I am so pleased to share with you all today that I will be making a huge change in my life – for the better! I have the amazing opportunity to take on a new role at Style Collective, heading up Membership & Education.
I have been a teacher for ten years and earned my master’s in education, and now it seems that I am leaving the profession…or am I?
Well, teaching is actually in my blood – my great grandmother, grandmother, mother, and aunts were/are all teaching professionals. So if I ever had a destiny, it was to teach! Over the past 10 years I have been lucky to have lots of different classroom experiences: the good, the bad, and the ugly. If one thing is for certain, it’s that I love helping others, and that has been a major part of why I enjoy teaching.
When I was faced with going back to work after Rose was born I was very torn. I wanted to be there with my daughter, but I also wanted to remain in the workforce and not lose my identity as an educated and accomplished professional. I reluctantly went back to work once my maternity leave was up, but I knew I wasn’t truly happy. I was definitely caught between two worlds, and something was missing. I needed to find a way to have it all, because who doesn’t deserve to have their own form of happiness?
Many women today struggle with their roles, and I was definitely one of them. Do I go back to work and keep my career? Will that make me a “bad mom”? How much of my child’s life will I miss? Should I stay at home and put my career on hold, or leave it indefinitely? Will I lose respect from those I care about? How will this affect us financially? Will that make me a “bad woman” for giving up on myself? Am I weak that I can’t do both? I wanted to give it a try, and try I did. I went back to work and tried to find happiness and pride in what I was doing. But, I couldn’t. I thought that I would lose respect for myself if I quit my job and stayed at home, but I realized that I was disappointed in myself no matter what I decided. I was unhappy and unfulfilled, and it wasn’t because I had decided to work, or not to work. It was because I wasn’t allowing myself to be happy or being accepting of my own feelings. I was afraid to seem weak, but I should have worried more about how I would feel about my life looking back in 10, 20, or 30 years. Would I look back and say, “Yes, Jessie, you did the right thing”? No, I don’t think I would have. I needed to find what worked for me; my own perfect recipe for happiness and fulfillment.
One weekend a couple of months ago, I was dreading going back to work. I didn’t want my time with my daughter to end, and I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish that I couldn’t get to in time. My husband suggested that I just quit – “Just don’t go back,” he said. “You don’t owe them anything. It’s more important for you to be happy.” He was right, but I was still holding on to the idea that I had to prove myself. I knew I still wanted to work. “Maybe I’ll email Annie [Spano, Style Collective CEO]…see if she needs help.” That night I wrote what seemed like an essay rather than an email, and Max read it over for me a few times. I was so nervous to send it – out of fear of rejection, fear of change, fear of embarrassment – that I didn’t email it until the next morning. I remember feeling like the day dragged on forever before I heard from Annie, even thought it was a perfectly reasonable amount of time for her to reply. I never realized how hard it is to put yourself out there. I had always taken the safe route. But, in order to get what you want, sometimes you have to jump without knowing if the floor will be there when you land.
The subject line of this email indicates that it is a pitch, and that is exactly what it is: I am pitching myself to you, Annie. I would love nothing more than to assist you at Style Collective in any capacity.
I would be absolutely honored to have you part of the team and I am so incredibly happy that you wrote this email. Asking for something is the best thing you can do for yourself as a woman and a business woman.
The words she shared really spoke to me. She was right! The best thing I did for myself was to write that email and just. ask. Without asking, I never would have known.
So, instead of my heart breaking every day from missing my daughter, and giving up my identity as a working mom, I was lucky enough to find the perfect solution and come on board with Style Collective. I can work from home, make my own hours, travel, meet incredible people, focus on myself and – most importantly – my daughter and family. It allows me to help others who have passion for learning – which is quite different from what I have been doing these past 10 years. These women are people who do what they love and want to succeed, and that is inspiring and uplifting in itself. I am helping members in various ways, and a large part of my job is developing and writing the E-Courses and E-Books that SC members have access to. So, you can almost say that I haven’t quit my teaching career, it has just evolved into something new that fits me and my life.
The idea of the traditional career, at this point in history, is quickly evolving, and I am glad that my fears about changing my life are slowly fading.
I am so thrilled to be working for an empowering organization like Style Collective. Women helping other women is such a powerful act, and a beautiful message that needs to continue to grow! I know of so many members who depend on the support they get from their SC sisters, and have grown as professionals because of the resources and opportunities that Style Collective provides. The opportunities earned as a collective aren’t kept as a secret, they are lovingly shared with all the members. Not to mention, with the amount of resources available, there’s not enough time in the day to go through it all! The positives are endless, but my biggest thrill is the vision of where Style Collective is going, and I am so excited for what the future holds.
Thanks to the flexibility that this new position is offering me, I am able to focus more on my life and own personal goals. Instead of this being just a job change, it is a complete lifestyle change. A personal goal for me is to definitely find balance in my life – with new adventures and big changes in my future, I need to be sure to keep my priorities straight (and not neglect my husband too much!). Really, he is my rock and I love him dearly for supporting me in all of this, and for being my best friend.
This was a scary change for me. Taking the leap into a non-traditional career role wasn’t easy, but it definitely felt right once I had settled into the idea. Not taking a chance is a worse mistake than trying and failing. Every mistake is a point of growth that you can learn from, but you can’t learn from something you never try. I knew I needed to give this a shot, for myself, for Rose and my husband, and for my future. I feel as if this was meant to be, but I never knew it until it presented itself. The universe just knew!
You can’t rush the universe. Give everything you do 100%, not just in effort, but in research, planning, self education, and follow through. Things are bound to happen if you live your life with purpose.