The Big 3-0 Is Here
Lesson 1: Trust your instincts. Jobs are like relationships; if you have a sinking feeling that things aren't working, it's probably best for you to move on out or else you might be left standing on the curb (or at Whole Foods eating sushi and a cupcake by yourself on your birthday).
Lesson 2: Leave with dignity. I can proudly say that when I was laid off, I did not shed one tear and although I was shocked, I also felt relieved.
After celebrating my birthday with a great group of friends, I dove straight into the job search the next day. I updated my resume and emailed my contacts, even people I babysat for. Knowing that I couldn't just sit by the phone, I did everything I could to refine my online presence and volunteered my time with advertising organizations.
Lesson 3: Dive head on into your job search and don't be afraid to gracefully share with friends and former colleagues that you were laid off and are looking for work.
Lesson 4: Everything you do should be done well, from side jobs like babysitting to, of course, your full time job.
Less than two weeks later, I had one of my first informational interviews with a planning director who told me to go to Miami Ad School. In fact, I was introduced to him through a babysitting client. I took his advice and spent the next few months putting together my application. At the same time, I attended every networking, advertising and tech event I could hoping that my knowledge of the NY tech scene would help me with my job search.
Lesson 5: You make your own luck.
When I told people I was going to San Francisco for school, they told me that I was lucky. Actually no, I don't think getting laid off on ones birthday, having my kitten jump out of my fifth floor window to his death, and not finding my true career path until 28 makes me lucky. But I do think that being kind, pro-active and resilient has helped in things finally turning around.
Lesson 6: You only live once and life is short so don't put off big decisions like going back to school. There's a famous tag line that sums up that sentiment up nicely.
Just do it.
At some point, the prospect of moving across the country and uprooting my life scared me. What if I didn't get into the program? What if everyone was smarter than me? Was it crazy to take out a $6K plus loan? Put all my belongings in storage? But once I got into the program and worked my ass off, I realized I should apply to every opportunity given to me. My time should be spent having my mind blown away on a nearly daily basis and I should be surrounded by people I admire and respect. And right now, I am.
Lesson 7: You never know what the next day will bring and it only takes one "yes."
When I went back to San Francisco after the holidays, I spent most of my time stressed about trying to find a job instead of enjoying my surroundings. I don't regret that and think my time was well spent, but it was quite the emotional roller coaster. I continued to keep in touch with all my contacts and then it happened, someone said "yes," and without hesitation, I packed up my things and headed back to New York.
Lesson 8: Never underestimate the importance of kindness.
I sometimes think that I'm too nice and not strategic enough in my dealings with people. I'll accept a Facebook request for fear of hurting someone's feelings or offer up job advice that I spent months trying to figure out for myself. But I realize there's without a doubt an incredible importance to being nice and honest. Unfortunately, not everyone expects it! And I'm now surrounded by very successful people who I believe share that same philosophy. I may not be able to directly help those who have helped me, but I am happy to "pay it forward" to others.
And that pretty much sums up my thoughts for now. What did you learn after turning 30?