Austin

Fresh start

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I can’t believe that 6 months have passed since my last post. Every few weeks I feel this strange tinge of guilt when I remember how my blog is sitting here collecting electronic dust, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to write. Call it writer’s block, laziness, life circumstance, all of the above…What I’ve come to realize is, I was not in a good place. And I can’t write when I’m not mentally and emotionally open.

Rewind to the fall of last year. Andy and I were getting settled into married life, enjoying the sweet peacefulness and calm after a year of endless planning and constant to-dos. We were simply grateful to do nothing and get back to our normal routines of work, working out, cooking, and just being. We went on our honeymoon and had an incredibly spontaneous road trip through the PacNW. Life was pretty carefree and simple.

But once we got back and everything began to settle, it became apparent that something wasn’t right. I finally realized how unhappy I was at work, and without the wedding to distract me, it became unbearable. I felt disconnected, under-utilized, and unfocused; I was getting conflicting messages about what to do; and I could no longer sweep these feelings under the rug. Then I ran into an old colleague at a coffee shop, and he told me how much he loved his current job. The idea of loving a job to me was completely foreign and almost laughable. I mean, I love teaching yoga and being a wife. But while these are passions of mine, I always considered my 9-5 job to be separate and distinct. You can’t love a job…can you? Well I was interested to find out, so I asked him for a referral, updated my resume, and applied for a job.

The next day, I got laid off.

It’s crazy how your gut knows when something’s wrong but your mind tries to push through the intuition to rationalize what you want to believe. I never in a million years thought I would get laid off. I felt blind-sighted, ashamed, and confused. Luckily I had a trip planned and got to run hundreds of miles away to the deep sea to gather my thoughts. I was able to create space and get clarity on my situation. Sitting on an island in the middle of the Caribbean is just the trick to alleviate stress. All the negativity quickly faded, and the only feeling that remained was insurmountable GRATITUDE. Gratitude for letting go of something that weighed me down, for the inevitable change it would spark, and for a little financial freedom to plan my next move.

I’m generally not one to sit around and feel sorry for myself, but this was my fastest recovery yet. I landed back in Austin and already had 3 interviews set up. It’s incredible how once you put yourself out into the universe, you open up space to receive. I had set an intention to find a new job, but more importantly, I had completely let go of every excuse that stopped me from doing so sooner. And I was humbled by the overwhelming response. Old colleagues made time for coffee, friends referred me directly to hiring managers, people started to send leads my way. I remember telling Andy, “I can’t believe how generous and supportive all of these people are, and I hadn’t even done a great job of keeping in touch over the past year.” He simply responded, “Now you know the power of your network.”

You are the company you keep.

I had always known that I was surrounded by the best and brightest at Bazaarvoice, but the true character and integrity of my colleagues shined brightest during my time of biggest need. To each of you who shared a coffee, sent sweet emails, and supported me on my path, THANK YOU. I can honestly say that a very big part of me is shaped by the relationships I formed in my many years there.

Now onward and upward! Long story short, 3 critical moments led me to my new job:

1. In a very open, candid conversation with a recruiter, I was asked, “If you could do anything, what would you do?” For the first time, I didn’t come up with anything crazy like being a white water rafting guide (which I do want to try:). I actually talked through my experience and decided that I wanted to transition into a Product Marketing role. I had the raw skills and a longtime admiration for the job. I was able to logically explain my career path and actively choose my next step. That conversation left me feeling empowered and in control.

2. I also knew that I wanted to stay in tech and transition to a smaller company where I could wear many hats. For many years I said that I would never again join a start up. It was too intense and unstructured and constantly changing. But in hindsight, I realized my best years at BV were the early ones. I loved the collaborative spirit rallied behind an common vision. So I began to look for companies that fit this description.

3. Funny enough, after a passing conversation with another former colleague (the network, man I’m telling you!), I got a call from my current manager for a training role at her company. We had a very open, honest conversation in which I thanked her for the opportunity and asked to apply for the Product Marketing Manager role. I candidly told her that while I don’t have this experience on paper, I had the skills to fulfill the role. She willingly gave me a chance to prove it and put me through a rigorous test with the entire product and marketing teams. I am honored to be the Marketing Mystic at Square Root Inc.!

They say you shouldn’t making sweeping changes in your life all at once. I was told this when I graduated from UT in 2006, and I have tried to abide by the advice for all these years. Then this past year, I bought a house, got married, and switched jobs. The irony is, I have never felt more balanced, at peace, or happier. I not only love my job, I love my life, every aspect of it. It took a difficult and sudden experience for me to realize that I had the power to make the necessary changes all along. Yet somehow, it all still worked out at the right time.

I recently talked to my dear friend and one of my most avid readers. She told me how impactful my writing is and how much it means to her to hear my insights. I wasn’t able or even willing to write about this while all of it was happening, but hindsight is 20/20. I can now come up for air and take away the necessary lessons to hopefully help someone else going through a similar situation. I am so thankful for the encouragement and gentle reminder. It’s true what they say, there is no time like the present for a fresh start.

And now that the flood gates are open, I’ve got a few ideas queued up. Stay tuned for the next post on my favorite topic of all time – love!

Thanks for reading and sticking with me. Each of you is a source of gratitude.

Love,

Sherrie

    4 COMMENTS

  • Kat February 11, 2015 Reply

    Gosh, I couldn’t be more thrilled for you, dear!!

    I love those photos of you. I relate to a lot of what you’ve said here (minus the always looking like I’ve had my shit together ;P as you have in your 20s, but I am also OK with that because we’re different people). I am really glad that you put yourself out there, and good things come right back to those who have also given out as freely as you have.

    Funny story – I left my last job up the road from Dharma because our mutual expectations weren’t being met. I’d applied for my current job several months ago, but literally got a call from a recruiter the day after the previous job ended. I had deliberately chosen not to stress about getting a new job – not because I think I deserve to be insta-hired but simply because I figured it would happen when the right pieces fell into place. I didn’t exactly need it written on the wall, but I definitely was flabbergasted when it was that serendipitous.

    Really glad to see you so happy. I’m currently struggling with knowing what I love – and I think I have been for a few years. Working on making sure I’m doing the right things to balance myself out (I think of you every single time I do yoga here), but also trying to keep a clear mind so I don’t force something that needs to come naturally. Like many, I really appreciate your writing and find that my best insights come from seeing others walk similar paths.

    Love you, miss ya!!

    • sherrienguyen February 11, 2015 Reply

      Kat – thank you for such a thoughtful response and your feedback! When I hear stories like yours, I feel reaffirmed with the idea of serendipity. If we’re open, good things will come, and usually at the right time! Congrats to you :) in that same vein, just keep your mind and heart open. Defining what I love also fell into my lap like your job did, and I just think I was in a place (a desperate, seeking place) in my life where something like yoga found me. Daily gratitude goes a long way in keeping life organic and unforced, as you said. You got this :) So great to connect with likeminded people, always!

  • Karla Modesto February 11, 2015 Reply

    Sherrie! I saw you updated your blog on FB and made a mental note to remember to read it. I finally did and I’m so happy for you. I admire the way you articulate your mental and emotional journey. Even though we are in different life situations I can still relate to this. Having a job that is unfulfilling can totally bring your spirit down. I’m currently struggling with this and am just starting to put my desires and intentions out there to the Universe. I needed that extra push and this gave it to me. Thank you!

    • Sherrie February 11, 2015 Reply

      Thanks so much for your comment Karla! I always see your posts and realize I want to know you! It’s funny how we can find ways to relate to each other as humans. Even though it’s hard for me to spill out my guts, I’m always humbled by the reactions and connections it creates. In my observation of you, things seem to work out because of your intention and actions. Keep living it up!

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