Today’s post is part of an exchange I did with the lovely Elaine Rau at LadyBossBlogger. She’s sharing her experience working in a sexist environment and how she freed herself of it, and I did an interview with her! (If you’d like to check out our interview on LadyBossBlogger, you can find it here.) Be sure to leave a comment below!
My first job out of college was working at David’s Bridal as a dress consultant, which introduced me to the wedding industry and led me to my other wedding-related jobs. I noticed however that at every job I was at, the majority of the employees were female while my boss was always a man. I thought it was quite interesting (yet perplexing) considering that even though the wedding industry caters to the female consumer, the person making the decisions was not female.
Fast forward to my last job, before I quit to become an entrepreneur. I had worked my way up the corporate ladder and in two short years went from being a sales rep to working as the National Wedding Sales Manager for one of the top photo and video companies in the United States. My job was my life, and I loved it. I worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; I always had my phone on me and I took calls at all hours… and I was completely oblivious to how my work environment was slowly changing how I viewed myself and my capabilities.
I have always considered myself a strong and independent woman, but the longer I was with the company, the less I felt I had to offer to the world.
I thought that job was it for me. It got so bad that I was scared to leave because I didn’t think I would find anything better. I didn’t realize that this was due to being talked down to every day, and having my suggestions devalued at every turn. I am a very creative person, so being locked in a box without flexibility was very hard. What made it worse was that I didn’t even know I was being verbally manipulated and abused. It came to a point where I had to get a lawyer to help me quit because my boss wouldn’t let me go, and I couldn’t stand up to him by myself.
After I finally freed myself from my ordeal, I cried for a good few days. I was so relieved but at the same time so shocked at myself for letting something like this happen! If it were anyone else I would have called it out a long time ago, but I was blinded by my obsession with my job.
My job had become my identity, so letting it go wasn’t easy. I felt like I had just gone through a messy breakup; my emotions were everywhere, so I decided to just relax for a while. I had so much saved up that I just partied every night and took fun trips with friends.
Then, after I got that out of my system, I decided to move to Honduras to finally be reunited with my fiancé!
After I moved, things started getting hard again. I was in a completely foreign environment and didn’t speak the language either. I felt lonely and purposeless, and not being able to find a job that I enjoyed didn’t help either. Once again I was fully reliant on a man, my fiancé, and I hated it. Luckily he is the most patient, kindhearted, and compassionate man in the world. He was able to see past my hurtful words and angry episodes in order to walk beside me towards healing my hardened heart. He spoke highly of me and encouraged me every single day to not worry about anything else except finding my own path.
I decided to figure out what my biggest motivations in life were so I could get my life back on track. By looking deep into the core of my being, I realized that I had a passion to elevate women in business and that I have always wanted to be in business myself, but just didn’t know how to do it. I wanted to learn from other ladies to see how they did it and glean knowledge from their insight. However, I couldn’t afford a mentor, so I decided to create an interview platform where I could ask them hard questions and learn from their answers.
I drafted a quick idea of what I wanted to do in my head, checked to make sure I was able to use the same name across all social media platforms, then bought my domain. I started learning about WordPress and setting my site up. A week later however, I started to loose steam and wanted to quit and go back to what I knew, potentially blogging about the wedding industry. But I forced myself to focus and took a chance instead to see if I could monetize it, knowing that would be the driving factor I needed to keep going… and it worked! A few days later I made my first $5 and was ELATED. That day, my entrepreneurial journey began.
Now, 7 months later, I look back at all I have accomplished in business and in life, and cannot be more thankful.
If I hadn’t pulled myself out of my comfort zone and gone into the great unknown, I would not be where I am today. Through this experience, I discovered how much strength I had within and once I started piecing myself back together again, I became a better and stronger version of who I was.
I want to encourage you today and let you know that there is strength inside of you that you may not have discovered yet. A strength that will get you through hard times… a strength that you need to uncover. Believing in yourself is the first step.
If you were encouraged by my story in any way, please share in the comments below!
Elaine decided to interview herself on her blog, since she has become an entrepreneur herself and learned how to make money from nothing. If you want to learn more about where she’s at now, you can read it here!