I'm done with my job. Now the real work begins.
As my final days at the day job were winding down, I really got to thinking about all the different jobs I've had since college and the impetus for each leap.
1. EMC Corporation - This was my first job out of school, I was one of the few who actually had a job upon graduation (2002, terrible job market) because I was leaving school with 2 years of experience thanks to Northeastern's amazing co-op program. I was hired as a contractor there and despite negotiating a rather large raise between years 1 and 2, they wouldn't hire me full-time and I felt I deserved more. Nevermind the fact that data storage isn't exactly sexy to a 23 year old. Skills gained: HTML coding for emails, sense of urgency deploying press release emails, helping to organize live webcasts (this was HARD in '02-04 guys...)
2. Commission Junction - CJ was an awesome place to work, everyone was young, went out to lunch all the time, and we got to work with pretty cool clients. And of course, it's where Jeff and I met. After 2 years there, I felt I had "done" affiliate marketing and while it was a great backbone, felt I could be doing more. My co-workers there are still some of my favorite people to ever have worked with. (Jeff included, of course) Skills gained: Client account management, copywriting.
3. Valassis/89 Degrees - Database marketing agencies where I dove into project management and honed my account management skills. I took this job because - gasp! I would get to work with IKEA!! I had adored the brand for a really long time, even before we had a store in MA. And being obsessed with interior design as a hobby but on a 20-something's budget, it was the perfect synergy between my work and life. I did some of the best work of my life for IKEA - we built microsites announcing new store openings (they had a blitz of them for a good 4-yr period). I worked with some amazing designers and content creators and had the.best.brainstorming sessions. It's where I learned from the lawyer types that you have to say "Enter for a chance to win" (not "enter to win") which will be forever seared into my brain. We even won marketing and digital awards for programs that were ideas from MY brain! How could I ever leave?!
Gulp. Baby #2 came along. When I came back from maternity, they took me off the IKEA account. The account I poured my heart and soul into. This was the first time I was leaving a job to get away from it. Skills gained: Project management, idea generation on steroids, client account management, and learning how to work equally well with developers, designers, content strategists, data scientists, and account leads.
4. CVS Health - This job catapulted me into product management. I had a teeny bit of experience doing some mobile work for IKEA, which is how I landed this job. I managed their mobile app, brought major new features into it, and even, from scratch, launched their iPad standalone app. Easily the second best body of work I've done, based on the shear number of eyeballs seeing these apps on a daily basis. Enter toxic boss. Ever hear the analogy about moving the carrot further and further out so that it can't be reached? 200% this. I'd cry at home about work. I'd cry at work about work. It took me almost 2 years to find a new job trying to leave that one. And I took the very first offer I finally got.
Skills gained: Product management, agile development methodology, hiring a team, leading direct reports.
5. Fidelity Investments - I talked myself into this job. I told myself, "You've never worked in financial services before! It'll be awesome to have this on your resume!" At a point in your career, you've GOT to know when to quit that lie. It wasn't about building my resume - it was about getting away from the toxic boss! I even took a CUT IN PAY to take this job. AND had to commute into the city.
And just as you'd expect - I pretty much hated it from almost day 1. Okay, I'll be exact: Month 4. I immediately started interviewing again. I interviewed for two.straight.years. The market had gotten pretty tough for Director-level product people, we were a dime a dozen. I did eventually form an awesome bond with my scrum team, so at least that part was enjoyable. But I wasn't proud of my work, it wasn't challenging me, and the only thing I learned was that I really couldn't stomach financial services. For a long time, I regretted taking that job. Then it got worse.
Re-org. Anyone in a business setting LOVES that word right? Top-down management decides we need a new way of working and we have to copy other companies who are getting it "right". Even though I hated what I was doing, I was doing a kick-ass job at it. (As Jeff says, I don't let things fail.) But I got demoted in the most inhumane re-org I've experienced. I went from leading a development team to being a glorified business analyst (they hire those right out of college). I was devastated. I floated through life for several months. Then it hit me: I needed to do my own thing. I tried taking some entrepreneurship classes on our newfound "learning day" at work. And then I realized that studying how to make a business wasn't going to give me a business. I needed to just dive in. More on that in another post.
So, finally, after 3.75 years at a job I didn't like, I left to catapult myself for ME. For my husband, and for my family. To bring a much-needed category to a town I am SO happy to have found and love to call my home. To use ALL my skills, including all the creative ones that have been stifled for so long. I can't say anymore that I wish I didn't take the job at Fidelity, because I might not have had the fire lit under me to start this business.
I don't have a job anymore. I don't have a career path. I am an entrepreneur, a co-founder, a small business owner. And finally, I couldn't be more proud of myself.
Now, back to painting walls.