While I am in Chicago, I thought it would be fun to have a guest post for you guys! My friend, Meredith, blogs over at What Meredith Makes and is one of my most favorite people. Seriously, you cannot get a much sweeter, kinder, more genuine person. Meredith has always been one of those friends that makes me feel so much better, regardless of what I am going through. We spent many summers and many, many, many hours working together at Shaw’s Ridge Farm and I couldn’t have been happier when she moved to Boston because that meant we got to hang out more! There was one summer where I literally went out every Thursday with her and her work friends after work. Looking back, I have no idea how we did that, Mere, and then went to work on Friday… I definitely cannot manage that anymore!
Anyway, I think you’re going to love this post from Meredith. She has made some huge life changes over the past year and I couldn’t be more proud of her for them! It takes incredible strength to completely change your life, not to mention move across the world. With that said, I’m happy to have you back on the east cost in the US, Mere!
Starting Over at 27
Hi there! I’m Meredith and I blog over at What Meredith Makes. A few fun facts: I’m a twin, I just moved back to the USA after a 9-month stint in Australia, and I love all-things dessert. Monique is one of my closest friends from home, so I was ecstatic when she started her blog, and especially honored that she asked me to guest post!
One of the things I’ve always admired about Monique is her work ethic. I mean just reading about her weekly adventures makes me tired sometimes! Balancing a full-time job in the city, plus teaching multiple classes per week and making time for her own daily work-outs, plus having a social life…that’s a lot on her plate. However, she’s doing what she loves, and loving what she’s doing, which is something I think a lot of us struggle with as we enter adulthood. I know I do. Anyway, I wanted to share why I started over at 27 and some tips about how I did it in order to pursue what I love. Whether you’re 27 or 47, I hope these help!
It seems natural as a 20-something and in the current economy to take a job out of college simply because we have to. Whether it’s because we need the money immediately, or we’re simply settling for now, we all have our reasons. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do for a career when I graduated. My degree was a BS in Business Administration, concentrating in Accounting and Literary Studies, neither of which were things I was sure I wanted to do.
Anyway, I ended up accepting a position at a financial services company in Boston and ended up working there for 4.5 years. While I loved my co-workers, I just wasn’t happy in my job. That’s not to say I didn’t try. In fact, I held four different positions over the course of those four years, trying sales, product marketing, and editorial marketing, anything I could to get more experience and find my ‘nitch’. All the while, I was researching ways to go back to school and earn a master’s degree for my true passion, nutrition. I quickly learned that a financial services company wasn’t going to reimburse me for going back for a master’s of nutrition, and they certainly didn’t support me leaving work early to do that either. I thought I was stuck, but I wasn’t. An opportunity to move abroad and begin studying overseas was what ultimately prompted my decision to ‘start over’ in my career, but here’s a few other things I did along the way:
1) I asked for help
Everyone’s situation is different, but for me, my parents knew I was unhappy at work. They just didn’t know how to help me. While it was intimidating to ask, I’m so happy I did and forever grateful. For example, when my apartment lease was up I asked my grandparents for a place to live and they took me in for two months. This helped reduce my living and car expenses greatly. Plus, my sister and parents loaned me money for a school enrollment deposit that I couldn’t have made without them, and my old boss hired me for part-time work during school breaks to supplement my income stream.
2) I did my research
Going back to school can be very pricey. If you’re considering it, I suggest doing your research. I have a daunting list of undergrad science classes I need to complete in order to even apply for my desired Master’s program this spring, and I wanted to achieve this in the most affordable way possible. Community Colleges are the way to go in my opinion. I did price comparisons, researched the classes offered, worked with admissions, toured a few facilities, and within days I was registered for classes. Doing your research pays off, I promise!
3) I stopped comparing and instead I focus on the now, not the unknown
So your sibling gets 5 weeks off paid vacation time this year, or your friend is making x$ amount this quarter…don’t compare yourself to them. Be happy for them, and then re-focus on your goal and where you are now. At 27 years of age, I couldn’t be happier to be a student again. Having a specific goal of graduate school in the near future helps me focus, and it is also very invigorating to study a subject you love. Although it’s terrifying to not know what program I’ll be in or where I’ll be living at this time next year, worrying about that right now isn’t going to get me anywhere!
4) I’ve made my schedule flexible
Unsure of when to take your classes? I opted to take all night classes so that I could have my weekdays and weekends free. Plus, night classes are generally full of students my age or older, which I appreciate in terms of maturity levels. In addition, taking night classes leaves an ample amount of study time for me during the day and it offers any employer a flexible schedule to work-around. I love working back in the hospitality industry after being at a desk job for almost 5 years. Change can be so refreshing! Plus, I appreciate that my schedule isn’t “set” every day. I can sleep-in a few days a week, and wearing athletic clothes all day is a plus, too. That surely didn’t happen in corporate America!
Thanks again to Monique for asking me to guest-post today. I hope you’ll head on over to my blog every now and then, too!
Thanks again, Mere, for such a great guest post topic! B2B readers- I hope you enjoyed this!
Questions for you: Have you ever made a life changing decision or move? Do you struggle with doing what makes you happy and not comparing yourself to others?