I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM DOING
I recently uprooted my life and moved across the country to sunny Orange country, California. After an extensive career working in healthcare. I worked in everything from medical billing, to a respiratory therapist and even landed in sales within the medical device industry where I found my career home. I loved teaching physicians how to use medical devices, and oddly, I was good at it. I got a couple of quick promotions and became a National Sales Training Manager. All before I turned 30, I was in my prime! Crushing it and taking names. Naturally, I ended up in a bunch of rooms with some of the smartest people I will probably ever encounter in my life. I don’t mean people who knew how to add and subtract, but people who knew how to navigate life. They drank the finest wines, had the best taste in cigars and knew how to expense it all on the company’s dime while simultaneously closing major business deals. As these people talked in circles around me, so, I decided I needed to go back to business school. Fortunately for me, I decided to go back to business school in 2019, the semester before COVID-19 devastated the world. I quickly went from being in person, to all on zoom, at a time when nobody knew what they were doing. Plot twist, a few months later racial unrest became super relevant that summer, following the murder of George Floyd. So imagine me, an African American woman, healthcare worker, and MBA student navigating the world during these unjust times. I now recognized I was in fight- or flight mode for over a year, two, still…
I had a means to an end in mind you see I was planning my escape after I completed my MBA I would take a job in marketing and be able to focus on myself again. I started a job in marketing after taking 6 weeks off from work. During my time off I spent my free time chasing after all my friends’ bachelorette parties and my mom’s dream of running a non-profit camp, along with chasing the newly found boyfriend I had acquired at the time. I was exhausted and needed to pack up my life into about two suitcases and move across the country. I moved to orange county, and two days before I was to start my new fancy marketing job I got a call saying “We are going to push back your start date, your paperwork isn’t ready yet”. This was super stressful as I didn’t have any income for the last 6 weeks I literally couldn’t afford to be of another month! I did not know what I was doing, what I got myself into, or how to manage the stress.
I started work about two weeks after that and on day one I’m drinking from a fire-hose. To the point that during the first week or two my boss was laughing with one of my colleagues, and I started crying as I asked them “What was so funny?” Were they laughing at me? As an already super emotional person, in a very vulnerable place, this was not a good transition. This was not in my plans. I have never seen myself adapt to a situation so poorly in my entire life. I didn’t know what I was doing. At work, in life, and that boyfriend I found yea he just stopped talking to me completely because I was a WRECK and not a good time to talk to.
I did NOT know what I was doing.
I still don’t. but here is what I learned.
- Family is all you have. At the end of the day these are going to be the people who check on you, show up for you, and squeeze you tight when the pieces need to be put back together.
- Prayer works! I use to pray and pray and pray to ask God, Budda, and the universe to just start to turn things around. I would ask if I made the right decision, and promised I wouldn’t be a dick anymore if things would just get a little better. …. It did!
- Sisterhood. Sisterhood. Sisterhood. My sisters showed up and showed out for me while I struggled and was mean and ungrateful. I cannot even imagine how I would have gotten through this transition without these amazing women in my life. They never let me forget where I came from, who I was, and the value that I add. I will always be indebted to them for coming to my side during one of the roughest patches. If you don’t have a couple of strong friends on your team, get some! They are worth more than gold!
- Use your voice. Use it loud. And use it early. I was being mistreated at work and constantly told I should have never been hired, I was too blue, and I had no experience. My new boss was tearing me down daily. Finally, I said something, I tried to quit. That wouldn’t have gone well, remember that racial uprising yea well I am the ONLY African American in the entire organization. I’ve since had to go to HR, but note that I spoke up from day one. The only person who is going to advocate for you in the world is you. If you believe you are being treated unfairly, tell a trusted person at work, go to HR anonymously, write a letter, I promise you do not have to take it and sit there questioning yourself. I felt so bad for myself at one point I couldn’t do the things I was good at well either. No Bueno. Don’t let other people steal your shine.
- You can leave. I remember one time I was talking to one of my mentors. Complaining about my boss. Complaining about my circumstances. He told me to leave. He said, “Quit”. I was shocked. I said “But I have a two-year contract” He explained “We all have contracts but if this isn’t where you want to be leave.” I took this as inspiration because I love the dramatics. But, he was right I did have a choice, I could have left. However, I chose to stay and now I am flourishing!
One last word of advice. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Everything is going to work out in the end. Advocate for yourself. Stay true to yourself. Show up for the people who show up for you. Never forget family and the good Lord above! Always remember you are the light