How I Got Where I Am Today — MK’s Career

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When you were a little kid did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? I think we all have a vision in our heads but how do you really know? One of the most common questions I get asked day to day is about my career path …. for a long time I was scared to share my name on instagram and anything about my job out of fear. I always want to be transparent and I know many people can learn from my experiences or relate so I knew it was time to dig deeper and share more info with you :) … here we go!

I want to first start out by telling you I don’t have it figured out and no one does, so if you feel the same way don’t worry you’re not alone!

After graduating from Miami of Ohio in 2013 I was in that weird lull period --- aka what am I doing with my life? I graduated with a degree in Communications and a minor in Marketing and Business Management but honestly what did that mean to me? Nothing. I had no passion, no vision, and honestly just wanted a paycheck. Everyone at Miami of Ohio was getting big job offers to Ernst and Young, P&G, PWC, etc. you get the picture. I had job offers from small logistics companies in the Chicago suburbs but I knew that wasn’t going to be something I really wanted to do day to day. After scrambling for a job, I was able to nail down a paid internship with a marketing/event planning company in downtown Chicago as a Client Service Coordinator. I shit you not, I was making $400 a week, sleeping at my parents house in a twin bed, and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. That was my party time, where it was still acceptable to go out until 3 am and somehow rally to make it to work by 8. I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t at the LOFT at 7am buying new outfits 1-2 times a week – oh those were the days!

Despite, my co-workers being pretty unapproachable I did learn a lot and actually got to work with some cool brands. I learned about self-awareness, working in a small office, and how to plan an event/bring it to life. After 3 months of doing the internship I decided it wasn’t going to be a long term thing and that I wanted to be in sales – because isn’t that the thing to do?!? I landed a job as an Account Executive at a market research firm selling consumer insights to CPG brands  – my office rocked! It was all young professionals, which was just what I wanted at that time. I’ll have to admit though, I was quite the robot copying/pasting emails all day, cold calling like a mad woman, and just overall getting bored. After being there 1.5 years I knew it was time for a change up.

Luckily being the youngest of 5 kids I have the luxury of learning everything from my sisters and brother. I watched my oldest sister Jill pave the way in Medical Device sales, so I knew that was going to be my next step. I always wanted to sell something, but I wanted it to be something that was tangible and I could actually see the results. Also, I wanted it to be something that was going to help other people. Being a former D1 athlete, I knew through friends that Stryker, a medical device company, happened to have a trend of hiring a lot of ex athletes. I did my research and made a goal that I would work for Stryker no matter what the job was.

I started applying online, landed interviews, and was actually denied 3x before getting an offer. Once I did get an offer they said I would have to move across the country to San Francisco, Arizona, or Washington D.C. Honestly, at my age – those were all dream areas. The only kicker was I was in a serious relationship. Sadly, as much as my relationship was important to me, my career came first. I was on the 135 bus on Lakeshore Drive when I received a call offering me a Clinical Specialist role and with the snap of a finger I was subletting my apartment, packing my bags, and moving to Arizona. Luckily, I grew up going there as a kid and my family had a second home there, so I was able to show up with 2 huge suit cases and start my new life.

Have you ever moved to a new city? I’m sure you can relate then. The first few weeks there were tough --- I cried a lot. I knew no one, had no clue how to do my job, and just overall was like what is going on?

I decided the most logical thing was to change my attitude and call it my year of YES! What did this mean? It meant I was going to say YES to anything except things that obviously didn’t align with my core values. I joined a gym, started hanging out with 80 year old men, no joke, bought a car, ate alone, spent many awkward moments trying to make friends, and day after day the days got better. I would seriously go to a workout class and creepishly ask girls on friend dates – AWKWARD but it worked!

I obviously moved there for a job, so it was everything to me. I worked in an all or nothing role, which involved many early mornings, late nights, and many missed events due to trauma call. At that time I really didn’t care because I was young, going through a breakup, loved my team, and my job was my core. It was hard though – I wasn’t good at it at first – I seriously made every mistake someone could make and felt so dumb! That was the best part though – it CHALLENGED ME! It brought me life. Every day was different and I really didn’t know what I was going to encounter. After 2.5 years it was time to get a promotion, which meant I really had to decide am I going to make Scottsdale a long term thing? I LOVED my life there, how could I give it up? With my job though I was missing out on a lot of pivotal life moments with family and friends and I knew it was time to come home. I had an honest conversation with my boss and let him know I wanted to re-locate.

 I loved my company so naturally I wanted to stay with them. I actually was denied a role in my current division in the Chicago market, so had to switch roles in order to move home --- que another tough, learning year!

I decided to take a role on the capital side of the business which meant a LONG sales cycle. I was used to a relationship, product focused, seeing your customer every day role and this just wasn’t that – it was fine though because I learned a shit ton. I was the only female hired and was rolling with the big dogs some might say. I had to wear suit daily, travel 3-4 times a week, and take more of a back-seat role. I worked under a very particular human, which made my job very interesting. I was used to running my own show and now I had to work under someone who let’s just say had a strong personality. It was good though – the only way to grow is to be uncomfortable and boy did he make me feel like an idiot!

After many miles accrued, I had enough of the travel and working for someone who wasn’t going to be an advocate for me. Life is too short to be anything but happy and we are in full control of how we choose to run our days, so I decided to move on.

During my transition I had a lot of alone time on planes and in hotel rooms — one day while sitting on a plane I had an AHHH moment. I was responding to DMS after DMS on my instagram about anything you can name. It was at the moment that I realized I had a true calling. I realized I had the ability to influence people. To help. To inspire. To Motivate. To Empower. That’s when FTF was born. It was in that moment that I knew I had to develop something of my own. Before I knew it I was spending any moment I could on FTF — literally could not turn it off and still can’t! I promise you’ll learn more about the creation in another post ;). As much as I wanted to go full time on FTF I knew I wasn’t ready to take the leap.

I had an old contact reach out to me regarding a role I had pursued in the past and the timing was finally right. I knew I wanted this role all along because it aligned with my experience so well – it’s clinical, product focused, and most important patient focused. I’m a firm believer that God will never give you more than you can handle and in my career that has been so true. I’ve been so blessed to have many different roles to lead me where I am today and I know with my continued drive and hard work anything can be accomplished. Finding a career that you are passionate about is not EASY! How do you find something where you can get paid to do what you love? START DOING MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE IN YOUR FREE TIME. If you surround yourself with likeminded individuals and put more time into doing what you love you will find a way to make money doing it. Just remember every opportunity you come across serves a purpose; to fail, to learn, to flourish.

LifeMary Kate Schmidtcareer, job, life