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The Good Bones of Career Pivots

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

A man walking alone across a plaza

“Daddy, you gotta find a new work!”

Our 3-year-old, Phoenix, was home with strep throat when I learned I was part of a group of folks laid off from my former company. “Cars 3” played in the background of Zoom as I heard the words no one wants to hear.

Words of uncertainty. Unknowns. Doubt.

Yet those words also held the seeds of Good Bones United. A true “new work.”

Choosing A (good) career pivot

After teaching for a decade, I made the decision last year to jump out of the classroom and into the world of marketing. Leaving education came loaded with unknowns and big questions.

  • Would I be good at something other than teaching?

  • What if I don’t like my new job?

  • What if I get laid off?

Education lays a clear path forward and has the major perk of being relatively stable (levies aside). In the context of public education in Ohio, I got a degree, got a job, could see the pay scale, knew how to advance down the pay scale by getting my Master’s or working towards more hours, and if I wanted, I could get further degrees to make the jump to counseling or administration.

I loved the dynamic and spontaneous classroom environment.

I loved creating classroom content and tying old and new knowledge together.

I loved getting to know students, joking with them, and trying to make learning as engaging as possible.

But I reached a point of wanting (and probably needing) a new path. Writing had become one of my favorite parts of teaching as I built a short story-based curriculum and once I hammered down that I was going to pursue marketing, my ability to write immediately grabbed the attention of my colleagues.

Being the New Guy Again

I recently saw a Tweet that said being the new person at a job feels like joining a TV series in season 5 and wow, accurate. Even doubly so when you’re the career pivoter! Googling things and asking questions was most of my To Do list for a while. The switch from a loud and dynamic classroom setting to a quiet office jostled my brain for a bit but I came to love it.

My cup remained filled up after work and I eagerly jumped into playtime. Turns out rowdy toddlers weren’t so bad when I wasn’t managing rowdy teenagers throughout the day. Instead of wanting to lay in bed for 15-20 minutes in silence after work, I was ready to wrestle, play, run around in the backyard, and make dinner with the tiny sous-chefs.

My direct boss led me with patience, wisdom, empathy, and fearlessness. I worked with strong, intelligent, strategic, and fun people. I learned marketing vocabulary over time and was tasked with building email campaigns, leading a social group for our customers, and writing articles on LinkedIn. Writing Spanish short-stories had turned to content marketing and though I wasn’t in a content marketing role, I started to see how that would be a natural next step when the opportunity arose.

Opportunities don’t always take the shape we hope or expect, though.

Welp, Onto Something New (Again!)

Five months into my new career, I was propelled into another season of finding “a new work.”

I was more equipped with writing skills across multiple channels.

I was better prepared for the adaptive world of marketing.

I knew more marketing acronyms than I did the previous spring.

But I was still jobless in a market that saw new layoffs every week. More marketers and content writers lost their job and asked their LinkedIn networks for references. Despite a few leads in early 2023, nothing solidified beyond interviews.

It was around that time that I finally entertained the seed of an idea that my professional mentor, Charlene, planted weeks earlier: creating a parenting course while I looked for a new job. I personally couldn’t job search for eight hours a day and maintain a sense of sanity so writing on the side looked like a valuable use of time. Steph and I brainstormed a few times. I wrote. She edited. She proposed new ideas. I wrote more. The course came together in the coming weeks, we asked friends and family for feedback. Their verdict? It’s good. Some asked when they could share it with others.

“Okay,” I thought, “Maybe there really is something valuable here.”

The creative ball started rolling from there.

Blog? That would provide a space and accountability to write for both Steph and me.

Newsletter? That would give a way to communicate with folks regularly about new content.

Instagram? We’re millennials so, duh!

When You Get There But Don’t Know How Exactly

The last six months have been WILDLY different than I ever imagined. But I’ve realized I have skill sets that add value to the world outside of a classroom setting.

Some of those skills grew over time while in the classroom.

Some sprouted up while getting my Master’s through the Ohio Writing Project.

Some were established in my old role and are still being nurtured through freelance writing.

If you would have told me in November that we would have started an LLC by May, I would have narrowed my eyes and tried to figure out how the heck we ended up there. And what it was about.

But here we are. And here you are with us!

There’s some good new work to do here.

Phoenix, admittedly, wasn’t the most comforting on the day I got laid off. But he was right - it was time for new work, a new chapter in the journey, and a new adventure.

Good Bones United wasn’t the “new work” I was looking for at the time but it wouldn’t be in existence had I not been laid off. You wouldn’t be reading this blog post had Charlene not nudged me multiple times to create a parenting course. This website domain would still be available for purchase had Steph not jumped in on the dream as it began to form.

Thanks for starting this journey with us. I sincerely hope this blog becomes a source of hope, encouragement, cheap (but genuine!) laughs, and lightness for you!

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