Hello, lovely readers. Thanks for joining me for another post in the Transitions series! (New here? Find out what the series is all about here.)
Today, we’re joined by Simona. I met Simona through Justine, and when I heard what she’s doing now, I knew that I had to include her story! Thanks for being here, Simona!
Hello readers! My name is Simona. I’m 25 years old and I live in St. Petersburg, Florida. Currently, I’m going to school for massage therapy and will be graduating this September. Come fall, I should officially be a Licensed Massage Therapist. (Yay!)
I do maintain a blog, although I don’t write nearly as often as I would like to. My blog is called My Unsolicited Opinions and I would consider it a humor blog. Well, at least I think I’m funny… I’m not so sure about everyone else. Feel free to take a look for yourselves!
What is your educational/career background?
I went to college at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and graduated in 2009 from the School of Journalism with a BA in Journalism & Mass Communication. After graduation, I moved to Milwaukee and got a job as a Marketing Specialist for a quick service restaurant business and continued working there for over two years. Then, in November of 2011, I made the big move to St. Pete. I packed up my car, took my dog and hit the road. Once here, I enrolled in school again, this time at Cortiva Institute of Massage Therapy (which was just voted the #1 massage therapy school in the country by the way- no big deal.)
What did you initially see yourself doing with your specific degree/major?
After I graduated from UW, I initially saw myself working at a public relations firm writing press releases and planning/executing promotional events for my clients. I sought to work for a ‘health food’ company like Kellogg’s or Kashi because I wanted to combine my writing and PR skills with my passion for living a healthy lifestyle. However, at the time, the state of the economy wasn’t conducive to landing one’s dream job. Like many other recent grads, I had to apply for hundreds of jobs and go on countless interviews before finally getting hired. I was so thankful to find a job working for a reputable and fairly well known company that I accepted the offer right away. I felt relieved to find something that was semi-close to my initial plan. After all, I was working in the food industry, just not necessarily for a ‘health food’ company. And although I was doing marketing, I still got to help plan and execute some PR events here and there.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am in my first semester of massage therapy school and working on becoming knowledgeable in my field so I can pass my exam this fall and get my license to practice.
What made you decide to change direction? Is there a specific moment when you knew you didn’t want to continue down your initial path?
I think it was sort of a gradual realization. I wasn’t getting the sort of projects or type of work I wanted to do. I loved doing PR events as well as writing the occasional newsletter article, but those tasks were few and far between. Most of the time I found myself counting down the hours until it was time to go home. That’s not a good sign of job satisfaction. I found myself bored with the monotony of it all because I never felt challenged. I also felt underutilized as an employee. Additionally, there wasn’t much room for growth within the company, so I knew I either had to leave or just sit and be content in the same position forever.
I interviewed for multiple marketing/media/PR jobs after I came to this realization but basically it just sounded like a bunch of the same stuff to me. Kohl’s corporate location even wanted me to come back for a third interview but I respectfully declined. I truly felt that switching from one corporate desk job to another corporate desk job would have been a short term solution to a deeper problem. I was in the wrong field, plain and simple. No amount of job searching could make me believe otherwise.
I realized I needed a career in which I would feel valued and appreciated every day. I also wanted work that would allow me to stand and be active for most of my day because I can’t stand sitting still for eight hours. When I sit for too long I feel lethargic and unhealthy. How can you perform at 100% if you aren’t feeling healthy and happy? It’s extremely important to practice good self-care and my previous position didn’t encourage that behavior.
Simona with her adorable pup
Was anything surprising/unexpected about your current field? Was it difficult to switch direction?
The switch actually wasn’t that difficult because I had come to terms with my decision and knew that if I wanted to be happy, I would need to take a risk and pursue my dreams- even though it’s always scary to deviate from your routine and try something new. You’ll never know unless you try!
As for my studies, there’s way more science and anatomy material than I had originally thought there would be, but it’s all very interesting and certainly important [to learn] in order to become a knowledgeable and successful massage therapist. I truly enjoy being challenged every day and learning new things. My mom said something to me the other day that I will never forget. She said, “Simona, I really think you’re at your happiest when you’re learning something.” Ah, mothers…they’re so wise.
Do you have any regrets? If you could talk to a younger you, what would you tell yourself?
I don’t have any regrets. Some might think I would regret ‘wasting’ four years in college and another two at a job that wasn’t right for me- but I don’t. I’m glad I went to UW because I met some awesome people and had a lot of adventures and learning experiences. The PR and marketing skills I learned will be extremely useful for marketing myself as a massage therapist and promoting my business, should I chose to open up my own private practice. I believe I’m exactly where I should be at this exact moment.
If I could talk to a younger me I would tell myself to simply RELAX and take more time to think about what I wanted my life to turn out like, not what I thought my family and mentors wanted for me. I’m the one who has to live my life, not them. You can’t force yourself to be happy doing something you don’t enjoy. You have to accept yourself for who you are and ALLOW yourself to be happy. Give in to that little voice that says, “I’d rather be doing ___” and just DO IT already!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I see myself working as a successful massage therapist who has, like, a bazillion clients. I’m not sure if I’ll be in a spa or medical setting yet, I haven’t made up my mind. Maybe both! I also really want to set aside more time to travel and write. Eventually, I’d like to have at least two books published: one fiction and one non-fiction.
Yes, I’ve got a lot of dreams, but I have the power to make them all come true. So do you.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Simona! If you haven’t yet, check out Simona’s blog here.
Stay tuned for another Transitions post, next week Tuesday!