It was time to find a job. What the hell was I going to do? The last time I worked in an actual paid job was quite some time before. Actually it was before I had just found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I was working in outside sales. I knew I didn’t want to go back to that. So really, what was I going to do?? What was I good at? I had my marketing diploma from NAIT. I received that while I was pregnant with my 2nd. It covered a whole realm of possibilities. But in the back of my mind, I was thinking about who would want to hire a 30 something (late 30 something) that had only basically been a mom.
I searched wanted ads all day long. Getting more and more discouraged. Feeling very much ‘less than’. I had held a variety of volunteer positions over the years, maybe there was something in that. Hmmmmm…. Parent council advisory, hockey coach, team manager, director of a number of sports organizations my kids had played with. Nope, nope, NOPE. Nothing in the wanted ads that looked remotely close to what my skill set was.
Maybe going back to school was the answer. I searched through the classes offered. Nope. Nope. Nope. I wasn’t looking to go back to restart a whole new career path. I wanted to build off what I already knew. What I already had experience in. And no, not raising kids! I had a full plate raising my own, I really didn’t need others in my house. So what then??!!
Then I saw it. It sang to me. It was like the words on the page were there just for me! A Special Event Management Certificate. Oh yes! I could definitely do that! Signed up for the first course. They were weekend classes. A Saturday and a Sunday. I was excited for my first class. The waiting for it to start was the WORST!
Going back in time…. I HATED, with a passion, high school. I hated getting up for it. I hated attending classes while there. I hated writing tests while there. I hated high school. So much so, that I would get on the bus or a ride from a friend to sit and have coffee with friends instead of going to class. I would drink beer in the afternoons instead of going to class. I used school for socializing. Finished 4 credits short when graduation rolled around. But I was an arrogant teenager with all the answers! I mean, seriously, who needed to learn all that shit! Turns out, I did. (Are you reading this Mason, Mckenzie and Parker??)
After I found out I was pregnant at 19 and my oldest daughter being born when I was 20, I discovered that with my limited schooling, the options for jobs where pretty slim pickins! So I upgraded and returned to what I hated for my marketing diploma. I received that back in 1995. In time to have my 2nd child. After a couple of outside sales positions, the decision was made that I would stay home and raise our family.
And here I was, excited to go back to learning. Yes, it sometimes takes me a while to discover what many know. So entering that classroom to learn about managing special events, I have to say I was a little nervous. Wouldn’t most of these people be in that industry already? Wouldn’t most of them already have some grasp of the events field? Wouldn’t I be the one not knowing anything? I walked into that first class with wide eyes, hoping for knowledge to land me a job. At the first break, I remember laughing a little to myself. The outline of what we had talked about, the learning of how to manage special events… well, I had done this many times. FOR FREE!! All those years of organizing team trips, team parties, fundraisers, parent council meetings, etc. I had done it all already. At no charge! So here I was, nervous as hell that I didn’t know what I was doing, when I had already done so many of these things they had just said we were going to learn about!
HA Self! You idiot! After that, I was a whole lot more confident. I could do this! Easy Peasy!
So I took all the required course to gain my Special Events Management Certificate. Now, to get a job. Back to the wanted ads with a new outlook. And still nothing…
So I figured why not volunteer with an organization to put my skills to use. And that is when the stars started to line up for me. I volunteered with Northlands to work on the Edmonton Indy. I would go in and do paper work, make phone calls, organize volunteers, help out in whatever way I could. And I loved it.
Then that fatefully day happened. I was invited for lunch with the ladies that got paid to organize the volunteers. We sat at a table with the woman that would become my manager. She had just gotten back from Vegas with some of the ladies I worked with. She was bubbly, charismatic, a really talker… like me! I instantly liked her! The table was a buzz with talk. Her leading the way. Not only did I like her, I respected her. She included everyone in on the conversation. Even me, the volunteer. She asked what my story was, how did I end up volunteering? Then later that week, the lady I reported to told me to bring in a resume. Melinda, the woman who would end up my manager, wanted it.
The rest is history. I started working full time, in a paid job, with an amazing team soon after that. And I loved my team. I loved (for the most part) going into work. Melinda, Jenna and I were an amazing team! We bounced ideas off each other. We laughed together. We worked hard together. We just clicked. We didn’t always agree. Some of our ideas didn’t always fly. Some days we didn’t like each other’s ideas. But we always respected each other.
And it was not only work we helped each other with. We would just know when the other person was on the brink of losing it. We would just know when the other team member needed to head outside to take a break. We talked about more than just work, we talked about what was happening in our lives outside of work. These woman became friends. It was wonderful.
But sometimes all good things come to an end. And I made the decision to leave the team. The work was wonderful, but when an event was happening, I missed my kids. There were long, long days when our major event was happening and it would take me away from my kids for many days in a row. Then, when the event was over, I was exhausted. Mentally and physically. And it was effecting my time with the kids.
So after 2 years of being with an amazing team, I broke away. But the value I learned from working with those ladies taught me a lot. It taught me lessons I still use today. Just because you are a manager, doesn’t mean shit. Melinda taught me that she was a part of the team, before she was a manager. She taught me to respect all team member’s strengths and to use them to the team’s advantage. No one person was more important than the other. We all had a job to do, and if one of the team members was suffering, the team suffered. She taught me that as a manager, you could be a human first. With feelings and compassion. My other team member, Jenna taught me about strength and conviction. She was the youngest on our team. But what a go getter! She had such drive and passion for her job. She taught me that with enough belief in yourself, many things could get accomplished. She was a real hard worker! Staying late to just “finish up” that would turn into hours of being there after all of us others had left.
So to the amazing women I worked with, I may not work there anymore but the lessons you had no idea you were teaching me are still a part of me today. Thank you for a wonderful 2 years of working side by side and a lifetime of lessons.