How Maggie Handled A Big Career Curveball

Life after college can be tricky. Especially when you are in a new city, at your first job, and have no support system. Then, of course, life brings it’s inevitable bumps in the road.

Maggie was thrilled to step into the role of  Special Assistant to the CEO at the American Security Project. Empowering business as a force for good is what gets Maggie up in the morning, but when her parents called with foundation-shaking news, it was hard to get her footing as a grown-up in the real world.

Read on to see how Maggie caught the curve ball life threw at her, and how now she’s swinging for a home run.

Emilie: So where does this story begin, Maggie?

Maggie: I moved to DC days after finishing college to start work at the American Security Project. I knew no one in the city, and almost immediately, life threw me a huge curveball: my parents told me they were separating.

I was shocked. I was in a brand new place, starting my first job, and now I was a big jumble of mixed emotions. I missed my friends and didn’t feel like I had anyone to turn to when it came to career, life, family.

E: Damn boss, that’s tough. How did you cope?

M: Bossed Up Bootcamp was one of the first things I did in DC. At the time (and even now) there were no women in my organization, and so I had little interaction with women more experienced than me.

Bossed Up Bootcamp provided me with two kinds of role models: women who had set clear goals and were energetically fulfilling them as they had planned, and women who were redirecting their energy to strive for what they truly wanted. Hearing the successes and setbacks so many incredible women were facing was invaluable. It felt so validating to hear that others had been at the crossroads before and could point me towards a new path of fulfillment.

E: That’s awesome! How are things going now?

M: Fast forward a few months, and my boyfriend has moved out to DC to teach kindergarten and we’ve adopted the most adorable pitbull ever. Both have been incredibly nurturing and supportive  in enabling  me to be sustainably successful in the last year.

I also rediscovered the hobbies that fill my soul. After an 18-month hiatus, I’m in full-on comeback mode  as a coloratura soprano. Sure, work makes me leap out of bed each day, but music keeps me going all day.

Building the scaffolding of a support system has enabled me to have an impact way above my experience level at work, and made me less afraid to use my voice. My growing community gives me courage.

E: Brilliant. Sounds like you’ve truly invested in your sustainability – nice work! What advice do you have for other women navigating a  transition like yours?

M: Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Ask for help. Find mentors and commit yourself to maintaining those relationships.

Most importantly: do something for yourself every day. Whether it’s a workout, treating yourself to a manicure, frozen yogurt, or your favorite episode of the West Wing. Repeat after Audre: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.”


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