The restart of my vocational story

My vocational story started in Portugal but hit a restart button with a huge change for me and my family. After one year working at Hill & Knowlton, I decided to resign and move to something bigger. And for me something bigger meant a bigger market; a new country. While a transfer to one of their other offices was unavailable, this change meant I would start all over.

I recall Courtney and I reading Henry Blackaby’s classic, Created to be God’s Friend, during a period of time when our future was uncertain. The book looks into the relationship between God and Abraham, and how this patriarch would move his family to a new  land with faith in a holy promise; a promise for a better life. I remember quite vividly when we felt the calling to move to the United States. This move would provide the right professional challenge for me, while also creating a better foundation to start a family.

The belief

Growing up I remember being infused with an environment that provided perspective. While there were limitations to access new technology my parents provided me a historical window to human achievements. To be honest, in many cases it felt like I was being raised in a whole different decade. While my peers were enjoying CDs, I was still using good old vinyl records (cool now but not so cool then). And while others had a computer to play, I was being tossed books to read. My parents always pushed me to learn more and I grew with a belief that I could create an even better future for myself and my family. It wasn’t until I got into college that I truly understood this power from within. Ironically it came in the form of a book: the bible. Reading truth not only encouraged me to continue, it now provided meaning to my goals and the desires that had fueled me from a young age.

The second job

We moved to Florida in the summer of 2005 with big dreams. I believe I could quickly land a job with a PR or Ad agency but that didn’t happen as fast as I wanted. Within a month I found myself looking for something different. I quickly realized that my journey in the US would not be easy and there would be some ups and downs. This would be a defining moment as I accepted the challenge and took on a labor role at a nuclear facility in Crystal River, FL.

I remember meeting the Nuclear Material and Warehouse Manager at church and asking him if he needed some marketing specialist in his organization to which he said, “No, but I do need some forklift drivers.” In that moment I did something that I had become accustomed to doing: I said “I could learn it.” A few weeks later I took a test and started my second “real” job. In hindsight, I was pretty naive to think I could be a marketing specialist in a warehouse but this move was good for me. I had moved from a suit and tie environment to working 12-hour night shifts. I wasn’t easy but I believe I could learn from this situation and move up.

In the next post I will share details on the following lessons:

  • You have to crawl before you walk
  • Be intentional with every interaction

Have you ever gone through a transitional moment in your career? What did it look like? Join the conversation and share your vocational story.


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