My few months (so far) of YES! Thanks, Shonda!
I want to start by saying ignorance is bliss. As crazy as it sounds and as much as we are taught to stray us away from that notion, ignorance is most definitely bliss, sometimes. When we don’t know, we aren’t forced to consider, “what if.” We just function and chug on. This brings me to the meat and bones of this post: Shonda Rhimes reminded me that I say “no” to myself far too often. This is true for so many facets of my life, but today we are focusing on my career.
I began the book at the beginning of 2017. I was on this always-have-a-book-in-my-hand kick and I guess social media had finally come around to making a fuss of Shonda and her new book. Though since falling in love with Grey’s Anatomy some years ago, I’ve always thought Ms. Rhimes was a bad ass. So my renewed obsession with reading coupled with the excitement of her book, I decided to give Year of Yes a go. I picked it up and immediately loved it. I love how it wasn’t a typical self help book, though that’s how Barnes and Noble positioned it on their shelves. There weren’t chapters laid out by steps of what you should do first to live your best life. The entire book is really a first person account of step one: stop saying no to every damn thing.
After about 60 pages, I felt that I caught the drift and I got what she meant, so I stopped reading. I had every intention on finishing, but not at that express moment. At this time, I was a couple months from approaching my one year anniversary at my first job after college. Prior to accepting the job, I told myself (and my family) that I would only be there a year. It was in the world of what I wanted to do (marketing in the entertainment industry), but it was not what I wanted to do. I was about $5000 underpaid for the line of work even with my counter. And subsequently, I told myself before graduating that I did not have to work somewhere that did not feed my soul. The people were nice, the location was perfect, the mission was awesome. I knew in the beginning I could trade in the big bucks for the experience and the exposure (only for a little while), but I had to make my way to the type of content marketing that I loved.
Fast forward to February 2017, I began to feel my happiness drain. I woke up later and later for work. I still did the work, but I did not go above and beyond every single day like I had before. It had gotten to a point where my boss noticed and sent someone to take me to lunch to figure out what the real tea was. I had to be honest in saying that everyday I feel like I am moving further and further away from where my passion in marketing lies.
*DISCLAIMER: I fully understand the importance of paying dues, doing the grunt work, and working behind the scenes when you are breaking into what you want to do and are at the bottom of the proverbial totem pole. BUT, I also think that as you are doing this grunt work, there has to be an opportunity for you to grow and actually apply your expertise so that when it is time for you to take that next step, you are ready to do so.
About two months after that meeting took place, waking up later and later everyday, and feeling like I was failing at adult life, opportunity began to knock. A tech company that is well on the rise reached out to me via LinkedIn because they felt like I had what it took to fill an open position in their company. They wanted to bring me in to interview. Initially I was excited! It’s a well known organization, the commute was beautiful (8 minutes by train and a 2 minute walk), the pay was almost double what I was currently making it really seemed perfect. I went in for the interview, it went on without a hitch, but I had to sit back and consider why they reached out to ME. My resume said marketing ASSISTANT. They were looking for an executive ASSISTANT. I was being recruited for a position at a great company, but the work seemed to edge on the side of not making my heart sing.
Once the tech company reached out to me, I began to believe that this was my moment to try again and get realigned with the deal I made myself almost a year before (one year and I am on to new things). I made an effort to put my own hat in the ring and apply to jobs again. Two weeks later, I was being interviewed for a marketing manager position at a company that I wanted to be involved with since I was 14...when I thought I as going to be a kick ass dancer, gracing stages internationally, and all the little brown and black girls were going to want to be just like me.
Nine years later, I may not have been on the stage, but this opportunity began to look like a dream deferred. After an interview, a presentation, and a few laughs, I got an offer! The work seemed to be exactly what I wanted to do. The only downfall was that the money was not as significant as the other company, BUT keep in mind, I said I could hold off on money for a while so that I had the opportunity to grow, learn, and be exposed to all of the skills I needed as an experienced marketer. AND did I mention that I love this company?
So Where Am I Now? I am ready to jump at the opportunity, but my fear for feeling like I am running away from a job because I don’t love the work is holding me back. As I sit here and write this, I am realizing that is exactly why I should go! I refuse to be a 40 year old marketing assistant, who has a degree and knows what she wants to do with her life, but fear is holding her back. I have the tools and thanks to my support system, the means to focus on what will take Jordan James, the marketing maven to the next level!
The lessons in all of this:
- Read Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
- Remember what makes your heart sing
- Do it
As always, I will keep you all posted :)