I’m a working mom with four kids – all thankfully employed and gone from the nest. I took 10 years out of the workforce to raise my kids and wouldn’t trade that time with them for anything. But when it was time to re-enter the workforce it was far more challenging than I anticipated.
I had just turned 50 and found a starter job working part-time at Starbucks for $8.25 an hour. Having spent several years as an executive assistant for the c-suite, I thought my experience would translate into great opportunities when I was ready to get back in the workforce, but it didn’t. I was either overqualified or under qualified for every position I applied for.
I really felt like I’d lost my professional life and was worried that I’d never find her again.
Several months into my job search, a friend of mine saw a post I made on Facebook that I was looking for a job and they knew that Imaginuity was looking for an office manager. Ironically, I got the interview with a digital marketing firm through the power of Facebook! Within a week I had an interview and got the job.
Once I joined the agency and established trust with my teammates I sought out more responsibility. They didn’t hesitate to give me a shot. I started helping with finances, auditing and payroll – I took advantage of every opportunity to do more.
It paid off. When our head of HR left the company to pursue her political career, I was offered the opportunity to learn how to manage benefits and recruiting in addition to the payroll responsibilities I had adopted. By taking on more challenges, learning the business and our culture I had positioned myself to grow into an integral leadership role.
The executives of the agency really allowed me to stretch my wings. From adding fresh talent to our team, to ensuring we have competitive benefits to take care of our teammates, to taking the lead on the company’s community service and culture initiatives, I want to give back to the company in any way I can.
What I’ve learned on this journey is that you have to maintain your own identity through all of the stages of life. Don’t let anyone or any situation cause you to lose yourself. If I had to do it all over again, I would have spent more time staying connected to my network, taking on projects to keep my professional skills fresh and finding ways to remain relevant in the work world.
But my journey is mine alone and I believe everything that led me to this point shapes my worldview and how I lead – with great empathy and open-mindedness for everyone who raises their hand and wants to join our team.
Imaginuity not only trusted me to do more, they enabled me to find my professional life again and become a leader within the company and for that, I will be eternally grateful.