How Wrong Turns Can Take You to the Right Place

In 2009, I moved to Portland, Oregon to start my life over. EVERYTHING had to change. In this new city, I wanted a new career, a new outlook and a whole new life. BUT it took a lot of time, a lot of mistakes and many wrong turns to get to where I am today. 

Early in my move, I remember saying to my father, “My dream is to help women. I want to be a mentor and leader for women, so that they feel empowered to make courageous decisions about life and work.”

Six Years of Wrong Turns

And so my journey began...

In 2009, at the height of the recession, it took me three months to put together part-time work that barely even paid the bills. 

At one point, I got scared of my financial situation and flew to Sonoma, California for a job interview where I was hired on the spot. I accepted the offer and flew back to Portland to pack my things. Three days later, I called and declined the offer. I couldn’t go. My heart wasn’t in it and I wanted to stay in Portland. 

So, I started going into debt. (GREAT IDEA! Not.)

At the end of the year, I decided that I wanted to do a career 180 and become a mid-wife. So I went to Portland Community College for nursing prerequisites and I got a job at a women’s clinic as a receptionist where I ended up working for over two years. 

I went into more debt. 

Six months later, I decided I didn’t want to become a nurse. (There’s too much urine involved.) So I applied for an MBA program at Portland State University. I got accepted (Yay!) and then I declined the offer. 

I became a certified yoga instructor and taught a 6am class for three months, before quitting and traveling to SE Asia for a month. 

In 2011, I finally got my act together and started graduate school in a program that felt right, and within one semester my dog of 10 years passed away, breaking my heart and making me depressed.

The next month, I left my job as the receptionist for a temporary, part-time position at Mac’s List where I worked for three months hoping to be offered a full-time position with benefits. That didn’t seem like it was going to happen, so I applied for an unpaid internship at Mercy Corps and was granted an interview. 

Then I got into a horrible car accident. A woman ran a red light, t-boned me, and my car flipped over, trapping me upside down until the fire department came. I was badly injured, but still made it to my interview at Mercy Corps that same week. They were stunned I  showed up in my condition, and offered me the position that night. 

So on Monday, I gave my two weeks notice at Mac’s List. When I did, Mac’s List offered me a full-time position. (Ayaya!)

Soooooo....

I humbly turned down the internship at Mercy Corps, and accepted the job at Mac’s List. I was still recovering from the accident so it took me another month to feel well enough to come in and work full-time. I was terrified they were going to let me go for not being able to work, so I would show up even when I was in pain. I had finally gotten a job worthy of my expertise and education that paid a decent salary, and I wasn’t about to let a car accident take it away from me. 

The next few months were really hard. I finished my first year of graduate school and launched a version of the Mac’s List website you see today, all while going to lots of doctors appointments and trying to recover from my accident. It was a crazy few months. 

I spent 2012 through 2015 working hard at Mac’s List to grow an online community for jobseekers. Now I get to leverage what I learned in that position as a career expert to help women in my own business. 

So, it took me over six years and many mistakes and wrong turns to get here. It was also a lot of hard, hard, hard work with a lot of wins and losses.

But here I am. 

And I can tell you. That dreams don’t always come easy. They often take sacrifice, hard work, patience and humility. BUT the rewards are SO worth it. So worth it. 

The point of all this is not to get you down, but to show you how hard I've worked to get where I am today. 

When life is kicking your ass, get support. Find mentors. See a therapist. Hire a coach. Ask for help. Follow your curiosity. Simplify things. Take a deep breath and do what feels like love.