Amber’s Story: The Perfect Job – Merging Hobby and Professional Interests
I had worked at a luxury brand in the automotive industry for over 16 years. During my tenure, I moved from engineering to marketing to product launch to strategy, which provided exposure to many different facets of the business.
As time went on, my passion for the organization waned. The company culture had changed. The role I was in was not fulfilling. My motivation was on the decline.
I had felt passion in some of the roles that I’d held previously, and I wanted that back. I couldn’t find the sweet spot of where I wanted to be in my company. I wasn’t satisfied, but I didn’t know what I would find fulfilling.
I hit a wall when I started asking some big questions, like:
“What do I really want to do?”
“Am I really happy?”
“What can I see myself doing at this company for the next 20 years?”
“Am I going to be here for another 10 or 15 years?”
I was working in a six-figure job that compensated me well. I knew what I would be giving up if I left, and I didn’t think that I could attain that salary anywhere else. It was a struggle to leave. Plus, I had great friendships at the company where I’d worked for so long.
I thought about my career by myself and talked about it with my close girlfriends, but I would never make a change. My husband actually confronted me, telling me that I was just going in circles. I realized that I wasn’t going to do it on my own. The gravity of the situation became clear and I knew I needed help getting out.
From Career Exploration to Running a Winery
As a result of working in my Career Clarity coaching program, I narrowed in on my top three interests: travel, hospitality, and wine. I initially didn’t know anything about any of these industries. I signed up for a wine certification class. I used my network to connect with people to learn more. I eventually reached out to wineries and let them know that I was contemplating a career change and would love to know more about this work.
Those initial discussions led to more dialogue. An employee at one winery gave my resume to the owner. He was interested in my luxury brand experience and varied background. The winery owner gave me some business challenges, and I presented my ideas. We agreed that I would start out consulting. That went well, and the owner said, “I’d live to bring you on board full-time.” Now I’m more or less running the winery.
The Impact of Changing Careers
Changing careers has impacted my life in such a positive way. Knowing that I could make a pivot and be successful is empowering. Plus, it’s been such a fun journey. My engagement and motivation is extremely high around my work. I naturally have a passion for wine. Now I’ve learned a lot more about it. I’ve gotten exposed to how a small business runs. Since it’s a small team, it requires us to deliver to thrive. I’m excited by the additional things we want to bring to life at the winery too.
I have taken a step back in compensation, but it’s not something that concerns me. For now I’m focusing on my small business education, and I have faith that in time I’ll get back to and even surpass my old salary. I hold a lot more value in what I’m learning. This is a launchpad to the future I want and there’s nowhere to go but up. I’m really content to be here and motivated to take my current company to the next level. I’m rejuvenated. I have a new challenge.
Golden Handcuffs and Getting Outside My Comfort Zone
In regards to advice around career coaching, I have given this advice to my closest friends, “You need to do this.” It’s pivotal to getting you out of your own tracks. I see myself in them. When you have golden handcuffs you don’t want to break away because you don’t know life without them. Now they’ve seen where I landed, and they’re so enamored. Oh, she made it work.
Working with my coach at Cardy Career Coaching was a really collaborative approach. I needed someone to coach me out of my own way, out of my own barriers and excuses. She was instrumental in helping me to move forward. My coach was a cheerleader. She nudged me out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t just talking.
It helped to have someone supporting me who didn’t know me, but who could look at what was going on in my world from an outside perspective. It was hugely impactful and life altering.
The Perfect Job
One of my mentors sent me a note saying, “You’ve landed the perfect job, merging hobby and professional interests.”
I would have never said this is my future. I never would have imagined having the opportunity to run a company. You think you can only go so far. Until you give yourself a chance, you don’t know where that line is. It’s a complete 180 from where my mental and emotional state was before. It’s been fantastic.