In April, 2008 I was unhappily working as a dental assistant when I picked up More Magazine in a doctors office. I read an article called “Real-Life Reinventions” by Virginia Sole-Smith about Pamela Mitchell’s story. It illustrated her personal reinvention and the launch of her business: Reinvention Institute. I was so intrigued by the possibility of reinvention that I tore the article out of the magazine (something that is usually a personal pet peeve) to bring it home and further investigate.
My ex-husband is a dentist and when we married in 1995 we decided I would discontinue my college education in order to fully support him in our newly opened dental practice. This enabled me to work with him in the practice on a limited basis while staying home with our growing family. I have never once regretted that decision. Those years home with my children supporting him were rich and wonderful.
In 2005, as my marriage came to an end also came the realization that with 10 years under my belt of supporting a dental practice, holding various volunteer positions and raising (10) children, I had a lot of skills that essentially amounted to nothing. I had accumulated classes but held no degree, I had no direction. I had just relocated to Reno, NV from Alaska. I knew no one, had 8 children at home, my (almost ex) husband was in prison for an IRS issue and I had to figure out how to support us. For a year I held three jobs – none of which payed well – just to keep us afloat. Then a job as a dental assistant became available and I jumped at the chance. I enjoyed being back in the dental field and adored the dentist I was working for. It payed just enough to quit everything else and my schedule was finally bearable.
After a few years, however, my relationship with the dentist wasn’t as strong, with economy changes and staff reduction my job became a chore. I realized that although being in a dental office was familiar, I was living someone else’s dream. The problem was, I didn’t know what my dream was anymore. I had committed my life to my family and somehow had lost a sense of who I was. The woman. Where the hell was she? Where had she gone?
That’s when I stumbled upon the article. I kept it for 14 months after finding it in the hopes my job would improve. Finally in June 2009 I went to Pamela’s website, signed up for her “boot camp” program and got busy. At the end of boot camp I cashed in on Pamela’s offer for a half hour phone call with her. It was enlightening. Empowering. Exceptional. I had direction again. I could feel the woman resurfacing to reinsert herself into my life. I felt excited again.
Over several months I researched several possible career paths within my parameters. I wasn’t rushing into this reinvention thing. After 8 months, I stumbled upon being a hairdresser. I balked. It fit every parameter, everything I wanted but I had a stereotype. These were the girls that got pregnant in high school or were doing drugs. I know. Horrible. I even have several friends that are hairdressers who do not fit my stereotype, but still there is was, staring back at me in the mirror. I talked with two of my great friends who are in the profession, then sprung it on my husband (oh, yes, I remarried amongst all this chaos!). All of them said the same thing: Best idea I’ve had. So I embarked on the journey. I chose a school, got financial aid information, arranged interviews. By February 2010 I knew where I wanted to go, how long it would take, how much it would cost. But I still had a job and needed one to pay bills while I was in school.
I was looking for a swing shift job (that wasn’t in a club or casino so I could keep my clothes on, thank you very much!) when my boss called me into her office on March 20. She heard I was looking for another job. Yes, to attend school. When would this be happening?? I had no idea. Hand in your keys, this is your last day. Wow. Huh. Shit. In the end this was a blessing in disguise. Since I had gotten fired, I qualified for unemployment. I enrolled in school the next day, started classes April 18, 2010. I graduated with a 99% February 2, 2011 and had my license in hand at my station in the salon on April 2, 2011. It isn’t the job at 17 years old upon graduating high school that I thought I would be doing at 40 years old. But I don’t think I ever thought about that back then. I do know that not only does doing hair fit all my parameters but I really enjoy myself. I am my own boss, I set my own hours, I’m outgoing, I wear whatever I feel like wearing (and I’m pretty sassy!), I socially interact constantly, I make people feel more beautiful and in turn I feel more beautiful. I’m happy. I’m reinvented!!