“This Is Not The Career I Ordered”

By Audrey van Petegem, Senior Editor

I became a Social Worker right after I graduated from University.  When my husband was first transferred to the States, I had lots of time one my hands so I decided to try yoga. After my first yoga class I was hooked and became immersed in the yoga community to a point where I was offered a job and soon worked my way up to a senior position at a large yoga company that has studios in New York, Los Angeles and Orange County. After my two youngest were born, my career path took another unexpected turn and I was offered an editor’s position for TheSucculentWife. I have enjoyed all three careers and feel blessed that I have found three very different career paths that suited who I was at that particular time of my life.

When I saw the book, This is Not the Career I Ordered, by Caroline Dowd-Higgins, I immediately requested a copy. Dowd-Higgins wrote the book after she had to re-invent herself, first from a starving opera singer to a career coach and then to author.

The book is packed with practical information, resources and great possibilities for networking. The pages are also filled with stories about  women who followed their passions and took a risk. Whether they started their own companies or found a dream job working for someone else, they all knew that life was too short to not enjoy what they were doing.

Here are a few inspiring women with stories of their own re-invention that came from either this book or from the many women that I have met while working for The Succulent Wife.

Taste Buds -  Jessi Walter is a Harvard grad with a degree in Economics who worked in the New York financial district before being laid off. Taste Buds (formerly known as Cupcake Kids) started as a hobby, where Jessi would come to kids birthday parties and teach children how to cook. With her financial background, Jessi was able to turn Taste Buds into a full time career.  Check out her website, classes and online store at TasteBudsCook.com.
123Raw - When Rebecca Carlson was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she was forced to leave her position as the Art and Creative Director of an advertising agency, a job that she loved. Feeling discouraged about her prognosis of being wheelchair bound for the rest of her life, Rebecca decided to find a more holistic approach to her future. She had learned about the concept of raw food and decided to give it a try. Not only did she regain her strength and energy but all her MS symptoms were gone! Rebecca needed to share this and started an online store, 123Raw, where you can purchase raw food, raw food kitchen appliances, books and green gifts.   She also became publisher of Purely Delicious, an online magazine that celebrates the raw food lifestyle.
Skinny Songs – Heidi Roizen is a successful business woman, but when her mission was to lose weight she came up with a great idea. When she looked for music to help her get motivated to fit back in her skinny jeans, she soon realized that there was nothing out there. She started writing down lyrics and enlisted others for the music side of it. With Heidi’s business knowledge, Skinny Songs is not only a viable product but also turns a profit. You can buy here CD on Amazon or download from iTunes.
Savor the Success - Angela Jia Kim is a accomplished concert pianist, but when she developed an allergic reaction to a lotion she tried just before going on stage, she was determined to create her own skin care line. With the help of holistic experts Angela, created a creme she only meant for herself. Little did she know that OmAroma would become a successful business. Since Angela had no business training, she felt she needed some advice and support. She, along with her husband, started SavortheSuccess.com, a PR Co-op for female entrepreneurs and professionals. This is a great place to start if you are planning on following your passion.
Identity Magazine – Susan Vernicek is a young professional woman who wanted to own her own business and have a positive influence on others. She created an on-line magazine called Identity that focuses on inspiring women to accept, appreciate and achieve. I love her positive outlook and informative content so much that I became a subscriber.
Custom Made For Kids - We wrote about the Custom Made for Kids books here but what we didn’t really share is the background story. Sarah Riley Headrick and Sarah Foreman Rivera became friends through a neighborhood play group which they each joined after having their first child. Being constantly invited to birthday parties and christenings, they noticed that the type of gift that the receiver enjoyed the most was a personalized one. Custom Made for Kids came from that desire to give people the opportunity to buy a thoughtful, personalized and meaningful gift.
The Veggie Bed – Andrea Vincent had to re-invent herself after she was diagnosed with cancer and going through her recovery. She had the idea for the Veggie Bed (which we wrote about in our Earth Day article) for a long time and decided this was the time to see it through fruition. She now has a distributor and is continuing to add stores that carry her Veggie Bed.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Organic Lubricant – We wrote about Yes Pure Intimacy and shared one of the founders’ – Susi Lennox – story, but it is one worth repeating. Susi was very successful working for a large pharmaceutical company when she felt she no longer could, in all good conscience, support products that could harm the consumer. She and her colleague created their own company that would only produce Certified Organic products that they could be proud of selling. Yes Pure Intimacy is now a viable business with the best personal lubricant on the market (talking from personal experience).
Amber’s Garden – After Connie Henderson was laid off from the mortgage business a few years ago, she needed to find a way to make ends meet for her and her daughter. Amber developed her passion for gardening with her daughter into a great product, Amber’s Garden, which we wrote about here. Amber’s Garden products are now carried by such retailers like Target, Connie’s hobby became a profitable business.
The Succulent Wife – Our very own Anne-Marie Kovacs has her own story of zigzagging toward a more fulfilling career. A marketing pro in charge of the marketing teams for several highly recognizable dotcoms, Anne-Marie finally launched her 15 year old dream after her the last employer’s company was sold to a competitor. In the beginning, The Succulent Wife distributed the collections of women artists through retail and wholesale channels. She tweaked her concept though, once she realized that blogging about independent artists, designers and businesses would be a better way to promote the indie mindset. It’s all about bringing visibility to fresh and inspiring ideas, products and services.

Whether you are forced to re-invent yourself or you just want to follow your passion, a good place to start is with this book “This is Not the Career I Ordered” and connecting with Caroline Dowd-Higgins through Facebook. If you are one of the lucky ones who has already initiated the process of following your passions, we would love to hear your story on how you re-invented yourself.

One Response to “This Is Not The Career I Ordered”

  1. kristin says:

    I’m in the midst of trying to find the career I didn’t order… actually, as someone who never really had any goals, the fact that I do anything at all is remarkable. ;)

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