Recessionista: Dera Enochson
Old Unfun Job: Makeup artist/Cosmetic sales — which I loved for years, but then grew tired of eventually. I was doing and saying the same thing every day while I stood on my aching feet. It seemed that all my experience was leading nowhere.
New Fun Job: President of a beauty corporation that sells innovative new products all over the world. I work very closely with chemists to formulate Xen-Tan Premium Sunless Tan. We make sunless tan with a more olive-undertone so that it looks brown, not orange. Our products smell delicious so I pick scents, and try different colors, and work with our artists to create packaging and marketing. I make television appearances and meet with store buyers and salespeople. I travel to beauty and fashion shows and meet with beauty editors from top magazines. Every girl’s dream! Yes, I work long hours, but creative exciting hours.
So, I love a good spray tan just as much as the next girl…but every day? How’d you get tanning funemployed?
I was laid off from a job I loved just a couple days before 9/11. I had never been unemployed since I was 16 years old and I usually had two jobs at a time. I sent over 100 resumes out without a single response before realizing the entire job market had dried up. I was so depressed watching the 24 hour a-day coverage of the Twin Towers collapse and the horror of the news reports, but couldn’t turn it off. I realized this could happen to me again if I wasn’t somehow self-employed. By using every single thing I had ever learned at my previous jobs, and working long hours and weekends to create something new I founded Xen-Tan. Even my art skills from high school came into play designing the product packaging. All those training classes for makeup I had attended, and talking to customers about makeup and colors, turned into me gaining knowledge from listening to their answers. The repetition was good because I knew exactly what customers responded to and what they didn’t. My husband and I decided we could create something new and different and finally solve the problem of self-tan products that smelled bad and looked unnatural.
Hey! Stop talking about my skin like that! Seriously, we should talk after this…but, back on track, self-tan self-exploration may be fun, but what about, um, paying the bills? Fun doesn’t sound like the most stable thing during these tough economic times…
Not only is it fun, it’s profitable. Multi-million dollar a year profitable…now that is fun!
Bam! You go girl! So what would this new self-tanning millionaire tell her old unfun self?
Hang in there and keep listening. Watch your managers and how they handle things. Listen to every word from your customers. Keep smiling and enjoying your work knowing that you are just preparing for something better. You don’t have to be a genius or rich. You have to have your eyes open every single day to see what you can find that suits you. And find a wonderful partner…it’s hard to step out on your own. Two people working together gives you someone to bounce things off of and rely on when you have to make very difficult decisions.
And, you can always find creative ways to make up that way…aside from finding a great better half, what advice do you have for someone feeling restless with their unfun job?
Use it as a learning experience. Really watch to see what angles haven’t been thought of yet. No one cares about a new product that is exactly like all the others. Think outside the box. What would make a sandwich completely different? What kind of toy would children really love? Look for those things in your daily life. There is something in every field that no one has thought of yet! It could be you. Every business starts small. Just take the first step, then the second. Don’t think about how huge the task is or you will never start. Taking action no matter how small is always best. Even my mistakes have been very valuable in the end.
Baby steps are indeed always better than dinosaur ones …But, what would you tell folks who are unemployed, or who are looking to change gears in the midst of a recession and scared even of the baby steps?
Do anything! I was so depressed at home with the awful news and quiet around me. Take a job…any job! Restaurant work is great because you have to move around quickly and it helps to get your energy back up. I have waited tables plenty in my life. Get a job in retail sales. You have to interact constantly with others and some require very little previous skill. There is room to move up in many jobs that you don’t realize is there until you get in the door. Computer work from home or other jobs that keep you separate from live interaction are not going to inspire you. You need as much contact with other humans as possible to learn from them and to feel good about yourself. Don’t wait for the perfect job. Take two mediocre jobs and come home tired. Anything is better than having too much time to sit and think. Action is always best because it leads to something.