My first job out of college was my dream job! I worked in the music industry doing artist management and marketing. I thought I would be in this job forever. I thought I would work with my coworkers forever; this mindset maybe my biggest career mistake.
During my tenure with this company, I didn’t expand my network at all. I was actually invited to a “Women in the Music Industry” networking group. I didn’t feel like I belonged, everyone was at least a few years ahead of me in their careers and I didn’t believe I had much value to give. I also depended fully on my manager to carve out a career path for me.
I loved the company that I worked for and the people that I worked with. I had so much autonomy and was able to create the position I wanted. I was developing skills and gaining experience at this small company that my peers at large companies weren’t getting opportunities to.
Then, at age 27, I was burnt out. My dream job wasn’t going to be a forever job. I quit without having another job. When I quit, the CEO asked what I was going to do. I didn’t know. He gave me some books advice, and my last bonus: told me to travel and figure it out. I didn’t want to travel; I needed to find a new job.
I was unemployed for about three months (side note: nobody has ever asked me about the breaks in my career when interviewing for new jobs). The first month I was antsy. And I had quite a bit of free time to blame others for my unhappiness in my job. The anger then turned to fear that I wasn’t going to be able to figure out what to do next, I wasn’t going to get a job with a good salary, I wasn’t going to be able to pay my mortgage. It sucked, it was scary.
I did find a great next job that was so different from my first job but also allowed me to use my skills and experience. After that almost two years in that job, I took 7 months off to live in Peru and work for a non-profit. I loved the digital nomad life and would love to do it again! Returning the state and full-time work, I came up with a few dream jobs. I printed off job descriptions and looked at the network, skills, and experience I would need to be an executive director at a non-profit. I worked towards that goal for a couple of years and while that’s not my dream job anymore, I was grateful I had that north star. The network, skills, and experience effort I put in at that time made me into the person I am supposed to be at this moment.
I never dreamed that I would be a freelancer, a business owner, a side hustler, an entrepreneur, or a founder. But here I am, learning, growing, and dreaming bigger about what’s next.
What are your dreams for your career?