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To all the jobs I’ve had before — thank you!

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Some people have a clear career trajectory. Not me. But I wouldn’t be who I am today without the twists and turns of my path. As I say “thank you” to my former employers, I encourage you to keep the spirit of openness to learn new things, share yourself and experiences, and always lead with your best efforts.

Who the heck wants to buy pottery from a barn?

During my 10-year adventure juggling school, work, and, at times, a relationship, my sales associate position at Pottery Barn was sometimes taken for granted.

With hindsight, I now realize the job wasn’t just there when I needed it to support my finances — it taught me the essential communication skills needed to handle difficult situations. These situations never resulted in a trending viral video, so I must’ve done something right.

I carry forward with me the importance of always representing yourself and who you work for in the most positive manner possible. Also, I learned to keep calm while developing solutions that do right by not just myself, but — equally as important — the client. Another important lesson: It is impossible to always make everyone happy, but I do strive to find the balance for all to be satisfied with the results.

Thank you, Pottery Barn! For showing me how to provide superb customer service that results in a win for the business.

Pottery Barn 428, Easton Town Center

These boots were made for walking but let me tell you about shoes

DSW was my first step away from my university education toward that coveted office job. In this case, it was a photo studio, where I soon learned DSW would be more fun than I anticipated.

To experience strong and caring leadership in my first career-focused role almost made me spoiled. Leadership encouraged me to explore beyond my assigned duties and work more on strengthening my analytical skills. Focusing on these new aspects of work provided me the opportunity to improve department reporting and workflow management.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was where the transition in my career would begin. This is where I was first exposed to SharePoint.

This giant leap in my journey propelled me closer to owning my professional development by taking on the initiative to enhance photo studio operations and measurements of success. My exposure to strong leadership provided a sense of autonomy while I was striving to remain a creative and the unexpected transformation I found was consistently striving for greater efficiency.

Thank you, DSW, Inc.! For showing me what great leadership looks like and how to take initiative in developing my own path forward.

DSW Inc. Photo Studio volunteer outing at the Furniture Bank

A big risk taken for a limited time

DSW leadership encouraged me to continue to strive for more as I moved on. I left with no real expectations, and it was a risk, but I knew this opportunity presented a chance for me to continue to push forward professionally. My partner has always echoed the same sentiment in his own career — that taking risks are necessary to move forward with life.

Six months before the white flag was waved, bankruptcy filed, and the intellectual property was sold, I joined The Limited. With no expectations in place, I experienced more in those six months than I initially bargained.

Through budget cuts and a repurposed role assignment, pivoting quickly became my second nature. That meant stepping out of a role and pitching in where needed. Finding new ways to accomplish the same results with fewer resources proved too challenging for The Limited as a whole. I learned a tough lesson here, but through it all, I now see that my nature and that of the human spirit is wonderful, especially in the face of unexpected adversity.

Thank you, The Limited! For showing me the true human spirit and how to come together with an all-hands-on deck mentality to accomplish great things even when the future is uncertain.

The Limited, Fourth of July home office event

This works

My next role as photo retoucher at Bath & Body Works (BBW) was initially an interim solution for income. I combated the doubt that set in with taking a role that appeared almost identical to my first role starting out at DSW. But happily enough, things ended up a bit different. The BBW photo studio was integrated with the digital experience team, offering me exposure to new personalities, concepts, and stakeholders. This turned out to be a perfect opportunity to broaden my interpersonal communications skills.

My role flourished with the broader team, and I understood that my knowledge and experience are the most important tools in my toolbox. I was able to effectively collaborate across the company, recommending solutions that improved understanding of what goes on outside of an individual unit. This helped to strengthen my skill in SharePoint by developing new solutions to existing and emerging problems.

Thank you, Bath & Body Works! For showing me that a side-step can be the right step in a forward direction when it’s least expected. And you enabled me to continue to learn and grow.

Victoria’s Secret home office event at Bath & Body Works

That was then, this is now

After being brought up in a world where you are constantly told that what you study and what piece of paper you have will define your life and career, I found myself struggling internally because I thought I had to compete against everyone else. Instead, I’ve pivoted — again! — to change my approach to my life and career: I now treat each experience as one small portion of a lifelong liberal arts education.

It isn’t always clear where our journey will take us. In college, I focused on web and user experience design. Then I followed a path in creative positions in the retail industry. But the opportunities that came my way and the knowledge I sought out are what led me to be a SharePoint communications specialist at DCG. So, for a final thank you …

Thank you, DCG! For showing me that being an advocate for myself and my skill set can open doors to new, diverse opportunities.

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