by Vivian Knox, Always Working Mom Podcast, Written for Working Momkind
My first job out of college was working as the Front Office Attendant for a Baseball Training facility in an affluent suburb of Dallas, Texas. The Baseball Training facility was owned by a former MLB player, Scott Livingstone, and was a facility for local baseball hopefuls and current MLB players. At the time, all I knew about baseball was: the Astros were the only team name I knew, Brad Ausmus was the cutest player, and The Sandlot was probably based on a true story.
My job responsibilities were mostly administrative and we were incentivized to sell special training camp programs. One evening, we had a local kid team rent our facility for a private practice session during a time when I was trying to sell Spring Break Baseball Camp reservations. My goal was to sell the remaining camp spots by the end of the night, and my execution was to pitch the camp spots to every parent and student. Boy did I execute my plan, and was completely bewildered when the Baseball Trainers and Scott came to my desk hysterical in laughter after my sales pitch to one of the dads. In between gasps for air, my coworkers informed me I had just tried to sell Kenny Rogers a camp reservation. In return, I quickly informed my coworkers the dad I had spoken with was in fact not the “old country dude that sings about poker”. After what felt like hours of laughter, Scott educated me on baseball history, Kenny Rogers the MLB pitcher (not country singer), and the statistical improbability of pitching a perfect game which Kenny had accomplished as a Texas Rangers.
My blunder with Kenny was just one of many comical errors made while working in baseball, but it was a significant career moment. I learned courage. Courage to go for it. Courage to learn from and laugh at mistakes. Courage to admit I don’t know everything, and surround myself with people to help.
Many years later, I quit my job of 10 years in medical management to become a small business owner of a balloon bar. What?! Yes, I own a balloon decorating business and there are 5 things you should know before changing careers.
- Your “Why”? I’m tired of this phrase, but it’s a fundamental question when entertaining thoughts of career change.
- What are your values? For me, a healthy work environment is extremely important. You need to ask yourself what a healthy work environment (for you) looks like? What environment or in what team do you thrive in? Also, be realistic. The stuff of fairy tales and movies don’t exist. Healthy work environments exist, and if you’re not in one, GET OUT NOW.
- What are your needs? For me, I needed a flexible work schedule to allow me to take my son to doctor appointments or to be able to volunteer at his school during special occasions without the usage of PTO. What do you need? More money? Benefits? Schedule needs?
- What are your skills? For me, my role in medical management constantly was changing and therefore my top skills were adaptable and capable of learning new skills. Really reflect on this one and list each of them out. This will help determine where to make a change to or if the new career fits your current skills.
- What are you passionate about? What are your burdens? I started my small business to give myself a flexible work schedule, create a healthy work environment, and to freelance my marketing and business development skills. The Balloon Bar, Joyza, was born from a micro-skill in marketing, and from a deep burden to help other mothers find jobs with a “flex-time” schedule.
- Research. I jokingly tell people I have a Phd in Google, and you need one too. Find out what other careers are out there. What careers match your values, needs, and skills?
- There is never a good time. I wish I would have made a career change sooner, and knowing what I know now, there is never a good time for a career change. Don’t wait for the “perfect” time. Honestly, I think now during this pandemic time is the best.
- Let go of self-doubt. Sing the Elsa song. Cut out the naysayers. Do whatever you need to do to stop self-doubt. You need to up your mental strength and take it to the gym. You need COURAGE.
- Commitment. It’s going to get tough, and you need to have a plan on how to stay in the commitment-game when it does. Once you make the decision to change careers, stick with it! My friend, Allison Ellsworth, co-founder of Poppi and Shark Tank deal earner, told me to surround myself with people who support me, to list them, and they will be my circle of people when the going gets tough. My circle has helped me to figure out things I don’t know, and have been my cheerleaders helping me stay in the game.
Career change is hard and it takes courage, but it’s worth it! Do a deep dive into “your why” and research, and the rest is mental endurance. As the other Kenny Rogers says, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away, And know when to run”. I’m rooting for you if you’re ready to run. Have courage, my friend!
Vivian Knox, Chief Balloon Inflator at Joyza
Small business owner, Writer, Speaker, Podcast host, Joy expert, and encouraging mothers to believe all moms work hard