• Mama Kate

My dream job, in a dream city... and why it didn't last.

Ah, the elusive dream job. The one that comes with a top-floor view overlooking stunning Seattle and the picturesque Puget Sound. Awesome company, sweet discount, amazing coworkers.

I had it all.

I spent the last three years in corporate marketing at arguably the world's best department store - the only one of its kind, unscathed by the decade's painful retail woes. I managed relationships with society's most popular fashion houses, working hand-in-hand with the executives at Kate Spade New York, David Yurman, and Michael Kors, to name a few. I designed marketing plans that looked good on and off paper. I rubbed elbows in the elevator with the family heirs whose last name was printed on my paycheck.

It wasn't all glitz and glamour. In fact, the pressure could be rather intense. From working against unrealistic deadlines to pitching million-dollar deals, there was no shortage of challenges to overcome. But when it wasn't overwhelmingly stressful, it was great.

I crossed paths with people from around the world, had colleagues from every walk of life. Everyone had a different background (mine being lingerie marketing). Others were from Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft, or Nike, to name a few. All of them were fascinating, and working alongside these wonderful people was what made this job dreamy.

I gave it all up.

But before I get into that, I'll give you a little background.

I've always considered myself different from my peer group. When I was younger, I had insecurities, just like everyone did. It wasn't until my late twenties and early thirties that I started to become comfortable being me.

So when I started working with the industry's most influential pioneers, I felt - knew - immediately like I didn't belong. I loved clothes, sure, but I didn't know nearly half as much about fashion as all of my new colleagues. They would name-drop popular brands, and I'd have to ask who they were talking about or run a quick Google search. Charlotte Til-who? Rag and what?

Was I in the right place?

Luckily, I caught on quickly (if you consider seven months quick...). Soon enough I became adept in the latest fashion who's and who's nots and was able to focus on what I knew best: marketing. Impostor syndrome no longer held it's choke hold on me.

Boy, did I love it. First of all, I worked in Seattle. I'm telling you now friend, if you haven't been, you're missing out.

Let's have a quick moment...

Ah, Seattle. First of all: the climate. The Seattle winter is about as comfortable as a wet blanket, but don't you fret... all that wet serves a greater purpose.

Because the summers. Oh, man! Seattle summers are, in a word, glorious. That winter wetness bears the sweetest of fruits. A summer so lush, so sunny, that it's a real life dreamscape... deep blue skies that hug the leafiest, greenest trees you've ever seen.

It hardly even rained in the summer. Isn't that funny? Seattle is nowhere near as rainy as I'd thought it would be. Instead, the sparkling Sound and the crisp, mountain air all mingled together to create the most spectacular climate I've ever experienced.

I digress.

Our first daughter was six months old when we moved from Atlanta to Seattle. We soon became pregnant with our second, and soon after that, our third. Needless to say, life got trickier.

Our closest family lived hours away. My sister-in-law and her now-husband lived in Portland (2+ hours) and my parents lived in Spokane (5+ hours).

I loved my job, but my husband did not love his. On top of that, the Seattle area is grossly unaffordable, and childcare was no exception. The closest reprieve was hours away... what's a young family to do?

So he quit his job and started full-time daddying. I was so thankful for his sacrifice; it meant I was able to focus on my career, and we were saving a ton of money to boot.

But he wasn't fulfilled. Stuck at home with two crazy toddlers in a city with no home base... all day, every day. That's a surefire recipe for insanity.

As if that weren't enough, our Seattle friend group was limited, to put it mildly. Seattle's not really known for it's warm and embracing culture, and on top of that, Brian had no lifelines nor socialization to benefit from. I, on the other hand, got to work with amazing people all day.

Guilt flowed through my veins. I couldn't handle the imbalance. My teammate needed my help.

On top of that, when I took a step back and examined my own situation, I realized that something needed to change for me, too. For whatever reason, my dream job never felt... dreamy. I wasn't excited to get up and go to work everyday.

Why, not though? I had a great job on paper... thousands of fashionistas would have killed for it. So I tried to force it and convince myself that I this was where I belonged.

I knew better. You can't fool yourself, as much as we all may try.

When I was on maternity leave with my third and final child, my son, I became overcome with dread. I couldn't fathom going back to work; the passion wasn't there. Plus, I couldn't stand the the thought of leaving my poor husband behind to juggle two toddlers and our newborn... that's some heavy shit.

We weighed our options. Should one of us go back school? Start a business? Invest in the pot industry? Sure, all viable options. But nothing pushed either of our "BINGO" buttons.

Until it happened. The more we analyzed our situation, the clearer the solution became.

Go home.

Once we said it out loud - I don't even remember which of us said it first - the decision was made.

I needed the security blanket of a full time job, so I applied to an Atlanta-based retailer. Things seemed to be working in my favor because I got the job. It felt great to have a safety net to land in as we made the transition back to Atlanta (The actual trip back to Atlanta? That's a story for another day...).

We moved back later that summer, and our ATL family welcomed us home with open arms. My sister-in-law and her fiance (the ones in Portland) moved back, too.

My parents, on the other hand? Well, they weren't thrilled. Probably a little heartbroken, though they did me a great favor by hiding their feelings.

And that, my friend, brings us here.

Things are great... really, they are. We just bought a new house that we'll spend forever in. We see our friends often.

But I'm getting that feeling again... that why-am-I-spending-40-hours-a-week-at-a-so-so-job feeling. This place doesn't care about my family. Nope. Five days a week I say ta-ta to the kids and come home just in time to put them back to bed. I'm stressed out to no end as I drag myself from meeting to meeting, pining for who's waiting for me at home.

Sure, I'm good at this job. But I don't want to go to it every. single. day. And working from home - even one day a week - isn't an option here (which is ironic because I work at a company whose target audience is moms...).

So to you, friendly reader, I take this vow. I vow to seek what's next, to write, to paint, to cherish every single moment I can. To strive for balance and seek my true purpose in life.

Ya feel me?

I like talking with you and want to hear from you. I'll share my real here, and we'll see where it takes me.

Will you join me on this journey?



#dreamjob #impostorsyndrome #fashion #marketing #careerchange

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