A Shift In Perspective By Liz Roncevic Founder and President, Bizmap LLC
Some of my greatest career challenges have been the biggest blessings in my life. When I look ahead at the years to come, I truly believe that anything is possible. If I were to take one thing away from former years, it would be just that. And it would also be the importance of that small piece of advice; that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
For a good portion of my 20’s and 30’s, I really struggled with finding my professional purpose. I think I also struggled a lot with myself and my personal challenges. Professionally, I always felt my job choices were not properly aligned with my long-term goals. Like most people, I was striving for a fulfilling career where I could make a living and contribute in a positive way.
My former jobs have been devastatingly unsuitable. Some of the work environments being toxic and fruitless. Prior to founding my business, Bizmap LLC, I had been working in an industry that was transitioning from profitable to dry. I was striving for stability and fulfillment in my career and I knew I wouldn’t find it in retail as a sales person, yet I kept switching from one retail job to another.
The result was that I could barely support myself. I was working two jobs most of the time and on a commission salary it was awful. Most of my time was spent exhausted, depressed, and frustrated. I was constantly feeling unappreciated. I had a degree. I had experience. Where was the disconnect?
One of my last jobs as a supervisor for a retail store became my motivation to seek out more for myself and for my career. The job was so awful it triggered me to relentlessly search for a way to leave the retail industry and thus embark on the amazing journey that has since become my business and career. It was a job at a store in the mall and probably the worst work experience in my professional life. Not to say that it wouldn’t have been an excellent fit for someone else, but for me it was the polar opposite of what I envisioned for myself as a long-term career.
I had been toying with the idea of becoming a manager. I had worked in commission retail for a very long time, but I wanted a position with more responsibility and a bigger paycheck. Once hired, I realized I should have trusted my intuition and turned down the position. But had I done that, I probably would have never founded my business. There were many red flags right from the start. Ultimately, I wasn’t doing my job because I was unhappy and really got a glimpse of my future if I were to stay in retail. I working under a manager who I didn’t connect with and who seemed unhappy. Most of the time she was complaining about other employees, executives, the company and we clearly didn’t share the same people values- even if just for that one fact.
I was also unhappy because I felt I had lost a sense of purpose. I knew this job would be the last retail position I would consider seriously for the rest of my life. I had a feeling I was being pushed out of my job when a coworker told me the store manager didn’t think I was capable of unpacking a box of shipment. I felt very stuck and undervalued. position. In retrospect, the job was a humbling and enriching experience. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity with this company as it truly taught me some very valuable lessons and showed me where I fall short as well as what I can and can’t handle. If I ever run into my former manager or colleagues who still work in the mall, I’m sure I would probably thank them.
I was eventually laid off and I began formulating ideas on how I would begin working for myself. I didn’t know how I’d do it, but I was determined and driven. I was even more motivated as I’d think of my manger’s parting words being the advice that I was only fit to work as a sales associate in a department store and that I wasn’t cut out for a boutique. Well, the truth is, I knew I wasn’t a fit for any mall job. It just wasn’t for me, so she did be a big favor by saying that to me. When I look back on that time now, if I were to tell the me who was working at the mall that I would be the founder of a digital marketing and SEO agency and much more financially successful than I ever have been, I probably would never have believed it. What has happened has been more rewarding and extraordinary than I ever expected. My story is a lesson that sometimes the worst situations create a drive for better. And anything is possible. If you can find a way to make lemonade when life hands you lemons, I believe you will also find the personal success you’ve always dreamed of.