5 Things You Should Know Before Changing Careers

5 Things You Should Know Before Changing Careers

by Vivian Knox, Always Working Mom Podcast, Written for Working Momkind

My first job out of college was working as the Front Office Attendant for a Baseball Training facility in an affluent suburb of Dallas, Texas. The Baseball Training facility was owned by a former MLB player, Scott Livingstone, and was a facility for local baseball hopefuls and current MLB players. At the time, all I knew about baseball was: the Astros were the only team name I knew, Brad Ausmus was the cutest player, and The Sandlot was probably based on a true story. 

My job responsibilities were mostly administrative and we were incentivized to sell special training camp programs. One evening, we had a local kid team rent our facility for a private practice session during a time when I was trying to sell Spring Break Baseball Camp reservations. My goal was to sell the remaining camp spots by the end of the night, and my execution was to pitch the camp spots to every parent and student. Boy did I execute my plan, and was completely bewildered when the Baseball Trainers and Scott came to my desk hysterical in laughter after my sales pitch to one of the dads. In between gasps for air, my coworkers informed me I had just tried to sell Kenny Rogers a camp reservation. In return, I quickly informed my coworkers the dad I had spoken with was in fact not the “old country dude that sings about poker”. After what felt like hours of laughter, Scott educated me on baseball history, Kenny Rogers the MLB pitcher (not country singer), and the statistical improbability of pitching a perfect game which Kenny had accomplished as a Texas Rangers. 

My blunder with Kenny was just one of many comical errors made while working in baseball, but it was a significant career moment. I learned courage. Courage to go for it. Courage to learn from and laugh at mistakes. Courage to admit I don’t know everything, and surround myself with people to help. 

Many years later, I quit my job of 10 years in medical management to become a small business owner of a balloon bar. What?! Yes, I own a balloon decorating business and there are 5 things you should know before changing careers.

  1. Your “Why”? I’m tired of this phrase, but it’s a fundamental question when entertaining thoughts of career change. 
    1. What are your values? For me, a healthy work environment is extremely important. You need to ask yourself what a healthy work environment (for you) looks like? What environment or in what team do you thrive in? Also, be realistic. The stuff of fairy tales and movies don’t exist. Healthy work environments exist, and if you’re not in one, GET OUT NOW.   
    2. What are your needs? For me, I needed a flexible work schedule to allow me to take my son to doctor appointments or to be able to volunteer at his school during special occasions without the usage of PTO. What do you need? More money? Benefits? Schedule needs?
    3. What are your skills? For me, my role in medical management constantly was changing and therefore my top skills were adaptable and capable of learning new skills. Really reflect on this one and list each of them out. This will help determine where to make a change to or if the new career fits your current skills.
    4. What are you passionate about? What are your burdens? I started my small business to give myself a flexible work schedule, create a healthy work environment, and to freelance my marketing and business development skills. The Balloon Bar, Joyza, was born from a micro-skill in marketing, and from a deep burden to help other mothers find jobs with a “flex-time” schedule. 
  2. Research. I jokingly tell people I have a Phd in Google, and you need one too. Find out what other careers are out there. What careers match your values, needs, and skills? 
  3. There is never a good time. I wish I would have made a career change sooner, and knowing what I know now, there is never a good time for a career change. Don’t wait for the “perfect” time. Honestly, I think now during this pandemic time is the best. 
  4. Let go of self-doubt. Sing the Elsa song. Cut out the naysayers. Do whatever you need to do to stop self-doubt. You need to up your mental strength and take it to the gym. You need COURAGE. 
  5. Commitment. It’s going to get tough, and you need to have a plan on how to stay in the commitment-game when it does. Once you make the decision to change careers, stick with it! My friend, Allison Ellsworth, co-founder of Poppi and Shark Tank deal earner, told me to surround myself with people who support me, to list them, and they will be my circle of people when the going gets tough. My circle has helped me to figure out things I don’t know, and have been my cheerleaders helping me stay in the game. 

Career change is hard and it takes courage, but it’s worth it! Do a deep dive into “your why” and research, and the rest is mental endurance. As the other Kenny Rogers says, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away, And know when to run”. I’m rooting for you if you’re ready to run. Have courage, my friend!

Vivian Knox, Chief Balloon Inflator at Joyza

Small business owner, Writer, Speaker, Podcast host, Joy expert, and encouraging mothers to believe all moms work hard

Dear Stay-At-Home-Moms

Dear Stay-At-Home-Moms

Dear Stay-At-Home-Moms,

I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for hurting you. I owe you a giant apology for judging you, for being mean to you, and even for my thoughts.

I’m sorry for my pride. I thought, as a full-time-office-working-mom that I was more important, more achieved, and busier than you (SAHM). I wouldn’t have flat out said that to your face in those words at the time, but my thoughts and actions definitely played that out. For example, if I was driving to work and I would see a woman out walking her dog or running with her kid in the stroller I would think, “it must be nice to have so much free time and be able to spend your day doing whatever you want”. Or if my kid’s school would ask for parent volunteers or help I would think, “I better see all the SAHMs I know sign up first before I offer to help.” I’m sorry for being a prideful judging jerk. Will you forgive me?

I’m sorry for looking down on you. I’m sorry for my role in causing you to feel like “you’re just a mom” or when someone asks what you do for a living your response has been “I just stay home with my kids“. Man, I suck and I’m sorry for being a part of the problem and not the solution. Do you forgive me?

I want you to hear me, you are NOT “just” a mom. You do NOT “just” stay home with your kids. You are a working mom too. All moms work. I’m serious. I’m not blowing smoke up your ass. There is no scale measuring the amount of workload that each mother does or doesn’t do in a day, and I don’t know why we, yes myself included, are so obsessed with trying to measure one another. In the end there is NO trophy. No night at the Oscars for Motherhood, and there shouldn’t be. So why do we have to categorize one another and why do we shame ourselves for not measuring up to some invisible award?

You are a mother, like me, trying to raise a child or two and I want to support you not judge you. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to understand that. Do you forgive me?

I wish I could say I’m this super cool mom that realized this on my own but I didn’t. Honestly, that’s a good thing because remember my pride from before. God kindly asked me one day, “why do you think your time is more precious than your SAHM friend’s time?”. Busted.

I want you to know that not only am I so sorry for my role and how I’ve hurt you, but that I also want to do better. How can I help you? How can I support you? Please don’t feel bad for asking for help whether it’s big or small. The saying it takes a village is true, and it’s a good thing motherhood is made up of different types of moms. It’s good that some work in the office, some at the home, some part-time, and some side-hustlers. We all bring something to the village to offer. We all have a unique gift to support. Are you up for giving this village-motherhood-support-thing a try?

Please forgive me, and join me!

-Viv (formerly wanting to be called “a working mom“)

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Episode 01: Working Mom

Episode 01: Working Mom

Hey friends! Thanks for joining me today. There is so much I want to share with y’all about what this podcast is all about, so let’s jump in before my ADD kicks in and I run down a rabbit hole. 

I’m Vivian Knox, and I’ve been a career mom since the day my first child was born in 2011. Originally, I didn’t want to be a career mom, but because of student loan debt I needed to work at least part time until our debt was paid off. I’m extremely grateful that God provided me with the opportunity to keep the job that I had been working at before children and have the flexibility to cut back on my hours. 

Fast forward from 2011 to now, I’m a career mom with 2 children, Caleb and Mila. Over the course of 4 years, which is a season of what I like to refer to as “the Storm”, God changed my heart…slowly…and painfully …and I began to love being a working mom and pursuing a career. My heart had changed, and I was happy. My work family was a gift and my joy overflowed. My career experience was working in medical business management and I had been working with the same organization for almost 10 years.

Here’s where it’s going to get ugly and I’m embarrassed about it, but I need to be totally transparent with you. In January this past year, I was chatting with my friend and coworker, who is also a mom of 2 little kiddos and is actively pursuing a career.  And I was complaining. Shocker. I was sharing my frustrations that I had to volunteer for a PTA board member because apparently all the SAHM were just too busy. EEeekkk. Now you know what a Diva I think I am. Here’s the deal, our elementary school had 2 positions still open on the PTA Board and they had been posting for what seemed to be forever requesting volunteers. So I volunteered and offered my precious non-existent free time to serve. In that moment I felt like Katniss, a courageous volunteer as tribute. I imagined all the moms raising their hands at me in tribute fashion offering their respect of such a grand and noble gesture I had made, all the while I was giving the SAHMs the side eye. My coworker and I had a good laugh while we complained about how we felt it should be up to the SAHMs to volunteer and do all the things…because you know…they have so much more free time than us career moms. We can just write the check. And we also laughed at the thought of what the SAHMs thought or were saying about us career moms. 

I feel like going diarrhea just retelling this story…because I sound like such a B. Although it wasn’t until later that same day that God convicted me of how prideful and ridiculous I was being. Why do I think my time or calendar is more precious than a SAHM? Why is there such a divide amongst us moms? And the guilt of contributing to that spawned this vision and hope of what it might look like if moms, all moms, started to judge less and support more. So what, if we don’t sympathize or empathize with one another! We don’t have to! What we CAN do is listen. Hear each other out, and offer support. We don’t have to elevate ourselves to feel better…what if we pursued community over competition and support. Gosh, isn’t this what we should be doing in all the hot topics today? Race, Religion, and Politics. We can agree to disagree without being assholes about it. What would our world look like if we chose to listen to one another, and offered support and community instead of division and judgement?

And my motto on opinions is put your money where your mouth is, and your words into action, or just zip it, please. 😉 hahaha…put that on a coffee cup and t-shirt. hahaha

But really. In that moment I became passionate for change, and how could I be a part of that change. How can a silly, prideful, nobody career mom make a small impact for inclusion, kindness, community and support. 

And so Always Working Mom was born through conversations with friends, and the realization that all moms, whether SAHMs, career moms, side hustlers, or whatever…yes, ALL Moms are working moms. Let’s start a movement to encourage moms everywhere to stop competing, stop judging, and start supporting one another. 

For months now, I’ve sat and imaged what that would look like. Groups of neighbors and friends opening their friendship circles to include other moms that don’t look like them or work like them, and having this diverse friendship and support system. 

I hope that you’ll join me in this movement! Every week this season I’ll be hanging out with my friends from all walks of life and sharing their stories to encourage you and help you. From an entrepreneur mom and Shark Tank deal earner to a grandmother with sage advice, we will sit together in hopes of sparking a movement in your community. Please join us by subscribing to this podcast and asking your friends to join our online community through Instagram and Facebook to connect and create a support system in your community. Together, we can make a difference for the better. So what do you say, are you ready to join our movement? 

Listen Here to our Episode 01