There, you'll learn to fail better and eventually get things right. Be like Leo. LOL
They say great things take time and boy, it does! But like what I always tell my friends, "Patience pays off big dividends." Something that's worth having is always worth waiting for (it seems like I'm talking about love though but I’m not). Don't settle for anything less, you owe it to yourself — have a better life.
I've never thought I'd say this but there's always a time for firsts: Quitting had never been this good. It led me to something bigger — something I actually thought I'd never have: Peace of mind.