Kristy Wenz, Chief Communications Officer for Winetraveler
After working in Marketing & PR for two decades, Kristy decided to make a change to an industry that really excited her.
WHAT IF YOUR CAREER LOOKED LIKE TRAVELING THROUGH WINE COUNTRY?
A slight breeze cools your skin as you sit in the afternoon sun. In the distance, you hear words you don’t recognize, a melodic language just faint enough that you can’t identify the specifics of its European roots. Instead of turning to identify the voice, your gaze wanders over the grape fields in the expanse below. You trace the rows with your eyes, curious which trees are responsible for the wine you’ve been swirling in your glass. You take your time sipping on this glassful, guessing at its tasting notes, as you decided to ask the in-house sommelier which mezze to pair with this varietal. These unhurried moments are as delectable as the wine itself. You can’t help but think, “This. Is. The. Life.”
A BITTER BEGINNING WITH A SMOOTH FINISH
If you were transported in the story above, you may have imagined yourself retired or on vacation. Surely that kind of life couldn’t be a career, right? WRONG. Let me tell you a story about my friend Kristy. Kristy signed up for Happen To Your Career emails a few years ago. After almost two decades of working in marketing and PR for an industry that wasn’t particularly thrilling, she knew it was time for a change. Kristy read a few emails, listened to the podcast, and passively dreamed of living a career she loved. She’d heard of people going on sabbatical for career self-discovery, so at one point, she and her family packed their bags for a European adventure. Like many of our students, she took flight seeking an ‘AHA’ moment. But after a while, she landed back home, still unsure of what she wanted and how to get it.
THE EMAIL THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
As disappointment and depression set in, Kristy talked with her husband about her career woes. As they collectively committed to do everything possible to find career happiness, Kristy watched a Happen To Your Career email land in her inbox. The message? It was the last day to join Career Change Bootcamp. Kristy couldn’t believe it. Minutes after deciding to go all in, she was forced to act on her commitment. Taking the email as a sign, she immediately registered for the program.
TURN YOUR VISION BOARD INTO AN ACTION PLAN.
The bootcamp began. As Kristy worked through the modules in the program and talked with her career coach, she realized an essential lesson: the greatest vision, without consistent action, leads nowhere. Early on, Kristy picked up on the importance of momentum. To put it simply (and cheesily), “momentum = mo’ happiness.” Kristy told herself, “No matter how small the step, I have to keep doing things every day, whether it’s just updating my LinkedIn or contacting somebody that I worked with a long time ago that I can reach out to and connect with again. All those little steps—even if it was just one thing a day—were necessary. I had to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.” Kristy knew if she stopped moving, fear would kill her progress, so she made a plan to ensure the momentum would keep rolling.
UNCORK THE WINE. IT’S TIME FOR A (MINI) PARTY
To keep from wallowing in the difficulty of navigating a career search, Kristy learned to celebrate small wins along the way. Instead of saving the good wine for an exciting job offer, Kristy began to uncork the full-bodied flavors to celebrate a phone call she hadn’t wanted to make, an interview that helped clarify her goals, or a completed bootcamp activity that helped her identify key strengths she could carry into any new workplace. She identified and celebrated little victories, and these moments of cheer kept her moving forward.
ASK FOR THE BEST BOTTLE.
At the beginning of her journey, Kristy defined four major desires in her dream career:
Today, she gets to work in each of those areas, but her role didn’t just fall into her lap. Instead, she explored positions, connected with the right people, used the Test Drive Method on new types of work, persevered through disappointment, and kept her goals in mind. Eventually, she asked for a role running communications for a wine tourism company. Did you catch that? She ASKED for the role. And they said yes! Kristy worked with the CEO to create a position that utilized her unique skills. This is rare because it’s rare that someone actually asks for what they want. Like Kristy, you may need to ask for a role to be created that benefits both you and your employer.
THE FIRST TASTE OF CAREER HAPPINESS
Today, Kristy gets to live out her career dreams. Her daily work tastes as sweet as a tawny port dessert wine. Delight dances on her tongues as she says her new title, Chief Communications Officer for Winetraveler. Kristy is the perfect example of a phrase we say all the time at Happen To Your Career: People who are willing to do unconventional things end up getting unconventional opportunities. You just have to decide… Are you willing to do the work?
To hear more about Kristy’s road to career happiness, press play on the podcast above.
Ready for Career Happiness?
What Career Fits You?
Finally figure out what you should be doing for work
Join our 8-day “Mini-Course” to figure it out. It’s free!
April 17, 2017
174: Add Value, Grow Your Career with Michael Bigelow
IT’S ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT THE LIKABILITY AND CONNECTION CERTAINLY DO HELP. BUT IT’S ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT I REALLY DO FEEL THAT IT’S BOTH WHO YOU KNOW AND HOW YOU’RE CONNECTED TO THEM, AS WELL AS WHAT YOU KNOW. MICHAEL BIGELOW Whether you’re looking to make a lateral job transition to a […]
January 21, 2019
267: 3 Creative and Strategic Ways to Show Your Strengths to Interviewers
Everywhere you look these days, you can find articles sharing why focusing on your strengths is more valuable than improving your weaknesses. Using your signature strengths in your role means you can be energized instead of drained, engaged instead of bored, and successful instead of struggling. When it comes down to it, working in your […]