My background story...
If you didn’t already know what I do for a living, I’m a Certified Public Accountant. Yep, super exciting stuff, I know. However, let me tell you something, everyone needs an accountant. So when I realized that horses were in my blood and that I would need to figure out a way to pay for them, I supposed accounting would be an excellent career path. I figured I would never be without a job and I’d always be able to pay for those expensive shoes every four to six weeks. Plus, I was raised by a tax attorney who always talked business at the dinner table. Between those things and my affinity for math, I knew at a pretty young age that accounting was the path for me. And when people asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I told them I wanted to be an accountant for an equine business. Needless to say, most people rolled their eyes. What did that even mean?
As an accounting student, you’re pretty much put on one path: Public accounting. So I did what any driven post-college grad does and I took a job with one of the “Big Four” accounting firms and spent the first four years of my career as slave in Washington, DC. I. Was. Miserable. I worked crazy hours, rarely got to ride, gained a ton of weight, was exhausted all the time, and essentially hated my life.
After realizing that public accounting was definitely NOT for me, I bounced around to a few other jobs trying to find my niche. Deep down knowing that my dream job was out there somewhere. I tried a few different things: Government contracting, start-ups, and small businesses. And let me tell you, bouncing around doesn’t look all the great on a 20-something’s resume. Then the un-thinkable happened. I got laid off. I will never forget the feeling as I was told “your position has been eliminated at the end of the month. You will not be getting severance”. I work hard! I don’t get laid off! I’ve got a mortgage. And a horse’s mouth to feed! Holy panic. I couldn’t even tell my parents. I felt like they would be disappointed in me. I had a Masters’ degree from a top University and those shiny three letters after my name. This kind of thing didn’t happen to me.
So I hit the ground running with my job search. And one day a text popped up from my trainer of a screen shot from a Facebook post by the Chronicle of the Horse. They were looking for a new Chief Financial Officer in Middleburg, Virginia. Hello, dream job! I immediately sent my resume. Crickets. I followed up. Crickets. Meanwhile, I was following many other leads in the DC area. Jobs that would pay what I had been making. Jobs that required business casual dress, a daily commute, the “normal” 9 to 5. What I thought was “expected” of me. But I kept following up with The Chronicle. I finally heard back and was told that my salary requirements were a bit out of their budget, but was I still interested? Yes! A million times yes! Ok, not the most responsible thing in the world when you have a DC-sized mortgage on a Middleburg-sized salary, but I didn’t care. Finally, I got an offer from a political consulting firm in DC with a killer salary and benefits package. The “safe” choice. I was so relieved to finally know I would have a paycheck again, but deep down my heart just wasn’t in it. I called my parents who were very happy for me and obviously encouraged me to take the “safe” and “normal” choice.
Then I sat down with my incredible supportive boyfriend. “My heart just isn’t in this. I am not a corporate 9 to 5’er.” And then I told him about the offer for the interview with The Chronicle. “Maybe I shouldn’t bother with it though. It would be a pay cut and I really can’t afford that right now.” Being the wonderful person that he is, he encouraged me to go to the interview. After all, I had nothing to lose by talking to them. And he was right.
The job of a lifetime
So off I went to one of my favorite places in the world for a job interview that I knew would be a dream come true. The Chronicle offices are beautiful and everyone brings their dog. I had been wanting a dog forever, but told myself I couldn’t have one because leaving it in a condo all day while I was at work would be cruel (spoiler alert: I just got the most precious puppy in the whole world!). The interview went amazing and I left wanting the job, but still feeling like maybe the safe choice was the best choice. I asked what the odds of speaking to the owner of The Chronicle would be thinking maybe he could put my CPA to use with a few of his other businesses (The owner is also the CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, which puts on the Winter Equestrian Festival).
24 hours later my phone rang. It was him. The owner. My heart nearly beat out of my chest. We talked for a bit and of course the old bouncing around on my resume came up, which I truthfully explained and then essentially begged him to hire me. I explained that I had this other offer, but that I really wanted to work for him and that I would basically do anything he asked and work harder than anyone he knew and sell my soul to him (ok, maybe not in those exact words). He mentioned that an accountant was needed in their new facility in Tryon, North Carolina and asked if I could fly down there the next week to meet the head of operations. Yes! Yes! Yes!
So after a whirlwind trip to Tryon (which is absolutely stunning by the way and everyone should show there) and more shameless begging, I was offered my dream job. Which I quickly accepted. And because I essentially accepted two full time jobs (yes, I’m crazy), I didn’t have to take that pay cut so Benji can still have his new shoes every four to six weeks.
Dream it and do it!
So what is the point of all of this you ask? What does this have to do with WEF 2016? Well WEF 2016 marks the beginning of the career that I have dreamed about since middle school. I come to Wellington to show, but I also come to Wellington to work. How cool is that? And it means that everyone who says “you can do anything you put your mind to” as cliché as it sounds, is actually speaking the truth. And it means that even when one door quickly slams in your face and you think you are a total failure, another door will open and lead to something much, much better.
If you want it, go get it. Go after it with every ounce of your being. Because it is possible and everyone deserves happiness!