My fight to break back into tech – April SpeightFeatured

What's the biggest risk you've ever taken in your career and how did you build up the courage to do it?After working two years in tech, I decided to return back to working in fashion. I had experienced burnout in my tech role and wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I was absolutely positive that by returning back to fashion, I would feel whole again and less stressed. So ironically, burnout gave me the courage to take the risk.It all became a matter of perception vs. reality. The fashion industry welcomed me back with open arms - because it’s totally easy to get a job in retail if you already have retail experience. Getting the job was a no brainer. However, getting the income to live the life I had grown accustomed to was not.Before coming back to fashion, I had envisioned a life where I would have a fabulous corporate fashion career in New York equipped with a stylish loft apartment and a closet to match. Well, I ended up retail-side in Virginia with a pretty decent apartment and not much left over for shopping. As time went on, I grew impatient and more important broke.I knew that by working in tech, I’d be able to have the income that I wanted all while pursuing my fashion interests on the side. By that time, I had grew more interested in sewing rather than styling. So, I began yet a second round of doing my best to transition back into tech. And trust me, if you thought that it was difficult the first time around, imagine doing it all over again with a ping-pong resume that goes from fashion to tech and then back to fashion.I grew impatient. I grew angry. I grew frustrated. And I grew depressed. I spent more than enough time throwing the most extravagant internal pity parties for myself all while feeling jealous of classmates who appeared to be doing well via their LinkedIn updates. I finally came to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to earn the salary that I had wanted. That was honestly the biggest hump to overcome. Pride can get the best of us when we value and place our skillset on such a high pedestal.In addition to a possible salary setback, I also came to terms with the fact that I had no connections that could provide me with a job lead. That was a harsh reality - not having someone to lean on for a job recommendation. So, I decided to go the contract route and get a temp job. But not just any temp job - I wanted one that was as close to working in tech possible. One that could help me get my resume back on track.I accepted a contract position with a law-firm performing QA on the content for their new website that would be launching shortly after I started. I was fortunate because the position was extended by a month and it gave me the chance to continue searching for a permanent role. Within that month, I was able to finally get my foot in the door in a corporate office as a project manager. My salary initially started just about where it was when I left tech - which wasn’t ideal but it made me work even harder to get a promotion. Three months into the role, I was promoted and had finally got the salary I had wanted for the position.And of course, life didn’t stop there. It actually continued to improve in ways that I had never imagined. However looking back, I don’t regret my stint back in fashion. I had a good amount of experiences and learning opportunities (both personal and professional) that helped me create the narrative that I share with everyone today.Not to mention, I got to speak on the phone a few good times with Aretha Franklin.April Speight is a Sr. Program Manager at Microsoft based in Hollywood, Ca. Before transitioning into tech, she worked in luxury fashion as a menswear stylist and visual merchandiser. She uses her personal narrative to help others transition into the tech industry through her platform Vogue & Code. April helps out others through blog posts, YouTube coding tutorials, workshops and speaking engagements.
Such a great story! Keep going. Loving watching your story unfold.
Thanks, Marlena! :)
I can totally relate... I am frustrated and angry as well 😅, because its been around 6 7 months I am unable to land a job in tech industry and it is making me go nuts. I am worried as hell. but its good to hear from u. gives me some motivation and inspiration.
Sonia - happy to help/brainstorm ideas. I do not know anything about your background but would love to help. Send me a DM.
hi veni! would love to connect and chat, but unfortunately I don't know how to DM in Elpha cz m new and unable to find the button 😬🙄
I am going through something not so different, changed career to tech three years ago and going between full time low pay to self employed as UX/UI designer and now in a second phase rethinking if I should upskill and learn how to code and work as software developer/UI developer or just move to become a project manager again (btw I did really well as a PM)
Do whichever makes you feel 'whole'.There's so many paths that I could've taken when I was doing my job search between roles. However, I ultimately knew that I'd only truly be satisfied if I did something that made me feel complete.Find whatever that is and go for it!