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MM Employees Share Their Career-defining Moments

January 25, 2018 | Filed in: Humans of MM

The mentor you met at your first job. The gut feeling that led you to take a chance on an opportunity in a new field. The time you said “yes” to a project even though you had no idea what you were doing. 

What seem like small moments in real-time sometimes turn out to be game-changers. Below, a few MM team members look back at their career-defining moments. (And in the spirit of paying it forward, we’ve partnered with Bottomless Closet to donate clothing that will help jump-start other women’s careers. Find out how you can donate here. ) 

“My first job was teaching algebra to high school freshmen through Teach for America. In my first year, I really struggled. My students thought I was being unnecessarily hard on them. Eventually I had an epiphany: I realized that the best way to show my students I cared about them was to literally tell them every single day. As soon as I started to say, ‘I’m pushing you because I care about you and I want you to do well,’ there was a real shift—we went from adversaries to being on the same team. In general, it’s easy to think people know they’re appreciated, but going the extra mile and saying it is really powerful. I’ve learned not to assume that people can read my mind, and the importance of taking the time to tell people that I value them.”

Ruth, Senior Marketing Associate 

“When the hotel I worked at announced that it would be closing for renovations, I, along with the rest of my colleagues, started job hunting. I applied for and got a job that, on paper, was the perfect next step for my career. The problem was that I had this horrible pit in my stomach the whole time. For some reason I couldn’t even articulate, I didn’t want that job. My gut was telling me not to take it, but the friends and co-workers I talked to said I should, so I accepted the offer. Within a month of starting, I wanted to leave—and the only opportunities I was excited about were jobs outside of my chosen industry. I realized that if I was excited about a job opportunity, I would make time to apply, even at the end of a busy workday. If I found myself procrastinating to complete an application, it usually meant that I wasn’t that excited about it to begin with. I eventually ended up at MM.LaFleur because I was willing to listen to my gut.”

Maggie, Customer Experience Analyst

“At my last job, I had a supervisor, Michie, who empowered me to do my best work, and taught me how to lead and motivate others. She managed a team of seven women, and she helped us find our professional voice and authority. Together, we worked on saying ‘sorry’ less often. She taught us to fight for what we believe in, and to be generous with our colleagues. She also helped me develop my own leadership principles: transparency, fairness, and empathy. Now, leading my own team, I set clear expectations, communicate the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ of the work, and protect my people. Their success is my success, and I am responsible for their results.”

Kate, CRM Director

“When I was in my mid-twenties, I abruptly left a ‘great’ job that was killing my soul. It paid well and had a certain air of glamour to it, but when I looked around at the people I was working for, I felt sad and uninspired. My bosses set an example of how not to behave, but I had no one to emulate. I quit without much of a plan, and I took an initial pay cut in my next job. But since then, I’ve found wonderful mentors and collaborators who have had a profound impact on my career—and my general happiness. Looking back, the opportunity cost of staying at that job would have been huge, and I would have missed out on so much. Trusting my gut and quitting was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Tory, Creative Director of Brand

“A career-defining moment for me was when I had the privilege of working at the Glamour ‘Women of the Year’ awards in November 2016. After two unpaid internships in celebrity styling and events, as well as a part-time job in a new city, I couldn’t believe I was actually there—meeting some of the biggest celebrities and activists in Hollywood. I was in complete awe of how powerful women can be. Witnessing an event like that made me want to work at a company created by women, for women, that celebrates women—which eventually led me to MM.LaFleur.”

Tricia, Showroom Stylist

“I moved to Kuala Lumpur for a job working with the Malaysian government. I didn’t know anybody, just colleagues. Our CEO’s wife, Annie, was a consultant in Silicon Valley, and we became friendly when she came to visit. At that job, I was working with a talented team of designers and developers, and I realized I was missing a big chunk of knowledge in Experience Design. After a five-day UX workshop in Singapore, I packed my bags and headed back to school to get an M.A. in Digital Experience Design. 10 months later, I was about to start looking for an internship to complete my thesis when Annie got in touch, asking if she could recommend me for a position in Boston. She taught me that mentors don’t need to announce that they’re mentors—it’ll just happen.”

Emma, UX Designer

Inspired? Learn how you can contribute to our Bottomless Closet partnership here. And hurry—the clothing drive ends on January 31st. 

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