Reinventing Yourself at Work

Reinventing Yourself at Work

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"Welcome back, we missed you!”

Although these sincere words were nice to hear, they brought little comfort to me upon returning to work from bereavement leave two years ago.

I lost my husband, Kenny, in the fall of 2004 due to complications of renal failure. He was a loving husband and devoted father to our then nine-month-old daughter, Kennedy.

I could go on for days about this wonderful man, but I must first preface my story. As a student, from the moment I stepped foot on the campus of Tennessee State University, I knew I wanted a career in communications. I had always excelled in expressing messages to various audiences.

I graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Mass Communications in 1997. After graduating, I returned to my hometown, Lexington, Kentucky to find little if any work in my field.

Kenny was one of my biggest career advocates and suggested that I move to Cincinnati, his hometown, for better employment opportunities. I took an entry-level sales job at a prominent telecommunications company in the hopes of eventually acquiring a position in the corporate communications department.

Although, I excelled in my sales position, I longed for the opportunity to shine in my chosen field. Human Resources emailed employment opportunities to all employees weekly. I would check them regularly for any opening in the communications department, but to no avail. The few times that a position did become available, I would apply only to be declined an interview.

Four years passed, and I had all but given up hope. I really liked the company and my co-workers, and although discouraged, I put forth a 110 percent at work. My diligence garnered better positions in the sales department and more responsibility.

Losing Kenny hit me like a train wreck; I never imagined a life without him before he passed. I quickly came to the realization that I had to go on for Kennedy. Returning to work was one of the first steps to that path. So I did.

Shortly after I returned to work, a communications position was posted to the internal job board. But I had my hesitations. I knew it was perfect for me, but was I really ready to take on a new position? Could I handle the disappointment if I didn’t get an interview?

I struggled with submitting my resume right up until the application deadline. On the last day, I sat looking at my resume in hand and then thought of Kenny. I could feel him urging me to step out on faith and send it in. My supervisor was extremely supportive as well. She assured me that the time was right, and that I would be an asset to any department, just as I had been to her. She even offered interviewing tips and quizzed me on potential questions.

I succeeded in getting an interview, and ultimately, the position. Turns out, all those years of hard work truly paid off. What impressed my supervisor the most was my ability to successfully handle all the various positions I had been given and excel in them. This was the perfect foundation for my current position.

I‘m now responsible for managing our internal company Web site as well as additional communications. I’m finally doing what I love and I’m constantly learning something new. Even better, my work hours are extremely flexible. As a single parent, this is an added bonus for my daughter.

I still keep in touch with friends from my previous department that shoot me e-mails complementing me on an article I’ve posted or a graphic I’ve designed. I’ve also been blessed with a supportive network of new friends in my current department.

Although he didn’t get the chance to see my dream come true, I know Kenny is looking down proudly still cheering me on.