When I was little and when people asked what I wanted to be, the answer was President (or rather Prisident, I was a horrible speller). As I got older, I shifted towards wanting to do something related to science. I wasn’t particularly gifted in science, but I thought it was more interesting than the other subjects. My senior year of high school I took AP Environmental Science and was hooked. It was such a tangible science. I was learning about things I interacted with daily and I loved it.
I ended up switching my major and diving into Environmental Science (I got accepted as a biological sciences major). It turned out there were 2 paths in Environmental Sciences…Social or Sciences. My advisor suggested I take Sciences because it’s what everyone does. So that’s what I did.
While I enjoyed what I was learning, I never really connected. My classes were interesting, but I struggled sometimes. I worked in an entomology lab, did a great job of taking care of my colony, but ended up getting fired (because of transportation issues, but I wasn’t too disappointed).
I realized that the path I was on, just wasn’t for me. My classes and job were more about science and less about the interactions, the thing that really excited me about Environmental Science.
Unfortunately, this realization came when I was a little over 3/4 of the way through college. I went to my advisor and her suggestion was to just stick it out. So I did and I got my BS in Environmental Sciences.
During that stick it out period, I needed a job. My ex-boyfriend’s mom had opened a clothing boutique and I began helping out. Helping out turned into part-time work. Part-time work turned into full-time work. Full-time work turned into the opportunity to own a store.
The boutique was in a small town and without a great reputation we wouldn’t survive. We treated every interaction as the opportunity to create a genuine and memorable experience. My job was to interact with people, all the while being friendly and helpful. I truly enjoyed it.
It turned out working in retail was so much more fulfilling than getting a college degree.
After helping run the store for a few years, I wanted to move to LA and open a store near UCLA. The plan was for me to co-own and run the store while my ex-boyfriend’s mom would finance it.
We looked at a few locations, but after running the numbers my plans for opening a store in LA were over. Rent was way more expensive and the financial gamble was too much.
That left me with a tough decision to make.
Open a store somewhere besides LA or leave the store completely.
I decided to leave the store completely. I wanted to grow in my career and while owning a small business is a great goal, there wasn’t much difference between what I was already doing and what I’d be doing as an owner.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. I knew that it wasn’t environmental science and that I loved interacting with people.
I started searching for a customer service or admin job.
I got hired as a Payroll Specialist at Paychex.
I learned a lot, but it was a little too corporate for me. The conversations I had were transactional and I didn’t really get to connect with the customers that I was helping.
Since I wasn’t entirely happy in my job and I was still living at home, not in LA where I wanted to be, I decided to apply to 1 job in LA. If I got it I’d move.
Surprise, surprise…I got it.
I was officially a Customer Service Rep. (and eventually a Customer Success Rep)
I was constantly interacting with people. I was helping customers solve their problems. I was interacting with my team, collaborating, learning, and teaching.
I found a job that satisfied my need for meaningful interactions and has plenty of career growth. I’m happy and can’t imagine doing anything else.