No woman is an island
When Loryn came to Bossed Up Bootcamp, she had been recently pushed out of her job and wanted to make a mindful career transition into a role she could grow and thrive in.
I sat down with this DC digital strategist to hear more about the lessons she’s learned along the way, and hear what advice she has for women looking to make a similar change.
Emilie: Tell me about the kind of work you do, Loryn.
Loryn: I’m a communications strategist specializing in digital media. I’ve developed communications strategies for MGM Mirage, Microsoft, the NAACP, and YWCA USA, just to name a few. At my day job, I run digital strategy for the National Education Association.
I’m also a published writer. My most recent piece was one for Revelist.com comparing Beyonce’s Lemonade to the works of playwright Ntozake Shange.
Just a few weeks ago, I published an e-book entitled Win the Internet: Best Practices for Twitter and Facebook. The book is designed for people who want to use social media for their business or organization, but really aren’t sure where to start.
Emilie: That’s awesome, Loryn! When you joined us at Bootcamp things weren’t looking quite so rosy, if I recall. Tell me about that transition.
Loryn: This time last year, I was working at a job I would say was my bridge job – I took it because I needed a job at the time and I decided I would stay there until I found something better. A few months in, however, I got a new boss with whom I did not have the best relationship. About a month into my new boss being there, she said I wasn’t a good fit and told me flatly that maybe I should go work at a communications firm and not at a mission-driven organization like the one I was in. I did my best to do good work and stay where I was, but last February, they let me go. I was escorted out of the building like a criminal.
Fortunately, I had already secured a freelance job working on social media management for another organization, so for the first few months of pseudo-unemployment I was taken care of, financially.
In the meantime, I used Twitter to get the word out about my job search, scheduled lunches and coffee dates with my network, and also started writing my book since I had a bit more free time. By March, the freelance contract ended, but I wasn’t afraid. I kept pushing toward the goal of finding the right new opportunity, and focused on finishing my book.
When it was all said and done, I was going on 1-2 job interviews a week from March to June. I went on over 25 interviews during that period.
Today I’m happy to report that I went from being escorted out of my last job to working in a mission-driven organization I truly believe in, in a position that is a good challenge for me, and one where I am making almost twice what I was earning before.
Emilie: That’s amazing! What, if any, impact do you feel Bossed Up Bootcamp had on your progress?
Loryn: Bossed Up Bootcamp made me realize the importance of assertiveness on the job. I realized that one reason some of my past jobs have been more challenging than others is because I wasn’t receiving feedback I needed from my managers about my progress. What’s worse is that I hadn’t even put on my big girl pants and asked for feedback! I was waiting for them to be more assertive and didn’t quite realize until Bootcamp that I had the power to initiate that conversation, too. So now, at my new position, I am unafraid to ask for feedback and really push the people I work with to give it to me.
Emilie: Fantastic. What advice do you have for other women navigating an uncertain job search like you just tackled?
Loryn: First, listen to your gut. When I was interviewing for jobs last year, there were a few where I just knew they weren’t a good fit. It’s okay to turn down an offer if you know deep down the opportunity isn’t for you!
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to your networks and the people who love and care about you for support – no woman is an island, and no one can get what they truly want all on their own with no help. It’s okay to need the help, and okay to ask for it.