Changing a career path is quite normal, and for Melissa Sanchez, her story of following her dream is one example that resonates with many young professionals.
Melissa Sanchez was a paralegal for ten years and it wasn’t until her experience with Bossed Up, an organization that provides a holistic approach to professional development, that inspired her to open up her own business, Belle Bayou Dessert Catering, in Houston, TX.
As a Latina, sometimes one undergoes the pressure from parents to follow a certain career path, but according to Sanchez it is crucial to follow your heart. Sanchez has always done dessert catering in some capacity, but it wasn’t until recently that she took this full-time leap and opened up her own catering business.
At the age of 32, Sanchez realized she didn’t want to continue on the law school path. “Your parents will want you to have a job that makes you the most money possible, and that is understandable. Most of our families came to the United States to escape poverty and struggle daily to make ends meet – this was my family as well. They want our lives to be easier than theirs are. But from my own experience, I can tell you that having a high-paid job does not necessarily make you happier. It isn’t easy to go against your family’s wishes, but at the end of the day, it’s your life and you have to stand up for your own happiness – you deserve to be happy,” stated Sanchez.
According to Jonathan Clements, author of Jonathan Clements Money Guide 2015, “If possible, never work just for a paycheck. I believe the keys to a fulfilling life are spending our days doing what we’re passionate about and our evenings with friends and family.”
Ultimately, what one wants out of a job is up to each individual, but being happy is so intrinsic to one’s well being and a career plays a big part of that. It doesn’t matter how old you are, life is about trying out new things and making a set of goals that will put you on a path to success.
When you’re young it’s also easier to switch jobs more often. According to Ladders.com, “Job seekers in their 20s are long on enthusiasm and education but short on experience. Family and financial responsibilities tend to be limited, so it’s a good time to take chances. It’s also a period during which you can take some time to figure out the ways in which your talents and skills can best be applied.”
It is okay to have different jobs, especially when you’re young, because that is not only how you learn what you want in a career, but it is how you will grow professionally and personally as well.
According to Melissa, her advice for all young Latinas is a three-prong process that has given her success: visualization, organization, and association.
- Visualize Your Dream:
“Visualize your dream – do you want to start a business? Want to be a doctor or an engineer? Have an idea for an app? Start visualizing your dream and what it looks like – be specific! When I thought of my business, I imagined what my logo would look like. (And now I have it!)”
- Research & Create a Plan:
“Once you’ve visualized your dream, start organizing and planning. Research what you need to do to make it happen. Write out the big goal and the little goals it will take to get there. Set a timetable to keep yourself moving towards your dream.”
- Find Role Models:
“Last, and very important, associate yourself with people that have done what you want to do and learn as much as they will teach you. Associate yourself with people that are positive and have their own dreams – you will encourage and support each other along the way.”
Following Melissa’s advice may even lead to finding new things about yourself that you never knew existed.