A Woman in Transition
Ok, so I went back to school at 43 to finally get a degree. I admit that I should have done it earlier in life, but I didn’t. As of 2000, I had a very successful career as a director of human resources for Roots Canada. I didn’t have a formal education to earn that role, but I knew how to work hard and I was fortunate to be able to advance. Following a move to the US in 2000 to support my husband’s career, I stayed home for 10 years, raising my children while negotiating five international moves back and forth between Arkansas and Toronto. Let’s just say that earning a degree did not hit the priority list. When my husband and I decided to split in 2009, my priorities shifted dramatically. I enrolled in school full-time, I went back to work full-time and continued to raise my kids and a couple of Golden Retrievers. There were many things to change, many things to handle and many more to learn.
The past 3 years have been full of learning. Most recently I made a career change as I joined Collective Bias in February of this year. I had gained a lot of confidence through my experience at school. Good grades told me that I could learn anything if I applied myself. I needed that confidence tempered with a lot of humility to join this team of Social Media savvy people at Collective Bias. My first impression of the members of this young team was that they were so talented! There are several twenty somethings who are recent University graduates. They all walk about with headphones plugged into their iPhones engaged in planning discussions and campaign execution. They travel our halls with their laptops open in their hands, running from meeting to meeting to coordinate an endless array of details. They carry more responsibility than many people twice their age while managing entire projects, working with leaders of companies and still they stay tuned into the latest and greatest of everything “Social”. It was daunting to say the least when I joined.
3 months into my new role, I can proudly say that I have added many new words to my vocabulary including Bitly, Linky, Widget, Pinterest, Uncram, Augmented Reality, on and on. Not only do I understand these terms but I have actual conversations around them with my colleagues and clients. Each day we learn of a new social media platform that we can integrate into our campaigns and it seems like the space in which we thrive is in a continual minute-by-minute evolution. It is understandable why our clients rely on us to assess, recommend and create their social media strategies. There is so much to stay on top of in this social space, even for those of us who are living it every day.
Learning is a lifelong endeavor, right? I feel very privileged to be a part of this team, to be given a place among these outstanding people. My personal growth and evolution is evident not just in learning about social media but by learning to share with those who will listen to my story. A few takeaways from my life in transition would be:
- Believe in yourself. Learning is learning… dig in and believe that with good coaching, trial and practice, you can master any task at hand. I graduated from University at 46 with Honors… whoda thought!
- Humility. Allow yourself to admit to what you don’t know- being on a team means that you can ask for help, clarification or support. Long ago I gave up the need to appear as if I had it all figured out.
- Create and maintain relationships. Your points of influence in this world are measured by the strength of your relationships. This means nurture the relationships you have with your friends, your colleagues, your clients and most importantly your family.
- Don’t be anxious. Problems are merely opportunities to grow in disguise. I have had a bevy of “opportunities” in the past 3 years and I’m still standing.
- Age is just a number. Young people can be called upon to lead just as older people can be called upon to learn. The important point is that you answer your calling.
This social media space isn’t so tough! If I can figure it out, you can too.
Thanks for listening to my story about social media that is really is a story about my life and what I have learned. If you have had to transition and learn, I would love to hear back from you! Do you have any “takeaways” you would like to share about life, learning and social media?