Monday, September 18, 2017

A Series of Fortunate Events

"Just WHAT are you thinking?"

These are the words that I heard when I explained to someone close to me why I had just quit the job where I had successfully started climbing the corporate ladder. On the outside looking in, my life looked like complete chaos up until this year. And although it looks more put together for the first time in 4 years, it still feels like chaos sometimes.

I had been in HR for about 5 years when I decided that it was absolutely not the job for me. When I graduated college, I moved straight to VA because I had landed a job right out of college, a requirement per a very important man in my life (dad). Not to move to another state, but to have a job when I graduated. I found one in VA, so I moved. Quite abruptly too, I found a roommate on Craigslist (before the killer) and just up and left (Side note: Amanda and I are still friends, and I'm still alive, obviously). I started in recruiting, and well, it wasn't for me. So after a while I switched to administrative work (same company) because I loved the company, but wanted a different field. I went from that to Project Management. I was happy there, I was close to my family in VA, and it was awesome being somewhat involved in the government.

Two years later, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. So I moved home.

Miraculously, I obtained a job at another government contractor in the area. This time, in recruiting again. Wait what? Well, kind of. I was doing admin work for recruiters. You know, typing up resumes, sending invites for interviews, etc. I actually really liked this job, but wanted to continue moving up. So then I went into HR. I stayed at the company until I had to work from home, and that became hard for me. Most people say working at home is hard because you are alone all day and you can't really define the working part, and the home part. It becomes symbiotic. That's hard. I thrive being around people. This became old.

I switched from that company to another because a co-worker moved that I really liked, and it enabled me to go back to an office. While I met AWESOME people, I started to realize HR was also not for me. It was all of the things a good job should be, secure, good pay, and great friends. But I wasn't enjoying the work, so my heart wasn't in it. I knew so many people who had jobs that they tolerated, and then at 60 years old wished they had done something they truly loved. That scared me even more than leaving. So, I quit. This was where the quote above came in.

Was it risky? Sure. But it had to be done. 

I decided I wanted to do event planning, and went into that. I had done event planning in college in a group called the Campus Activities Board. I figured if I could organize Dr. Ben Carson coming to campus at one point, I could probably get back into event planning now. I tried working with wedding vendors, event planning companies, etc. Now that was fun! But many were part time gigs, and that just didn't pay the bills. I owned a house at this time, and it was just too much. I remember distinctively sitting in my house in tears wondering what I was going to do, where I was going. I remember going to parties either in the family or otherwise where everyone else had it together (seemingly) and a career. They were happy and secure, I wasn't. I was all OVER the place! I had no direction. I was terrified. I cried several times a day. I was used to work being my life. It always had been. It defined me.

Previously:
Sarah Ramsey, age 26, Human Resources Generalist (probably on way to Business Partner or upper level at some point, at least that was my career path), at one point traveled the world in college, undergrad in business, owns home, etc. Everything made sense.
I became:
Sarah Ramsey, age 26, no idea, at one point traveled the world but that's old news, undergrad in business (still relevant), owns home but can't afford it, etc. Literally, no idea what's next. Nothing made sense.

So I decided- I'm going to go back to school. That's what people do right? No idea? Go to school! An MBA sounded solid, then I decided I'd pick a track and focus and then get a job doing that. Alright, finally, a PLAN. The school I decided on was definitely the school for me, the University of Baltimore. I started my track in Marketing. Later, I decided no, I'm going to really follow my dreams and do Entrepreneurship. I had after all, wanted to own my own business one day. But in what?

I felt like I was slowly losing my plan again. 

I tried doing other things as well, I moved to the city, something I'd always wanted to do. I didn't realize how every piece would start falling into place... a year later I moved out of the city and decided no, county life is where I should be. I'm sort of a gypsy, are you noticing?

Also, it's important to note that during all of this time of confusion I had started volunteering at local shelters and joining dog training training classes. I had also taken on a job (part time- training) and learned a lot under who is now my business partner. More on why I wanted to become a dog trainer in another post. That's a whole separate story.

I did a marketing/social media/events job for about a year but then I took on school full time and decided to only work part time dog training. When the opportunity presented itself to own my own dog business with my business partner, I JUMPED.

Here is what happened:

  • Moving to Baltimore I met one of our good partners, a local dog store. We do several events with them each month. 
  • I also learned of several local dog places, restaurants, etc. including one that we use now for group classes and has become an invaluable resource to us. 
  • I met people from local rescues and non-profits that now help us all of the time. 
  • Being in event planning, I'm able to plan our events that we do each month, and they always turn out to be fun. 
  • I also know how and where to advertise, because of my social media background. My marketing job prepared me for this.
  • I made so many connections in the city, that I'm always finding someone that can help us in some way. 
  • The years that I spent in HR prepared me for customer service, as did the short time that I spent in the restaurant business. 
  • Years in an office prepared me for business and how it really runs. 
  • I met my business partner, who turned out to be a complete gem and amazing dog trainer/mentor. 
  • My first job in Baltimore city doing event planning/sales, prepared me for sales now.
  • Because of my dads help, I already knew how to do many business related things like taxes. Make no mistake, I would do anything for him to be here to help me now. But he helped me in every way possible while he was still here. He prepared me for this.
  • Obviously my degree is proving to also be invaluable as a guide to running a business too.
  • Most importantly: I'm living my DREAM OF OWNING A BUSINESS! 
Suddenly, everything that I had learned in my previous jobs that seemed random, all had a place in my life.
Most entrepreneurs have some kind of crazy background story. What went from chaos and panic and in my mind failure, went to doing everything I've always wanted to do. I bought a house, my life feels back together (most days) and I'm graduating in the Spring (if all goes accordingly). There are SO many more pieces that fell into place that would take probably several pages to really explain. Don't ever give up on your dream. I went through 4 years of being terrified and on a limited income to get where I am today. I'm still nervous sometimes. But as my dad used to say:

"When it feels right, it's right". 

This is an "Ella" wreath that a client made me that I picked up today.












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