Confessions of a Career Changer
Read my confession (originally shared with my past clients and blog subscribers via Mailchimp) to learn why, after 11+ years, I’m contemplating a career change of my own.
I’ve begun contemplating a career change of my own, which includes (deep breath) an exit from career marketing and storytelling. After 11+ years of working my tail off to build a biz and reputation I’m proud of, pouring myself into clients’ careers, treating each client package as its own compact thesis, I’m considering walking away. This is scary, but I’m feeling the fear and doin’ it anyway (one of my favorite mantras).
You may be thinking, “Wait. Why? How is it that you can give everything to a business for 10+ years and then just abandon it? What about all the time and money you’ve invested? Are you crazy?” Well, if you don’t think my brain’s been churning over this, then you’re the crazy one. But it’s time for me to acknowledge the realities of the business I’ve built, as well as my professional limitations, and take inventory of what I want my life to look like from here on out, so I’m sharing some of that with you.
First, I’m a slow writer. I mean slooooooow. I take so much time crafting each phrase that it can be mind numbing – and that doesn’t include the design part of each client doc, which we know has to look good as well as comply with all that constantly changing ATS jazz. Then, before I even get to the writing part, I’ve typically exchanged a bunch of emails and had multiple phone appointments and hours of conversation to assess direction and needs, evaluate info, and draw out facts and insights to make the client stand out.
I’ve created an extremely time consuming, lengthy process, and while my client satisfaction and results have been kickass these past few years, I have to acknowledge that I’m in an industry where fast and cheap are often customers’ top priorities, and I can’t do either!
When most people seek help with their resume, they usually want it yesterday. I completely get that. But not only do I write slow, but I find that I get the best results when I spread my writing out over days, partly because my writing brain functions best in the morning. Let me tell you, there are only so many morning hours in a week, and for years, I’ve NEVER had a free weekday morning — and I wrote most Saturdays as well. Any morning that I had away from the computer screen felt like a vacation, and I need to bring more of that feeling into my daily life.
Another obstacle I failed to overcome as a writer and doc designer is that I’m a perfectionist. I’ve been told repeatedly that clients will be more than happy with less than perfect – just write it to get it out the door and be done with it – but I never could subscribe to that line of thinking. It’s just not me.
And with so much constantly changing in the careers game, I’ve dutifully invested oodles of time and $ each year to keeping up on the latest and greatest through continuing ed, conferences, and association memberships. Plus, I pay an editor to make sure all my writing’s right and tight. Let me tell you, that that sort of thing — and all the other costs associated with running your own show — adds up!
And, speaking of adding up, the amount of writing required to be and market yourself as a writer is INSANE. If you look at the samples on my website, you’ll see just how much writing I put into each client package alone. Yet if you’re in business these days, you also have to have a website full of up-to-date content, as well as a blog.
I put off the blog thing as long as I could and started writing it just a couple of years back. I’d pour myself into pulling together great info and packaging it up into pretty little articles. But all that extra writing, when you’re already writing to pay the bills, has been killing me. And for someone who’s always fantasized about writing a book, let me tell you, that will NEVER happen if I continue writing lengthy blogs and other people’s career stories. I have to face that fact.
I’m also facing the fact that change isn’t easy, but after moving between 5 states over the past 3 years (CO to NC to NY to NH to NM); taking on a semi-nomadic lifestyle to earn my keep as a property caretaker; being by my grandma’s side as she journeyed from cane, to walker, to wheelchair, to hospital bed, to grave; I feel like my eyes have been opened to new realities and possibilities, and I simply have to explore them so that I can find where I can help and what will return to me the appreciation, satisfaction, and financial return I need to feel good about giving my all to all that I give.
What’s next for me? I don’t exactly know. And for now, that’s ok. What I do know is that I loved putting together my new website for the new me here in Santa Fe. I’ve always loved marketing, so maybe I’ll return to doing that work on a project or consulting basis. I’ve also been volunteering and joined a bunch of Meetup groups, so while I’m out networking and making new friends in Santa Fe, I may discover a local need that I can build a business around.
I’ve also been thinking about how much I loved my earlier work in the nonprofit world, so a job working tirelessly for a cause I care about is absolutely not out of the question. What’s most important is that I’m open to something new and beginning to explore my career options.*
To all of you who I’ve worked with directly, THANK YOU! You’ve helped me learn sooooo much about being an entrepreneur. What I’ve learned has had a super-positive influence on my approach to where I plan to direct my energy and efforts next. And to my brand new blog subscribers, who I’m saying farewell to before even getting to know you better, my hope is that you’ll continue to have a passion for your career and that you’ll find other energized sources for your career questions and conundrums through Career Thought Leaders or the National Resume Writers Association.
Image courtesy of Unsplash.
08 January 2017