I’m so excited to write this post. I’ve probably written and rewritten it a thousand times in day dreams over the past year. Now that I’m actually writing it I’m not really sure where to begin…so I guess I’ll start at the beginning. Bear with me, this is kind of a long one but the story is the most important part.
In 2008 I graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. I was on the Nordic Ski Team there and skied Division 1 in addition to running cross-country. Quite honestly I think I spent more time training and racing for skiing and running then I did in the Chemistry labs. It’s what I loved. After college I got a job at GE and joined corporate America. I’ve been working in the sciences ever since. My roles have evolved over the years and each one moved me further and further from the lab.
Back in June 2011, I was at a point where I knew I didn’t want to be in science anymore but I couldn’t tell you what I wanted to be. Actually, that’s a lie. I knew that if I had all the money in the world I’d open a yoga studio and teach yoga. At the time I couldn’t afford teacher training yet but I wanted to do something that would maybe help me figure out what I wanted to do. That’s when I started LiveRunLoveYoga, it was a place for me to talk about the things I loved (running and yoga) and share my lessons and experiences. While I was building the blog I threw around all sorts of career ideas. Michael was my sounding board and talked out every option with me (that man is a saint). I thought maybe I should go to law school, or get my MBA, or maybe I should be a nurse. I started talking to anyone and everyone who had changed careers, I listened to their stories and all the advice given to me and continued to search. Michael kept encouraging me to find something that wouldn’t require me to go back to school and would let me do something with running or yoga.
I opened up to the yoga instructor at my office one day, a particularly rough day, and shared what I was going through. She was so happy to hear that I was going to pursue teaching yoga and suggested that I look into becoming a personal trainer. I went home and researched the certifications and talked to some local personal trainers via email. A week later I bought the program from NASM and started studying. While I was studying I interviewed for a position at my gym, a membership advisor. The position seemed like it would be OK but it wasn’t right. During my interview I mentioned that I was studying for my personal trainer’s certification. Everyone thought I had the right attitude and drive to be successful as a personal trainer and I went on with the interview process. Everything was going along well until the topics of salary and a non-compete agreement came. I just couldn’t afford the drastic cut in salary and the agreement basically said I couldn’t teach in a 10 mile radius outside of the gym. That meant no private yoga studios. Right there in the interview, I told them it was a deal breaker and that we couldn’t continue the process. I really wanted to teach yoga and wasn’t going to compromise. I was disappointed, I was so close to figuring it out and felt like I’d hit a dead-end. Michael reminded me that everything I was going through was just part of the process and journey and not to get discouraged.
Meanwhile at work, things weren’t going well. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with my job and my company, and really wanted a change. My commute was long and only was going to get longer when I moved in with Michael. The added stress of the drive was eating away at me. I started develop pain in my jaw that miraculously went away every weekend but always returned during the week. I found myself grinding my teeth and getting mid-afternoon headaches every single day. My patience was fading and I felt so ragey inside, like a two-year old who wanted to throw a temper tantrum. I complained to Michael ALL THE TIME and just got more and more wrapped up in how miserable I was and how much I wanted a change. During my drives home I’d talk to my Mom and if she said something that hit me the wrong way I’d just snap. I knew it wasn’t fair to be this person to the people I love and I hated who I was becoming. I took refuge in running and yoga and knew they were the release I needed to keep me sane. Every night I’d go home and run or hit the yoga studio and I felt myself relax and become the person I’m proud to be. But these ups and downs and high’s and low’s were so hard to deal with.
In the spring I found a position at my company in marketing and thought with the experience from my blog and the knowledge I had from my current role it could be a good fit. The interviews went well and I was excited and hopeful that it all would work out. Before we could get to the final stages of the process there was a hiring freeze and I was forced to wait another quarter to continue on. I tried to be thankful that I had a job and kept searching. Living in Boston I’m fortunate enough to have brands like Saucony, Reebok, New Balance, Life is Good, and Runkeeper in my own back yard. Every week I’d search the postings and apply for anything that could be a good fit. Before I knew it, it was early summer and I had two interviews in one week. The position in my company was unfrozen and we could continue the process and the other was with a small start-up that had a software platform that helped people manage stress. Again the interviews went well and I was hopeful I’d have a job offer before Michael and I went away for vacation. That week the position at my company was frozen again and I walked away from the start-up. I was disappointed but had to trust my gut. I’ve learned too many times that when something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably because it’s not right. I’d waited this long to find the right position and certainly wasn’t going to settle. It needed to be right and feel right and I’d know when it was.
After vacation I started applying again, but with a new approach. I started looking at the gazillion universities in Boston and thought that a position in an athletic department might be where I’d thrive. I wrote all new cover letters, searched tons of job boards and started applying. I heard nothing but was continuing to network. Michael and I spent hours thinking about who I knew from my years in skiing, who he or his parent’s knew that might be able to help. We reached out to a lot of people but nothing was coming to fruition.
Not long after I started the intensive for yoga teacher training. On day #3 David said, if you don’t make space in your life for the things you want, how do you expect them to happen. His words stuck with me. I was certainly filling my life with a lot of negativity, and allowing myself to be miserable instead of opening myself up to new opportunities. That night I went home and laid in bed, applying for jobs. I told myself that I’d let the negativity go, I’d move on and make space for what I wanted. I had to.
A week later, after our intensive ended I went back to work with a renewed energy. I found a posting for a position that I knew I’d love and ran home to apply. I happened to know the director and hiring manager through Michael and sent her an email asking to talk with her more about the position. Later that week we met for coffee and I was beyond excited about the role. It sounded perfect. She told me to take the weekend to think about the opportunity and decide if I wanted to move forward. I emailed her that weekend and the next week I had my formal interview. The next day they called and offered me the job!! Or as Michael says, I made the Quantum Leap.
I’m excited to tell you all that I’ll be working at The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as a Campaign Coordinator for the Team in Training program! Many of you know that I ran the Boston Marathon with TNT in April and had an amazing experience. I’m so excited to be working for a non-profit, fighting cancer. The best part is this job involves a little bit of everything I wanted in a position. It has PR, marketing, relationship building and of course running. The team I’ll be working with is amazing and I can’t wait to get started.
Today is my last day at my current job and I start this new chapter on Monday. In January I hope to teach yoga a couple night’s a week. The perfect way to combine my passions and career if you ask me! It was a long year filled with a lot of tears, frustrations, so-called meltdowns and tough days. It was hard work, building this blog to represent myself and my abilities, networking, applying for jobs and trying to be hopeful. I never felt like I could relax, and always felt like I had to be doing something to change a situation I was so unhappy with. I’m so thankful to have Michael and my parents and good friends who let me vent, who pulled me up when I felt down and celebrated with me along the way. I seriously could not have done it without them.
I share this story, not to just fill you all in on the good things happening (there’s more to share yet!) but to give you some insight on to what has been happening behind the blog. And more so to show others, who I know are having the same career struggles, that you can get to where you want to go. For me, what I wanted changed and evolved so much over the year. For months I was just looking for something to bridge the gap between the present and when I became certified as a yoga instructor but then I realized I wanted a full-time job and that I wanted to teach part-time. And I wanted that full-time job to be something I loved. You have to have a good (ever-changing) plan, work hard and have a lot of patience. You have to know that the path to getting there is hard, frustrating and probably filled with some good cries. You have to network and listen from other people’s experiences and take their advice. And always no matter what the situation, take the high road. When you find something that fits, that will make you happy and incorporates what you love all that stress melts away and your just left smiling. Today, the struggle seems 100% worth it.