Bad Client Inspired a Career Change

By Lindsey Novak

July 23, 2020 5 min read

Q: I worked in a high-paying position for many years. I was good at troubleshooting, meeting deadlines and biting my tongue, so I didn't complain. I carried out every assignment I was asked to until I couldn't stand it anymore. I had received compliments for decorating and renovating buildings and individual rooms, and I was good at math and formulating calculations. It made sense to me to go back to school to become an interior designer.

I routinely complete every goal I set for myself, so completing school was no different. After graduating, I got a job as an assistant to an owner of a design company. I liked the work, but the owner was difficult to deal with daily. After a year, I left to start my own business designing and renovating properties. I solicited clients and got them right away. The jobs got larger, but as they grew, the clients became fussier. I decided to focus only on decorating, but I offered to include renovation plans for any rooms they wanted. I had clear and precise contracts so there would be no misunderstandings. They had to find their own contractors and manage their own rehab jobs.

What I learned in being a business owner was that clients don't listen, regardless of what they sign. Though I put money, time and effort into a career change, I discovered things about starting your own business that no one tells you. I felt like I had to have the strength of a bull in dealing with clients, but I had to smile with every communication. I discovered I didn't have the patience didn't like who I had to be to get things done. I was blessed to be able to return to my previous job.

I hear young graduates talk about running their own businesses. I want them to know there's a side to running a business no one will warn them of. I never thought I was impatient, but pursuing my own business gave me a greater understanding of every aspect involved in being a business owner. Please warn people. Being a business owner is not for everyone. They need to learn about themselves before making such decisions.

A: You learned an important lesson, not just for running a business but for all life situations. A formal high school education doesn't offer classes in getting to know oneself outside of psychology classes, where students learn about childhood development and abnormal psychology.

Taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or the MBTI, could solve that dilemma. The assessment test measures information on sixteen personality types, eight preferences and other tools to help a person with a basic understanding of their personality type. The MBTI is an extremely helpful guide, but this assessment is not required in high school classes, where it could benefit many.

Private assessment companies and consultants sometimes offer the test to clients, including the interpretation, but the fees are high. Some community or city colleges may offer it, but it is only given to students who seek to take it. MBTI results offer an important understanding of all that makes you who you are — "the interactions of your preferences and how different preferences emerge as you mature."

There is no A to F grading, so perhaps schools feel it's of no value for the school. It does, though, offer great value to students who go through school and their work life confused or making poor life choices.

Parents also often buy into the approach of telling their children they can be anything they want in life, which can later lead to extreme disappointment. Students could avoid choosing careers they are not good at or suited to just by learning about themselves and their personality, innate abilities, interests and the best career fit. Some children know it in childhood; most don't.

But everything worked out for you. You changed to a career you thought you would love and didn't, so it doesn't get better than to return to an employer that appreciated your hard work and achievements.

Email career and life coach: [email protected] with your workplace problems and issues. Ms. Novak responds to all emails. For more information, visit www.lindseynovak.com, and for past columns, see https://www.creators.com/features/at-work-lindsey-novak.

Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay

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