“Work, work, work, work, work, work, you see me I be work, work, work, work, work, work,” (Rihanna), I mean how could we not start this post with that song? We like to sing it to each other anytime a post about working and careers comes up. You can picture it, can’t you? With our fake British accents of course.
Anyway, making a career change can be one of the most risky and scary transitions and yet the most rewarding. On the one hand, you know what they say, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. We believe, however, that just like most things in life there are pros and cons to changing careers, changing companies within your same field, or even the change that occurs when you (hopefully) get promoted. Woo!
We have some experience on these changes that we’ll share below:
From No Rules to Corporate America (Sass): Right after I graduated from college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I got my job back at a bar in Georgetown. This was a legitimately no rules kinda place: I got paid under the table, we drank through our shifts, and often talked back to customers (the customer is always right rule certainly did not apply here). I picked right up from college to a sports bar with no rules to a start-up company where my “bosses” worked out of California and pretty much had no idea what I did all day to finally, the corporate job I held for the last 5 years. In just over a year my work attire went from Daisy Dukes, to leggings and a sweatshirt working from home, to black suits every darn day. I remember the first few weeks of having to be at work in a suit at a desk at 8:30am…it felt like the worst thing in the world. There were plenty of days where I took naps on my lunch break rather than eat. It was bruuuuutal but seeing as I was there for 5 years, I got the hang of it. Adjusting your schedule can be daunting and I’d offer advice on how to do it but I definitely don’t think I did it the most graceful way (LOL) but hey, I was 23 and could handle it.
I also had to change my mindset. In my corporate job the customer was pretty much always right and thankfully I’m a smart cookie and figured that out right quick! I also had to adjust back to answering to someone and learn new processes and systems for doing things. I had to learn the lingo and the hierarchy too. So.much.change but like I said, I figured it out pretty quickly.
From No Rules to Corporate America (Sweetness): For me, Sweetness, I was babysitting and cheered for the Nets right out of college, however I was really excited to join “corporate” America. I thought dressing in work clothes each day would be really fun, even though I absolutely loved my babysitting and cheerleading job, I was ready to be more professional. I worked for Verizon Wireless for a long time in HR and Sales and though I learned a ton from working in a corporate setting, if anyone needs a babysitter – I’ll gladly be yours! The 9-5 is not something that I want to do for the rest of my life and it is often hard to have to be somewhere everyday at a particular time. In my current role, I often get complimented for how professional I am, which I will thank Verizon for, however I’ve come to learn that I want more time for myself and more flexibility, especially when I have kids.
From Entry Level to Middle Management (Sass): So, I worked for a corporate residential property management company. I started on the ground floor as a leasing agent. Being a leasing agent is mainly about sales but it is also involves hand-holding residents through rent increases and construction, putting out fires when the renovation team accidentally knocks through the wrong wall, handling office politics, and paperwork. Good LAWD, the paperwork! But pretty much if you could handle the politics and the paperwork and had excellent sales numbers, you could get promoted, which I did (quite a few times – oh yaaaass)! Details of the promotion aside, the biggest changes involved now leading a team and answering to the bigger bosses at a different level. Basically as the low man on the totem pole, as long as your sales were stellar people left you alone. As a manager, however, no one leaves you alone. The team below you needs you to inspire and lead them but also sometimes babysit them. And the team above you needs to do all of that for the team below you but also do the projects and tasks that the they don’t want to do or have the time to do. In my case this meant one word…SPREADSHEETS! My company loved spreadsheets. It also meant reporting, lots of reporting and numbers. You get me, right? Specifics aside, it meant double duty aka more responsibility. In some ways it was nice to get away from the battlefield that was the leasing floor and to have an office to get work done in. On the other hand, it really meant that I only talked to clients when they were unhappy, you know, the “I want to talk to a manager” types. There are pros and cons, as there is with anything to getting a promotion but of course the big fat nice pro is that it usually comes with a pay increase!
From Corporate America to Working From Home (Sweetness): There was a period of time where I was strictly working from home right after I moved back from California. It was what I needed at the time since I went through a hard break up and needed to get my life back on track. I enjoyed being able to settle back in, especially on those hard days when I was upset due to my recent break up. As I started getting more settled, I realized that working from home has it benefits, however it also has its downfalls. I wasn’t in a setting where I was talking and interacting with new people, which is what I started to need after some time.
Though I am really good at sticking to a routine, it would often be 2pm and I was still in my PJ’s and haven’t ate anything the whole day. For some reason when I am home, I just do, do , do and forget to eat. Crazy I know, but it was starting to become something that I really needed to change. I made a change and acted like I had to be somewhere at a certain time so I was getting up, working out right away, actually getting dressed, and would eat lunch at a reasonable hour. Having more of a routine helped me be more productive at home, while still being able to enjoy the benefits until I got a new job in an office setting.
From Corporate America to Working From Home (Sass): While I was out on maternity leave an opportunity came up for me to work from home for my parents’ business. When we looked at the cost of childcare, it made sense. Also, I get stressed out about things like who is dropping off and picking up, who is making lunch, she’s sick and I need to take off of work, etc. My company was NOT flexible in any way shape or form so eliminating those stressors made sense for me and the fam bam. Working from home, as Sweetness said, has its pros and cons. My days went from the rules having rules to leggings and Elmo songs. My “office” moves wherever the baby wants or needs to be, most of the time I’m on the floor with my laptop on my lap! It’s chaotic and not always the most productive but it works for us. I definitely miss the office environment from time to time, mostly the handful of people I really love working with but otherwise, this is working out just fine!
We’ve gone through our share of changes and we’re sure when we rewrite this post years from now there will be more changes! Changing jobs, careers, titles, or working environments can be stressful but at the end of the day we try to find the positives! And as always, we want to know: what was the biggest move you’ve made in your work? Did you change careers? Did you get a big promo recently? Tell us everything!
Xo Sass and Sweetness