What is a career? How do you even begin to have one? From what I can tell, building and managing a career involves a series of steps, including showing up, learning, doing good work, and being prepared. Each step builds on top of the last to get you further along to what you want to achieve. But is a career just working your way to one final goal so you can eventually retire? For some people, yes, and that’s perfectly fine. But to me, having a career is about always evolving, always learning, and growing.
And the beauty of this evolution is you never truly know where it is going to take you. I’ve been doing a lot of writing these past few weeks about what you can do to find a job, how to network, etc., but this week I’m going to tell you my story about how I got to this point in my own career.
And by “this point” I mean here, writing to all of you.
After high school I did what I thought I was supposed to do: I went to college. I earned an English degree because I always enjoyed writing and thought I wanted to be an English teacher. That didn’t work out and before I knew it, I found myself working a series of office jobs. I didn’t have any real direction because I didn’t know what I wanted to do—but the one thing I knew for sure was I really didn’t like sitting in an office all day. I felt like I was stuck; I was trapped in a box with the four walls closing in on me more and more every day.
A friend of mine, who is a massage therapist, suggested that since I had always liked skincare products and makeup, I might enjoy being an esthetician. She was right. Esthetician school changed my life, and I really mean that. It gave me direction and showed me that I could be good at something other than writing (which I thought didn’t really count for anything, but I was wrong about that). It was also the first time in my life that I felt I was doing something I could stick with—and I have. I’ve been working in the beauty industry for 12 years now.
I started out as an esthetician working at a beauty supply, found my way into beauty marketing, and eventually owned my skincare studio for 9 years. In my last post, I wrote about burning out and changing direction but still staying in the beauty industry. I went through that about two years ago, and now I write on different topics in the industry. This is a great change for me because I love writing, and I have several years of experience working on clients and building a small business. Everything I learned during that time still helps me today as a copywriter even though I am no longer in the treatment room.
For a long time, I thought career management was working your way toward the top of something, whether that was a role in management, owning several skincare studios, or even being an international trainer for a brand. But now I realize that for me, it’s about doing something I love that allows me to support myself financially, and always being open to learning and growing. Which is exactly what I have done.
So, my advice to anyone interested in how they can manage their beauty industry career is this: Work hard, keep learning, and don’t be afraid to try new things. You never know where they will take you.