Asking for Help...A story of my changing life
Updated: Feb 12
I’ll admit – I haven’t been good at asking for help.
I grew up with lessons on “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” and “working hard pays off” and loads of other templates and thought-forms that may or may not actually work.
Have we really ever considered the types of things we believe or think, where they have come from and whether or not they are in our best interest?
I got my MBA in Integrated Marketing Communications. I am sure many people have stories of grueling school programs and life experiences. The constant pace of full-time school and a full-time job that was quite demanding, accumulated and by the time I had only a few months left of school, I was burnt out, sick all the time and could barely think straight.
I had hoped in the two years of being in school that our program leaders would have established connections for networking with local businesses. We were the first people through a new regional MBA, albeit at a nationally recognized school – St Catherine University – and at the time, the only MBA or advanced degree in Integrated Marketing.
Instead, leadership had dropped the ball on any kind of post-grad recruiting program and they did little to establish networking affiliations, or have any courses on how to search for jobs post MBA. I may have been the only person in the program at the time who was not already working in the field, or at least in a company that recognized them with a promotion.
My company was in the middle of a huge merger integration and not hiring or promoting unless it directly related to underwriting loans. As an Executive Assistant, it is a known fact that moving up from these positions is next to impossible. At my brother’s wedding in May, I had numerous conversations with people on the subject, all concurring with this point of view, and saying that they’d heard of ‘maybe one time’ that an EA was promoted to a leadership position within the same company.
Things didn’t look great but I had high hopes that my twenty years of managing offices and execs, my writing and artistic background and my MBA would coalesce quickly into a mid-level position in advertising or in integrated marketing.
Several months of no responses to any resume I sent out began to erode my confidence. After attending several networking events, all of which required a fee to get in, I began to realize just how closed a market I was dealing with. Local agencies in Minneapolis may be plentiful, however it is a “who you know” type business with a skittish approach to hiring newbies and outsiders.
In corporate marketing, integrated approaches are sadly, still in their infancy. In addition, many of the top employers were not hiring – they may have jobs posted, but that is not the same thing. I started to talk with people in my now growing network -- 3M and Ecolab were in hiring freezes, using contractors or moving people around within. Also, the larger companies had established MBA recruiting programs with the local schools (other than mine) and avenues for post-grad internships were closed.
Several more months of “no thank you” responses to my resume and/or dead silence, whittled away even more confidence. It wasn’t until I was in a dead depression and the Olympics came on that I began to listen to stories of world class athletes. These guys went through tremendous pain, mental suffering, bad choices, and various other physical and real life challenges – the difference between their attitude and mine seemed to be tenacity under fire.
At that point, I joined an EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) circle and began to tap away on my meridian points to lift some of the emotional baggage I was carrying – from all these thoughts and feelings. As they released, I felt my confidence return, and I knew that I could eventually overcome all these challenges.
The main issue that was coming up for me after months out of school with no change in income, was my finances. They were spiraling out of control. Networking events cost money. Running this website – which I use as portfolio -- cost money, my apartment rent was more than my paycheck (EAs aren’t valued financially either) and I was stuck in a lease until the beginning of 2017. I needed to maintain LinkedIn Premium for job hunting purposes, get business cards, keep up my appearance. You name it and I was bleeding red.
I had been keeping it all going with the idea that the BIG JOB would be around the corner and that simply had not materialized. My parents decided the best they could do was pay my car payment – another expense I took on so I could go to job interviews, get to work and be more flexible. However, they were really antagonistic about how long it was taking, and how much money I needed to do it.
I honestly felt emotionally and materially unsupported. How was I supposed to “Go for Gold” in this career move if I couldn’t afford a decent pair of shoes, pay for parking at job interviews, join the networking groups etc.
I was between a rock and hard place. And I was sinking!
I don’t mean to complain, but our society is ubiquitous with templates and concepts that promote the idea that job hunting is easy or should be a piece of cake – I guess that is why I thought I would have a recruiting program to help me when I graduated. Templates which say you can establish businesses without some kind of capital outlay and that something is wrong with you if you don’t get networking right away.
Sure I was going to need to grow up in this process and figure it out, but it is hard to figure it out when you are worrying that you will be homeless or have to deal with less than ideal living arrangements while simultaneously keeping up the job hunt.
More recently, I made enough contacts that informational interviews began to happen. They were great – I learned a lot at each one. However, the biggest feedback from them was that I needed more practical experience – internships of sorts, like offering my work to non-profits, joining marketing membership organizations and volunteering on committees. Attendance at local conferences and training opportunities was another aspect of this.
With what resources? I am barely getting by.
So that is where I am at – after a weekend in which my iPhone screen broke so badly I needed an emergency repair I couldn’t afford – the climbing overdraft fees from all the rent checks and stuff I needed to pay meant I never got paid a full check anyway and I had to ask for help.
What’s more, I felt like I might be able to offer my services and raise awareness for my story in the process. It’s not just financial help I need. I need emotional support too. However, I am at risk for losing my apartment at this point. I have nowhere else to go and an eviction stays on your record a long time.
There is all this potential here – I have an MBA, plenty of skills and attributes. What I need now is people to assist with some capital to get to the next step of this journey successfully.
In exchange, I will write about my journey here. If you want to work with me on your business' integrated planning, do coaching or healing work for yourself or your business, that is great too. Building client takes time and money too - remember those networking events?
In the meantime, I will make sure to keep my campaign going so that I can break into this new field, gain the experience I need and keep things floating. Please consider donating on my YouCare site today. I really can't do this alone.