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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Two roads diverged...

Blogtember day 6 : Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.

When I was about 16/17 I thought I wanted to work in merchandising. I loved clothes and fashion and trend spotting, and my friends and family will tell you I'm the go to stylist, and a fountain of knowledge on hair and beauty. (Though I can't always dress myself...irony.)

My junior and senior years of high school though I had also fallen in love with history and law. So as I trotted off to college I chose to major in history.

We've talked about my two year $40,000 vacation before. (i.e. My first two years of out of state college.) After that disaster I found myself back in Columbus. Six months later I was married. Six months after that I was a mommy. I knew I needed to finish school, and I had already started my path towards a history degree so I decided to follow through.

My third quarter at OSU my advisor and I were looking over my credits and we realized I was only about 3 classes away from being able to have a geography minor as well. (This would have been beneficial if I decided to do a teaching track.) One of the classes offered that quarter looked really interesting. Economic Geography. The entire first half of the class was all about sourcing. (How we get products from other countries, and also how they are made here domestically.) I sat there in rapt attention. I was fascinated. I read all the reading, the books, the extra credit. (This was a little unusual for me...if it wasn't history or English I generally did just about the bare minimum for my A.)

This was one of my text books. Great read, but it will make you feel like a filthy American consumer.

One day in class, while listening to the lecture, it just hit me. THIS was what I wanted to do. I didn't really want to teach. I didn't really want to spend another 6 years chasing down my PhD. I also knew I had a little person who needed me to take care of her. I wanted back into Fashion Merchandising. I told my mom and my family and they fully supported me.

Columbus is actually headquarters to A LOT of big retail companies. (Abercrombie, The Limited, Express, Bath & Body Works, Victoria's Secret, PINK, Henri Bendel, La Senza...just to name a few big ones) So I set out to find myself a job in a floor set/flagship store. (A floor set store, is the store that determines how all the other stores in the country will be set up.) With each new set of product I was able to meet merchants from the company, and also put a bug in any one's ear who would listen that I wanted to work in merchandising. With my crazy, random history degree I knew I was going to have to hustle hard to get a foot in the door. I made a lot of good contacts while I was there, and even got the EVP of the company to look at my resume and offer suggestions and also set up a mock interview for me!

A few weeks after graduation there was a job fair on campus. I went, and I talked to the company I was working for. I spoke with reps for several other local companies. Finally as I was about to leave I saw the desk for my current company. I hadn't thought about them really, because I really wanted to work for the company I was currently with. The HR rep told me they didn't have any entry level spots, but that she would keep my info and get in touch.

I left feeling kind of bummed out. I had finally graduated, and I had worked so hard proving myself at the store, but now it seemed like it was for nothing.

A week later I got a phone call from the HR rep at my current company asking me if I could come in for an interview. 20 minutes into the interview they asked me if I could start the next Monday in a temporary position for 4 weeks. That 4 weeks turned into 6 which turned into 8 which finally turned into being offered the full time position I have now. I love my job. It's interesting, and fast paced, although its not nearly as glamorous as some people think. Believe me when I reference my sample closet, its nothing like Andy's in The Devil Wears Prada! I absolutely love what I do, and feel very blessed to be here.

Fantasy Sample Closet....
Closer to reality sample closet....

All because of Economic Geography.


Meg @ write meg! said...

So funny and interesting how things turn out! I have a friend who started out in fashion merchandising and wound up in fashion journalism -- both of which sound so cool to me. My sense of style is pretty limited, so I appreciate stylishness in others! :)

Gwen said...

It's great that you were able to have that epiphany and know what you wanted to do (even if you had to suffer through Economic Geography!).

My sister-in-law was a psych major but while in college she worked in a Bath & Body Works store and then went to work in the home office. That was 19 years ago and she still works there and enjoys it!

The Girl who Loved to Write said...

I loved reading this! So interesting to see how people's college experience ends up in careers sometimes!

Tiffany said...

This is awesome :)