The Niche Movement’s Leap of Faith series features stories about big life changes and major pivots, focusing on the courage it takes to commit to the leap. This week’s blog features Tracy Gnadinger’s journey shifting career paths after a job loss. Read on to see how she reached her a-ha moment.
I am a content marketing specialist, and I love my job. Even as an avid Niche Movement fan, I never thought I would say this. But a few months ago, I faced a defining moment in my career, and what was missing in my life suddenly became clear.
The Beginning of a New Passion
Some years ago, I left my editorial position for a field I thought I could be more creative and strategic in – communications. Shortly thereafter, a colleague shared an article from the Content Marketing Institute.
I remember thinking to myself, what is content marketing?
I instantly subscribed to their weekly newsletter.
Over the next few years, I employed their tactics into my communications plans, and I began to wonder how I could make this field a reality for my own career. Something seemed missing from my current role. I wanted more involvement in day-to-day content and brand strategy. My side hustle as a digital strategist and editor further solidified this.
A Roadblock to Pursuing Professional Passion
But then my organization hired a new VP of communications and marketing, who completely re-structured the department, including bringing on a director of content marketing. I was aghast. This was exactly the role I wanted. And for the next year, I watched as this director got to do the job I wanted to do.
One re-structuring led to another and soon I was out of work altogether. This gave me plenty of time to think about my career path. I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay on my current trajectory. I thought about my side hustle and what I needed to make going into business for myself a reality (another dream of mine).
A Path to Bigger and Better Things
I enjoyed setting my own schedule, running my own budget and even looking into investing options with my first IRA. Coincidentally, I was setting the foundation for one day being self-employed. So, I stopped focusing on careers in communications. I was done with public relations. I started looking for roles where I could exhibit creative execution and strategy and even learn a thing or two.
I doubt, as a full time employee somewhere, I would have applied for the position I hold now. I feared making too drastic of a jump from my career path or taking a step down from my director-level role. But this position seemed to have everything I was looking for – the chance to be strategic, creative and innovative. I wanted to make a difference in the stories we told.
So, with nothing to lose, I dove right in.
I have no regrets. I absolutely love what I do. I feel invigorated with the organization’s new marketing direction, and with support at the top, the possibilities seem endless. I am given the opportunity to flex my creative and strategic skills, while continually unearthing new topics and talents in a field that is endlessly evolving.
The culture is great, too. The organization recognizes that its employees are smart, high-achieving, accountable individuals with a lot to offer if given the right amount of flexibility.
I can’t think of any time in my career where I have felt this excited to start my day and see what unfolds.
Settling into My Niche
I have established healthier habits, too. While getting ready in the morning, I set aside enough time to have a cup of coffee, listen to a podcast, and eat breakfast, all before I walk out the door. I’ve never been a morning person, so this has surprised me most of all.
I spend a lot of time outside of work thinking about my work. This is something I would have never done in my previous role. And normally I would say this is unhealthy, but in this case, I am okay with it. I recently asked myself why this is? Shouldn’t I be burnt out? Why do I have so much momentum now?
Because I am investing in me.
Yes, I want to prove myself and be a valuable member of the team, but the skills I am developing and flexing will only continue to be an asset in my next career step, whether that’s another job role or working for myself. And that makes each day feel worth it.
When I first subscribed to that content marketing newsletter, I never considered the path I was setting up for myself. And although my role and responsibilities evolved, and other subscriptions shifted, I never unsubscribed.
It gave me hope – that one day my stars would change, and the right path would align.