Re-entering the workforce-On my own terms

I recently accomplished something that I set out do back in June of 1996. After I graduated with Honors from The University of Houston, I just knew that I would secure that high paying dream job that I worked so hard for. Sadly, it never quite happened that way.

As a single mom of a then three-year-old daughter, I was forced to secure full-time employment immediately and settled into an administrative role; always keeping the hope alive that I would eventually work my way into marketing. Years passed and I found myself stuck in the admin/receptionist role despite doing a good job and working hard. My self esteem was at an all-time low.

There is NOTHING wrong with these career roles but it is not what I set out to do. After a brief stint as an investment banker and after dozens of admin jobs at Fortune 500 companies, I became an entrepreneur out of a desire to survive. I never set out to have my own business but I got lucky with a generous severance package and former corporate clients who were impressed by my creative work.

For the past decade, I have worked hard, managed employees, billed more than $1 million dollars and won several affluent awards for Texas businesswomen including Blazing Star Award from the Women's Chamber of Commerce of Texas, Woman on the Move by Texas Executive Women and Emerging 10 Award from Houston Minority Business Council. And then breast cancer hit.

I had no choice but to take a considerable amount of time off and lost some key accounts (understandably) in the process. I focused on my health and well being but always had that desire to work hard and be compensated well for a job well done.

I was raised in a household with two highly educated parents who worked hard to provide for our family. My parents rarely missed a day of work and I would even get to go to work with my mom and watch her in action as a nurse. My father was a medical examiner so there was no way he could take me to work with him! We had a comfortable life and I wanted to give that to my daughter. There are few things more rewarding than for a daughter to want to mimic a hard working mother who is doing what she set out to do through her educational pursuits. 

An opportunity presented itself for me recently to secure a corporate marketing manager position and I seized it. I don't see it as a failure that I re-entered the workforce nor do I see it as abandoning my own dreams. I see it as proving to myself that I have what it takes to work in marketing on a global scale as well as an outlet for me to grow my interpersonal and business skills. I can work hard and be well compensated and well respected by my peers.

Life has its ups and downs and one must truly learn when and how to ride the waves if they want to experience smooth sailing. When you define your own definition of success, your dreams will come to fruition.


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