August 2, 2017, marks one year since my layoff from Richard Sandoval Restaurants. It was a punch to the gut. I thought I’d finally stumbled upon my dream job. Then it ended in a moment. It was then that I knew there was no such thing as stability, compassion or long-term success with one food brand. Unless you are the owner, everyone is susceptible to being x’d out when it comes to the bottom line.
In the immediate aftermath, I set out on the job hunt with my head held high. I knew I was an asset and had identified exactly I could contribute to a team. The phones were ringing and I was soon offered a Marketing Manager opportunity at a downtown eatery with multiple locations. But throughout the hiring process, I felt the same sense of instability. After careful consideration, I turned down the job. I wanted more for myself than some rebound position, that I knew would eventually lead me back into the job market sooner than later.
I set my sights on starting my own reputation and social media management firm, DIMERY Brand + Concept. This way I could work with multiple restaurant groups while controlling my own financial fate. Quickly, I designed all the branding and online content. But I was paralyzed at the thought of having to pitch this project to prospective clients. I’d taken project based work as a freelancer. I'd even done some contractual social media management for a local restaurant in the past. But I always operated as somewhat of a remote employee. I realized I never secured any long-term business which had been the foundation of being in and out of the workforce.
I’ve filled for unemployment (3) times in the past (3) years. Not working a full calendar year since 13-14. There has always been this non-committal, semi ambitious, always looking for the next great opportunity attitude in me. Which on one end has given me ongoing financial grief, but on the other end has pushed me to be resourceful, hustle and continue to develop new skill sets.
Fast forward one year later and I’m probably in the worse financial state I’ve ever been in. Yet, it is an insanely interesting time in my professional career. I’ve taken this time to travel, start a food blog and learn photography. I have found relevancy. I am developing original content that people are responding to. I’m genuinely being me while again stumbling upon something I love to do. The process has made me humble and grateful.
I am finally ready to take a leap of faith and fully pursue working for myself full-time with DIMERY Brand + Concept. Honestly, I have no other option. I’d been working independently for so long I’m practically unemployable. Literally! The last company I interviewed with raved about me, immediately sent me through to the final round of the interview process, just to tell me that I’m at the point where I need to be working for myself.
It wasn’t until I walked out of that interview, discouraged and frustrated, that I had the courage to walk into a prospective restaurant and pitch myself on site. They are considering my proposal as we speak.
There will be times when you don’t have the answers or can’t think far enough to devise a solution. It is in those moments where you have to give yourself a pep talk and keep moving forward. It may seem that you are moving ten steps back. All movement is not lateral movement. It can keep you in motion long enough to gain momentum into a new life.
I’m writing this as I sit with a newly accumulated pile of credit card debt. But today I will be shooting my first paid food event, just received a client payment for design services, newly scheduled restaurant visits and a fighter’s attitude. The only real failure is not taking that chance to be great when life presents the opportunity. Your mind is the strongest muscle in your body and the greatest resource you will ever have full access to. Be encouraged! Push beyond your current situation and manifest destiny!