My Journey: Part 2

My Journey: Part 2

Welcome back! If you missed the start of my journey story, you can find it here. Here we go…

When I left Cali for Massachusetts at 26 I had nearly 7 years of schooling (part-time) under my belt. I decided to head back to Michigan to, as I eloquently put it last week, get my shit together.

I moved back in with my parents, got a part-time job nannying for my aunt, and visited a Macomb Community College counselor to see where I was at in the Michigan teaching program.  I will never forget this meeting.

adult blur books close up

The counselor looked through all my Cali college transcripts and informed me that only 2 of my credits transferred over. TWO. Cali’s teaching program was significantly different from Michigan’s. My 7 years of hard work meant squat.

Have you ever felt so downhearted that you just absolutely can’t take it anymore? You feel like the universe just keeps piling it on your shoulders and you just…snap. I call it losing my shit. Yeah, well, that was me in the Macomb College parking lot. It was one of the best cries of my life, now that I think of it.

At this point I had moved around the country twice in a 4-month span. I felt I failed in Massachusetts, then having to move back home with my tail between my legs. I’m lucky that my parents have always been supportive & welcomed me back.

Coming back to Michigan, I had my sights set on Oakland University. The teaching program was amazing. It was also a 5-year program vs. the typical 4-year.

After crying until I couldn’t anymore in my car in the parking lot, I went through all the paperwork, all the classes I had to take, and began to start at square one.

This is when I set the goal for myself to graduate by 30. I was so determined to get my degree. I picked myself up, told myself to get with it, and move forward.

woman in blue long sleeved dress on rope bridge
Photo by Abby Chung on Pexels.com

I killed it in college. I did OU’s 5-year degree program in 3.5 years. I took 5 classes a semester sometimes, I took classes all through the summer, I took online classes, I worked my ass off. And I got mostly A’s. Goals are a powerful thing.

I had applied for the overseas student teaching program, got in, and off I went. My last 6 weeks of student teaching were spent in New Zealand.

New Zealand could be a whole other story, but I’ll say this…I fell in love with that country. The people, the culture, the sites, the way they teach. It is a magnificent place and I hope to make it there again.

grey asphalt road surrounded by trees
Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels.com

I graduated from Oakland University 3 months before turning 30. Goal reached.

I was so pumped to start teaching but the universe had other plans for me. At the time, the teaching field was flooded. Unless you knew someone that could connect you to get an interview, it was very difficult to find a job. I took subbing jobs all over the place until I landed long term sub jobs in a school I liked. I hoped something would open there for me but again, the universe…

Let me paint a picture of what interviewing for a teaching job was in 2011. You apply online, receive an invite to interview where you pick a time slot and day.

You arrive the day of, full of nerves, excitement, teaching portfolio in hand. You check in, are directed to a room with, wait for it, 25 other people. These 25 people all picked the same time slot and day you did out of 5 other days and 15 other time slots. All of which are filled and closed. I’ll let you do the math.

We’re given a handwritten questionnaire that needs to be filled out within a certain amount of time. When completed, we hand it in and proceed to another room where we write an essay (didn’t I already complete college?). After that, we’re split up by our assigned numbers (like cattle) and directed to sit in a hallway until our number is called (are they not aware we have names?). We’re each called in and interviewed by a random principal from a random school for a grade level opening at a school, neither of which they tell us. Mostly because they have no idea either.

Needless to say, I did not get a job at that unknown school teaching that unknown grade level. Shocking, I know.

grayscale photography of three cows
Photo by Byron on Pexels.com

In 2013 I was 8 months pregnant with my first kiddo and teaching Kindergarten. With two weeks left of my teaching assignment, my son decided to come a month early.

I’ve never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I’m not knocking it, that shit is hard as hell. It’s just not for me. I get bored easily (hence all the moving), I need constant challenges and projects and goals. No moss will ever have a chance to grow on me.

I made it about 3 months at home with my newborn until I started getting anxious. Subbing wasn’t an option anymore. It just didn’t make any sense. I would work to turn around and pay someone else about the same to raise my kid. The job openings were slim still. What else could I do?

My husband suggested starting my own business. It was always in the back of my mind, something I had wanted to do. The idea of abandoning teaching hurt my heart tremendously. I had gotten accepted into grad school, but I couldn’t see teaching working out for me at that time. I had to walk away from it.

We’re trained from an early age to think that there’s only one job, one career for us for our entire lives. When we’re little grownups ask us what we want to be when we grow up. We write it on chalkboards on our kid’s first day of school. This is Bobby and he wants to be an astronaut. Yay, Bobby!

All through high school we’re told to get good grades, play a ridiculous number of sports, take the ACTS/SATS, apply to a bunch of colleges, visit colleges, decide your career.

Can we just slow our roll for a minute? I don’t know about you, but I had no clue what I wanted at 17. It changed all the time. I could barely dress myself in matching clothes little lone decide my entire life.

I’m here to tell you that if you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, whatever age, and want to start all over…you can do it. I have reinvented myself many times following my passions. Some didn’t work out, many have.

a close up shot of letter dice
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

After mourning over my career “fail” for a hot second, I did some much-needed brainstorming. I thought about what else I was passionate about and what else I was GOOD at. I’m a busybody. An office job is not for me. I like to be active, moving a lot all day.

I eventually landed on baking. I’ve always loved baking and I’m good at it. I have a bit of an obsessive personality so when I discover something that interests me, I go all in. I fall down that rabbit hole and research the crap out of it. I spent most of my time taking classes online, researching the science of baking, and experimenting.

In 2013, when my son was 5 months old, I told those close to me that I was starting my own business. Many of the reactions I received were like getting a little pat on the head, aw aren’t you cute (more on this subject in a future post!).

For the next 5 years I sold custom cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, cheesecakes, pies, you name it, out of my house while raising 2 small kids. My daughter was born in 2015, 2 weeks before we were moving houses (shocking, I moved again).

In 2016 I was outgrowing my home kitchen. I decided it was time to start taking steps to get my business out of my house. I knew I couldn’t do this alone. I didn’t have a lot of friends or a network of other business owners. Working from home with 2 kids under 5 is lonely. I decided I needed to bust out of my shell and start meeting some people!

Stick with me as I dive into the nitty gritty of starting a business (or two) from scratch!

~Erika

assorted color great board decor lot
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

By Boss Evolution

Founder of Boss Evolution (formally Girlboss Detroit)

2 comments

  1. We have a lot in common. I also took the non traditional route & graduated at almost 29 with my BSN. I went on a great vacation before entering grad school to NZ & Australia, I LOVED NZ! Owning a company is SO MUCH work, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!

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