“The hardest thing about the road not taken is that you never know where it might have led.” – Lisa Wingate
All of us will have to make tough choices in our lives and the bigger the impact of those decisions, the more difficult the choice will be. I’d like to share the recent journey of my wife’s self-discovery and how it has shaped her career path. My wife Josie is an artistic type with an outgoing and engaging personality.
After high school she went to private art school in Toronto and learned advertising and graphic design using old school techniques: markers, foam core, Letraset, pencils and paper. After college she worked in magazine advertising sales, managed a retail store but art was her calling, so she took a job as graphic designer in a small print shop.
In the meantime we got married and she eventually joined the Hamilton Spectator as a graphic designer building ads. In Hamilton, The Spec was “the” place to work and she declared herself a lifer! Despite her plans, life has a way of throwing curves when least expected. The digital age really took off, internet was displacing print and The Spec had to downsize several times until they finally outsourced graphic design to India.
Josie was part of a mass layoff, but was encouraged to reapply for a new position. She was hired back into this new role as liaison between the advertising sales people here and the graphic design people in India. After a while she became disillusioned with this new job and questioned how long it could last before being replaced by an FTP server and some automated software.
She considered a career switch to real estate or teaching, but as one gets older and family responsibilities increase, radical changes are not so easy. She was stuck with a good paying job, great benefits but no job satisfaction.
I reminded her of her strengths: outgoing nature, ambition and her experience with sales and design, suggesting that she go back to her roots and consider advertising sales at The Spec. After all, she knew the business and the people so the transition would be easy to manage. The sales managers there had always commented how much they liked her and how she’d be a great fit on their team. Josie contemplated the idea and considered other options for a couple months, but the more she thought about it the harder the choice became. Finally after many sleepless nights and perhaps an inspirational fortune cookie or two, she had made a decision.
In January 2013 she made the leap into advertising sales at The Spec as part of the Specialty Group. This is where they test the new recruits selling a variety of print and digital media products, the deadlines and quotas are nerve wracking but in a span of 4 months she has made a name for herself in terms of sales numbers, new clients acquired and ability to seamless interface between clients, management and the people in the group she left behind. She has her stressful days but they are outnumbered by the days when she feels great about securing a major deal and being recognized for her achievements.
She knows that she’ll never go back to her old job and despite the challenges and emotional stress of having to make a major career decision, she is confident that she made the right choice. It may not be the final choice to be made in her journey, but knowing that she can evaluate options, consider her abilities and determine a course of action makes navigating the future all that more manageable.
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
― Roy Disney
– Robert Kulig
Computer Systems Technology ‘98