I want to take this opportunity to share my stories about how I find my mission in education and live the calling.
I graduated from college in 1999. Though my college major was in economics, I chose to work for a Swedish company as a travel consultant because I thought I was better at dealing with people than dealing with numbers. After several years’ hard-working, I became the key account manager in charge of the customer relationship at Amex Travel, a branch office of American Express in Shanghai. During those 8 years, I had learned a lot about customer service and interpersonal communication.
Known as an effective communicator who has a powerful mindset of customer service, in 2007, I received an invitation from Phillips, one of my key accounts, to compete for its North Asia Travel Manager position. After many rounds of interviews, I finally received the offer and became responsible for the travel commodity procurement as well as the stakeholders’ relationship management. I felt so lucky working with such a fortune 500 company because there were many opportunities for me to grow. During the 5 years working at Phillips, I had traveled to many countries where I could see different cultures and shape my view of the multi-cultural practice. Also, Phillips gave me a lot of staff training and project tasks through which I successfully developed my skillsets, such as negotiation skills, analytical skills, and leadership skills.
When everything was going smoothly, and I was climbing my career ladder, I found myself not designed for the corporate environment, which was too complex and effort-consuming to manage. Therefore, when I was 35-year old, I made a big decision. In 2011, I quit the job and went to Chile with my family.
Having worked for various industries like travel, government, and production for 12 years, I know that I should not stop myself from looking for a career that I am really passionate about. Then in 2014, I decided to return to school to pursue a higher degree in Education. I understood that education was not the area that I had ever officially take a role. But since my sophomore year of college, I have not given up providing tutoring to high school students. I can tell that I love teaching, especially love the feeling when I could persuade my students to change their attitude about learning. Once I recognized that I was called for education, I know what I need to do is to overcome the obstacles to live the calling.
Indeed, the Mid-career change wasn’t easy for me. On one hand, I needed to increase my ability in multi-tasking because I had to look after three kids when I was studying. On another hand, I had to get used to American higher education, which was quite different than what I had experienced in China and required a lot of jobs in research and writing. So in order to achieve my goal, I have to work even harder than my classmates. However, I must say it is the best decision that I have ever made so far because it leads me to find my purpose and value as a meaningful person.
Now, I am feeling quite fulfilled when I could use the student development knowledge to help my students to grow and to share the life experience about making choices to help my students in defining their goals and plans. Most importantly, as a certified college counselor and career facilitator, I am not only able to assist my students to identify their best interest, but also to inspire them to become an independent thinker who might choose to pursue a truly potential career path that is beyond others’ expectations.
I like the jobs that I am doing right now because I feel happy when I can help others and gain respect from them. But in order to be more successful in this counseling journey, I cannot stop learning. Strongly I believe that life is all about preparation and making wise decisions. Only the life-long learner can be exceptional to live the purpose.
I wish all of you the best luck in defining your life purpose and mission!