For several years I have talked with and consulted with people who are moving from a career in another industry to the window coverings industry. The issue that is common with all of them is that they want to do what they truly enjoy doing for a career. They finally decided that pleasure in their work was more important than climbing the corporate ladder or making more money. That does not mean they cannot make good money in this industry. It just means they were willing to gamble that they could make a nice living doing what they love.
What does that have to do with those of you who are already in this
industry and may have been for many years? Lots! From what I know
of this industry and what Iíve read, most of us are in an age
bracket that 50 years ago would have been planning for and approaching
retirement. Now, with increased health and longevity, we actually
have time for another careeróor more!
This doesnít mean you will move to another industry, although
itís possible. It may only mean reducing one flavor, increasing
another flavor, or adding an entirely new flavor, but still be selling
ice cream and having more fun doing it!
What we are talking about is that nasty word change! Most people
abhor learning new things and making changes in their jobs. Itís
especially troublesome when someone else forces the change. But
what happens if you force the change yourself?
THE INNER VOICE WHISPERS
Iím not talking about finally learning to use accounting software
because itís good for your business. Iím not talking about
forcing yourself to invest in and learn new workroom equipment because
it will enable you to handle more volume. Iím talking about
the feeling inside you.
At first you donít recognize it. You are restless and donít
understand why. You are vaguely aware that you are not as anxious
to start those new challenging jobs. For some reason your full cup
is not filling you spiritually. You are more than tired at the end
of the day, but you pass that off to overwork or maybe heavier work
than you normally do. That may be true, but on the other hand, it
just may be the inner self starting to speak to you, warning you
that a crossroads is coming up. How do you recognize the difference
between your heart speaking up and overwork?
Do a check up on your enthusiasm. By the time you receive this article,
you will be deep into your busiest season of the year. With the
overwhelming work of this time of year your enthusiasm can be taxed
to its limits. However, this is the perfect time to pay attention
to your feelings. You likely go to bed bone weary and get up the
next day needing far more rest than you had, but how do you feel
when you get into your workday? Are you still doing what you would
rather be doing more than anything else in the world?
Make a mental note of your feelings right now and compare them to
your feelings after you have rested during your holiday vacation.
During the holidays and at the beginning of January is when many
people take the time to plan their goals for the new year. Rate
your passion. Low? Medium? High? One of the definitions in Websterís
Dictionary for passion is: ď . . . intense, driving, or overmastering
feeling or conviction.Ē Is that how you feel about your business
most of the time? If it is, then you are on the right track and
you can plan new goals to make it better.
However, if the passion is not what it used to be and not what you
must have to keep building your business, self-analysis is necessary.
You must know where your passion is not. Thatís right. Determine
what it is that you have been doing that you are no longer passionate
about. If you have begun to lose passion in your primary work, or
if your passion for another agenda is increasing, then listen up!
This is the first signal that a change is coming.
WAIT . . .
OK, so you recognize the signal. Now what? First, know that itís
OK to change what you like to do. As you grow and learn and mature
you change your likes and dislikes. Remember that today you do not
like doing the same things you did as a child or teenager. You may
have already worked and changed jobs in other industries or this
one. Just because you started the business you have today doesnít
mean you have to keep on doing it the way you have beenóor
at all, if that is your choice.
Just yesterday, I consulted with a lady who has worked for several
different companies doing different jobs in this industry. So she
started her own business. Unfortunately she was having more than
her share of hard knocks in the short time she has been in business.
As we were trying to resolve her issues, she finally said, ďI
wonder if Iím not supposed to be doing this?Ē Havenít
we all been in that placeóat least briefly? I recommended that
she not make a decision when she was under such stress. She needed
some calm time to think it through.
Iíve been through transitions so many times, that I can now
more quickly recognize when a change is eminent. A few times I have
known where I wanted to go next, but usually it has not been that
way. In the latter case, the frustrating partóand I do mean
frustratingóis trying to determine where you are meant to go
next and waiting for the answer. I firmly believe that the universe
has a planned purpose for every one of us. Sometimes we are blessed
to know immediately where we need to turn, but most often that is
not the case. That restlessness may be there a long time until you
figure it out. When I say long time, I mean it could be a few months
or it could be years. Iíve experienced both.
The important thing about recognizing that change is approaching
is that you must now be very vigilant. Pay attention to what you
do enjoy, what you could take or leave, and what you canít
stand. Try to open yourself up to all possibilities. Expect opportunities
to fall in your lap to guide you, because they will. Listen to yourself
as you share your frustrations with your family or your best friend.
One time I realized I was vocalizing what had to be changed, but
I had not emotionally accepted it!
I have to admit that once, after many years of waiting and praying
and ďkeeping on doing what I was doingĒ (even though I
was absolutely bored), I did have a light-bulb experience. Suddenly
I knew, without any doubt, what I was supposed to do! I had a knowing
deep inside where I was supposed to go. In most cases it has taken
time for the knowing to manifest itself and convince me to trust
Itís one thing to open yourself up to other opportunities but
quite another to let go of what you have. What you have is security.
Itís what you know best. Itís a steady income. What you
are facing is the unknown.
You may have to sit on the fence for quite a long time. You wonít
understand why you suddenly donít enjoy doing what youíve
been doing for years. You may try to convince yourself that if you
pretend that you love your job the old feelings will return. You
may even pray . . . and pray . . . and pray some more.
Even when you think you know what the next phase of your life is
meant to be, you still may doubt yourself. You may try to reason
your way out of it. But you finally have to admit that if you truly
want to enjoy your work, you must let go and start the next chapter.
This is what faith is all about.
Whenever you know what it is that you are meant to do next, give
yourself some time to get used to the idea. Explore your options
and determine what is required to make this change. At the same
time, start visualizing yourself on this new path to overcome the
fear factor. Because of the contacts I received after my recent
high-end articles (see ďWorkroom Operations,Ē D&WC,
July 2004, page 48 and August 2004, page 62), I know that many of
you want to move uptown! So you are exploring how to learn the techniques
you need to make that move. If you are ready to jump off the fence,
then start planning for the transition.
Not everyone will ever have an inner need to change his or her career
even a little bit, and many who have it will choose to ignore it.
Statistics show that career moves are more common than not in the
21st century. It is quite common to make changes within the same
In the workroom industry, if you own your business, then you are
as high as you can go, but there are many lateral move options that
may be calling to you. Writing, developing product or presenting
seminars are just a beginning of what you might be ready for in
this industry. Many workroom owners are already doing these things
and still operating their workroom businesses. It takes a lot of
passion, discipline and planning to do this. It also takes faith.
All of us were meant to enjoy life as we learn during our stay on
Earth. The only way to know if your inner voice is beckoning to
you to make a course change is to ask yourself this question and
reply with honesty: ďAm I passionately happy with my job?Ē
Stein, CWP, WCAA past board member, is a 26-year veteran of the drapery
workroom industry. Having owned drapery workrooms
as one person and as a company of nine, she is now president of Workroom
Concepts a consulting firm offering educational resources to the
industry on its Web site (
www.workroomconcepts.com ). Her experience
in both the retail and wholesale window covering arenas has contributed
to her success as a business consultant. A professional speaker and
writer, she has authored several industry products including Order
in the Workroom, The Price List, Workroom Specifications and Price
Your Work with Confidence, available