Learning From My Failures So You Can, TooFeatured

When I hit rock bottom, I didn’t immediately realize it – there were some initial growing pains that only came with self-reflection.

But once I did, I realized that if I was unhappy, it was up to me to change my reality – no one else.

Today, I can proudly say that I am Head of CX at a startup and loving my life and my job.

When I originally joined, I wasn’t Head of CX. I worked my way up by spearheading new ideas, solving problems the team didn’t even know existed, and taking the initiative to do the things not asked of me. I made sure to let my passion for this new opportunity shine during my work.

It took two promotions to get to where I am now –building my team from the ground up and attending leadership conferences to improve my skills.

Now, you may be wondering: where’s this rock bottom you talked about?

In 2019, I was getting laid off from my job, facing eviction, and depressed. I hated my current reality and blamed myself for being a “failure” at my age (“late twenties”).

I wasn’t happy with my life, I felt stagnant, underappreciated, and underwhelmed by my previous positions.

I took some weeks to come to terms with my new reality, enjoy long hikes with my husband, and learn what I wanted next for my life and career. I was inspired to find a career where I could have a major impact, be challenged, and love going in to work each day.

So, my husband bought me a computer and I started a coding bootcamp, teaching myself how to code to build and design websites and applications from the ground up.

As my bootcamp was ending, I started applying for a combination of full-stack developer and web developer jobs.

After months of job interviews and many rejection emails and “thank you for your time, however…” emails, I sat back and thought, what am I doing wrong?

Then I thought back to the feedback I received during my interviews, “we are looking for someone with a little more experience”, “we are moving forward with other candidates”, and my favorite: “you seem like you have a lot of ambitions and if you are a jack of all trades then you may master nothing”.

I surmised that maybe I was trying to land a role in my new field too quickly and I needed to take a year or two to acquire the experience EVERYONE was talking about.

So my focus shifted to finding a company that was willing to grow with me and possibly offer some hands-on training.

I’ll admit, it STILL took me a few months to find a company that was aligned with my views but this time around, I was sending the rejection letters!

When a company didn’t align with my values, I moved on to others I assumed would.

Then, I found it: a start-up that was looking to add a second team member to their customer experience team.

I know, I know, I said I had just finished a bootcamp BUT the special thing about a start-up –especially at the size I was joining– is that I was going to wear multiple hats!

Three interviews and a signed contract later, I was hired as a customer success manager. But actually, I was sales, customer support, design, and the dev team.

After my first few months, I received a promotion to Sr. Customer Success Manager. And now, as Head of CX, I love logging in to work each morning and not having a set schedule because it means the day can take me anywhere.

I hope my story inspires you to take a chance and pivot once the time comes. Figure out what you need/want in your life and career and go for it. It can be that simple.

annalee0807's profile thumbnail
@monetwright, loved this post!!! I'm looking for that opportunity right now and I'm trying to be really intentional about what I am looking for next. I hope I can stick to my guns like you did and find the right place that aligns with my values. Congratulations and so so happy for you!!!
Krasid's profile thumbnail
Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story @monetwright. Congratulations & good work! I'm wondering, did you start just applying to any open roles at companies who seemed to align with your values, or did you target CX roles (or maybe roles that aligned with your existing skillset)? I'd love to hear a bit more about the process you used for identifying roles to apply for. I'm in the process of interviewing/applying, it would be great to learn how I might be able to adopt your startegy in my job search.
monetwright's profile thumbnail
πŸ€—πŸŽ‰Thank you everyone for the love and support with telling my story!
jessicazeng's profile thumbnail
This is really great to read - it sounds like quite the journey. Making a career transition is quite difficult, especially with the "lack of experience" problem in tech. How did / do you balance being "sales, customer support, design, and the dev team"? Were you specifically looking for a startup where you'd wear multiple hats? It sounds like a lot of responsibilities for one person! However, it's fantastic that you found your way to doing something that makes you happy!
vanessamiller's profile thumbnail
Thank you for sharing your story. It is really inspiring and serves as a reminder that it is important when we fall down, we must learn to get up. And yes, it is okay to feel a bit lost for a while but we must learn to get back on track and keep moving forward.