Faith & Reinvention: Testimony of an Economic Survivor
I started my career in the private sector working in sales and account management. After a few years I became very stagnated and realized that I needed to shake things up. I decided to step out on faith to relocate and enroll in a graduate film program in Washington, DC. It was a difficult decision, because it required living away from my daughter who lived with her mother and was four years-old at the time. Even though I did not finish the program (I moved back to Charlotte, NC to be closer to my daughter), I was able to navigate into a more meaningful career in the non-profit arena after teaching middle school for a year.
The first non-profit position as a Youth Program Specialist ended abruptly when the organization had to let me go due to a lack of funding. Fortunately, I was able to find an even better position as an Education Outreach Manager with a history museum within a few months. After almost two years at the museum, I was hired as a Co-Director for an organization that empowered young adults to become more active citizens. But, I found myself searching for a job once again, due to staff reductions caused by the economic decline of 2008 to 2009.
This time, I was able to meet with an incredible career coach, named Nick Beamon. Nick helped me realize the importance of defining my passion and understanding my core competencies. He said having an authentic understanding of your personal and professional self and projecting that to potential employers increases your ability to attract the right career opportunity. Through the assistance of a colleague, I was introduced to the CEO of a mental health company, who asked me to draft a job description based on the value I could bring to his company. Six weeks after my last assignment ended, I had a new position as Director of Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships.
If you have been counting, than you know that there is a third lay-off in my career history. I was impacted by another financially-induced downsizing only a year after my start date. My faith in God, and in myself, have been tested and strengthened during this latest employment challenge. I finally got the push I needed to start my own business. This past year I produced my first film and founded a media production company. Becoming an entrepreneur is my most recent reinvention, but it will not be my last.
4 Lessons of Career Reinvention I Try to Live By:
1. Believe in the possible
Faith enables us to believe in the possibility of an outcome that is different than our current circumstances. It means believing that you have everything you need to begin the journey towards reinvention, no matter what the present looks like. But, we have to make the choice to acquire a life of greater fulfillment and freedom by taking deliberate steps and making the necessary sacrifices to realize our dreams.
2. Get out of the box
When you are stuck in your life or career, sometimes you just have to shake things up. Get out of your box or comfort zone by doing something out of your routine. You can go back to school, travel to a new place, or volunteer with a non-profit that needs help. Start that part-time business you keep putting off. If it feels uncomfortable, that's the point. Getting out of the box, allows you to gain a new perspective and stimulate your reinvention.
3. Know yourself
Reinvention is not about changing who we are, its about exploring and developing new dimensions of our authentic self. We must be able to define and understand our passion, gifts (our inherent strengths), and core competencies, as well as our weaknesses or deficiencies. Knowing yourself allows you to identify opportunities that you will excel in, because they are consistent with your passion, will allow you to build upon your best capabilities, and improve your weak spots.
4. Erase “failure” from your vocabulary
In your quest to reinvent yourself there will be moments when you fall short of your goals. Society calls these setbacks failures, but if you have learned and grown from these experiences, they can be considered successes. It is all a matter of perspective. Never allow your mistakes or losses to define you. As long as you are moving forward and evolving as a professional, and more importantly as a person, you are already successful.