Switching Careers-the Hurdles I Saw and Endured
By Guest Blogger Angie Shadle.
Operations Manager and Marketing Account Manager for Growin’ Out Loud Darlin’ LLC.
In 2021 I changed my career, drastically, changing from a leadership role in medical charging to a marketing account manager. Let me tell you, there were hurdles that I had to learn to jump over to even come close to the finish line of feeling like “I got this!”
Still waiting: Change is a process… Not a destination.
I knew with the background I had, that there were many skills that would work well for my new role, but I also knew there would be many uncomfortable and difficult hurdles in my lane that I would have to learn to leap over before I would start feeling comfortable.
New programs… New People… New Town…OMG!
Down the first stretch I approach hurdle one, learning entirely new computer programs. This was not unknown to me to have to jump in and start figuring out a new program I had never used (let alone heard of). But the way I learn is to dig around and play in the dirt. Get my hands dirty by scouring for how-to videos, reading articles and blogs, watching tutorials, and of course actually getting in there and just clicking and playing around with what the program has to offer. Did anyone TELL you how to play in the sandbox? NOPE… The best way to learn is to do! But to learn multiple programs in a matter of weeks was tough. Talk about brain overload! I had to catch on and catch up quick (clients are so demanding…ROI…ROI…ROI, LOL)
Once I had a feel for the programs, then it was time to approach the next hurdle. Take on multiple clients, learn about their business and start creating graphics and content. This is no easy task. Consistently doing research about their business, and then coming up with different ways to get their message out. To figure out their style, what kind of content to create and how to sound and feel like their brand can be a lot (and there’s no time for naps…major bummer). It’s learning and embodying each client’s business as if it were your own. Week over week creating new graphics and writing content to utilize in their social media and email marketing campaigns. It felt like, and still feels like, I am a part of all these businesses to some extent because of all the research and creation that goes along with creating content and effectively “being the brand”. Let me tell you, being creative day in and day out is amazing, but it can also be mentally exhausting.
Did I mention NEW PEOPLE… Ya there’s LOTS of NEW PEOPLE!
One of my biggest hurdles, and one that I still struggle to get over when I approach it, is the networking. I have always been terrified to speak in front of people. It doesn’t matter if it’s a class of 30 or a small group of 5. Give a book report in front of the class? Forget about it! Talk about a room spinning, ear pressure, voice shaking, out of body feeling. That’s been me since the 3rd grade. I have never liked getting up and talking in front of people, I get very shy and quiet around people I don’t know, how in the heck am I supposed to go out and network with people?!
What should I say?
What questions do I ask?
Do I shake their hand?
Did I remember to bring business cards?
How long should you talk to each person?
When the chatter slows down and you both don’t know what to say next, do you just turn around and walk away and find another new person to do this over and over with?
Should I mention here that I also have anxiety (if you haven’t already noticed)?
After many events of sweaty palms, shaky hands and not really sure what to say or talk about, or how to even approach people, I figured out that I am not the only one there that feels the same way. Everyone here is coming to meet new people and hopefully build some business relationships and possibly referrals and clients. So, if you struggle with this like I do, know you are not alone. There’s always at least one other person in the room that feels like you do. Knowing we are all there for the same goals helps put the mind at ease. The more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes.
There will always be hurdles along your path but knowing how you endured them will help you be more prepared to take on any hurdle that might come your way.