When we were younger, we all had our own aspirations as to what we wanted to become. Perhaps a doctor, a director, an astronaut, or even a princess; yes life was simple back then. As our childhood slowly transitioned into adulthood, we became increasingly unsure of what we wanted to do with our lives and what careers to pursue. With exposure to various external influences, suddenly the professional options available to us became endless. As soon as you factor schooling, training, work experience, and above all, time and money into the picture, it’s enough to give anyone a headache. How exactly are we supposed to go about discovering our callings in life? Not all of us are fortunate enough to know from the get go what we want to pursue. Luckily, Christie’s here to give us her take on how to tackle the daunting task of setting our careers on the right track.
Anna: I know we’ve already established that you knew from a young age that fashion was the industry for you. From there on out, how did you narrow down exactly what you wanted to do within it?
Christie: I knew I had to start somewhere, so I began my fashion career as a part time sales associate. The position exposed me to various aspects of fashion retail and also allowed me to develop my leadership skills. Because I was always motivated to go above and beyond what was expected from me, I was eventually promoted to a store manager position. Throughout my retail experience, I realized that I really enjoyed the human aspect of the job: working with a team, impacting individuals, meeting new people, and always thinking of creative ways to better my store’s results. When I transitioned into a buying position, I dealt with a lot more paperwork and realized that I missed the same human aspect that I previously mentioned. This led me to realize that perhaps human resources within the fashion industry was a good path for me.
Anna: What advice would you give to individuals that don’t have a clue what industry they want to be a part of, let alone the exact job?
Christie: I’m a firm believer that there is always something that we each naturally gravitate towards. For me, that was fashion, but it could be anything. Where our interests lie is definitely the first and best indication of what industry we should explore. With regards to the exact job description, take a moment to consider what you’re naturally good at. For me, it was my leadership and take-charge attitude that aided me throughout my life, but for you, that could be writing, merchandising, or artistic abilities. Take time to become an expert in what you do and seek out positions that capitalize on those assets.
Anna: After you’ve narrowed down the industry, where do you go from there?
Christie: I can’t stress the importance of trying your hand out at different things enough. Only through doing different things can you discover what you truly like and don’t like. It’s easy to assume what a certain job may entail, but actually experiencing the job is an entirely different beast. For example, I thought that I would really enjoy the position of a buyer. However, once I actually tried my hand out at buying and saw what tasks needed to be performed, I realized that buying was not for me. Sometimes, it takes recognizing what you don’t enjoy to realize what you do!
Anna: What do you do if you discover something in your current job/career that you really don’t find enjoyment in it? Do you have any advice for someone looking to start over doing something different, but may have certain reservations towards doing so?
Christie: First off, before anyone decides to exit from an existing job or career, I think it’s important to ask yourself, “did I do all that I could to make the most out of my position?” I touched on this subject in a past Career Chat (link here), but I strongly believe that trying to go above and beyond your role, and creating opportunities to do different tasks outside of what’s expected of you is a great way to regain a sense of satisfaction in what you do. Beyond that, if you know it’s time for a change in career, but find it difficult to make a decision, boy can I tell you that I’ve been there! The bills always need to be paid, so oftentimes, taking the leap and quitting your job really isn’t the most feasible option. However, there are many ways to get started in exploring your secondary interests while you remain in your current position. For me, that meant starting my own blog so I could begin building up my own personal brand, as I knew that was highly important for the next stage in my career. It may be hard to find the time to do what we want to do part-time, outside of work, but it’s a great way to work towards our dream job. It’s all about making a commitment to do both if leaving your current job is temporarily out of the question!
Photo by: Laura McIntosh
By: Anna Zhao
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