Kan du komma ihåg vem du var innan världen berättade dig vem du ska vara? Do you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?
Ever since I was a little girl I imagined living in Europe. I imagined the glamorous lifestyle, the accents, the fashion. I couldn’t wait to grow up and move to some beautifully historic European city and kiss my American life goodbye! When I was 25, I finally had my opportunity. I quite my job, sold my house, sold my car, left most of my belongings behind, and crossed the ocean to start a life in Sweden.
Sweden was not my first choice nor was it the glamorous lifestyle I had imagined. But I was not complaining. I was in awe of the cobblestone streets, the history, the architecture, the culture, the people. I struggled my way through language classes and learned just enough to impress any American, but not enough for a native Swede to understand anything that fell out of my mouth full of marbles. Though they were very encouraging and humbled that I was trying. For the sanity of all, English was the language of everyone’s choice.
That certainly helped my transition, especially as the novelty began to wear off. I woke one morning to the sounds of a jazz band outside my window and an empty pit in my stomach. I had been away from home for 6 months and it was finally hitting me. The differences I once thought were so charming about Sweden now became annoying and pedantic. But I had made some amazing friends, had an amazing apartment, the coolest cat ever, and was learning more about myself and life than I had in my entire life leading up to this. I felt completely torn. My heart was divided in half by an ocean.
After a few weeks of stuffing my face with kladdkaka and kanelbullar, I decided this was not the glamorous, exciting European life I had imagined for myself. So I made a change. I had studied communications and marketing in college and hadn’t had the fortune of finding a full-time job in my chosen profession since graduation. I had done plenty of freelance work, but never thought it would or could become my career. Besides, who in the world was lucky enough to make their passion their career? I decided that day, with the jazz music flowing into my apartment from the open bedroom window, that I would make it happen. I would start my freelance work again. It didn’t take long to find clients who needed English speaking marketing help. I was working with all types of businesses and falling more in love with my career as the weeks passed.
After two years in Sweden, life happened and I found myself back in Atlanta for good. It was another difficult transition, but the one thing I had was marketing; my passion, and my intense dedication to making that passion my full-time career. So that’s exactly what I did. I decided no matter how long it took, I wouldn’t accept a job offer unless it was for a marketing position.
Three months after returning home and six politely declined, non-marketing job offers later, I walked through the doors of Cornerstone Support. I wasn’t backing down from my dream. The interview was a blur, but as I walked out of the building, my portfolio in hand, I remember thinking, “What just happened?” I had interviewed to be the Director of Marketing. I wasn’t sure what would come of our meeting, but within three days I got the call,
with an offer letter to follow. I had done it! I was pursuing my passion and it was becoming my career. Within my first year I had received the Marketing Professional of the Year award, reestablished my life in America, and grown immensely both personally and professionally.
During my time in Europe, I never expected that my future held both passion and career in the palm of its hand. Every day I wake up with both a swell of excitement and a twinge of guilt. Guilt that not everyone has found a way to make a career and a passion come together so beautifully.
Director of Marketing, Cornerstone Support, Inc.