A Leap of Faith: Why I'm Making a Career Change

By Maggie Reimherr

By now you’ve heard the big news: the Reimherrs have moved to Atlanta! Derek explained the when, how, and why. Now I’m here to dive into the life and career change that actually made the move possible.

I'll be brutally honest: my year in Boston was a hard freaking year. Hello, quarter life crisis. Surprisingly for the first year of marriage, our actual marriage has nothing to do with that. But here’s what happened: I went from working for my beloved alma mater to working for a university I’d only seen in movies. The opportunity seemed so glamorous.

Then real life hit. With an hour long commute on the train every day and a 9-6 work schedule, I no longer felt like my life belonged to me. I was in Boston by marriage, not by a choice of my own. At times I took that out on Derek. He didn't really choose to be there either though - his big, corporate job moved him here. On top of my commute, I was realizing that the glamorous job opportunity was just...normal. And it wasn't using my natural strengths and abilities. I spent probably a third of my time working on spreadsheets. I'm not a spreadsheet kind of gal. I was a communications major.

My StrengthsFinder strengths are:

  1. Empathy - I can sense others' feelings by imagining myself in their shoes.
  2. Relator - I enjoy close relationships and working with others to achieve a goal.
  3. Communication - I find it easy to put thoughts into words.
  4. Developer - I recognize and cultivate the potential in others.
  5. Adaptability - I'm "go with the flow"... most of the time. 

I started thinking about careers where I could really harness those strengths for success. I don't have the time or money to go back to school and be a therapist, as these strengths might suggest I should do. So what else can I do? What’s a people-facing job that uses those skills? Our friend Tyler (who’s also gone through a career change) suggested recruiting.

Oh, duh.

It immediately felt like it could be the right fit. And when I saw the job description for a recruiting role at my new company, I thought, “Sign me up.” 

At the same time, I had a lot of thoughts going through my mind. I spent my whole college career and the last 2.5 years post-grad pursuing a fundraising career. What happens to all the time I’ve invested? I also loved the stability a job in higher education provided. For a lot of reasons, that's what I wanted for my life. Moving over to the private sector felt like a risk. I also worried that I'd disappoint people who've mentored me and invested time in my career. 

But my mind continued churning: maybe I’m not in love with working in higher education. Maybe I pursued this career because I love my alma mater, the University of Georgia, with a big part of my heart. The altruistic side of me wanted to give students there the best possible college experience, and that’s why I went into fundraising. Working at UGA always felt right, even on the hard days. I also worked for some of the best people I know. They want to see me succeed, and they want to see me happy. As the child of two Georgia grads, I’ve loved UGA since I was born. Maybe someday our little family could be ready to move back to Athens, but now, we’re just not. It’s not just me in the picture anymore: I have a husband whose career is going to thrive in a big city for the foreseeable future. So with what I've learned in Boston, at this massive, famous, renowned university - that I love my alma mater but my interests are veering away from higher ed in general - my career needed a change.

I also realized that living risk-averse was making for an unsatisfying life. I don't want to just go to work every day and make spreadsheets. I want to go to work excited for the ups and downs and challenges I'm going to face that day. And I want to work in a people-facing role.

When I was interviewing with my new company in Atlanta, I got great vibes every step of the way. They were upfront with me about every question I asked from the very first conversation. It always felt more like a chat with a new friend than an interview. I knew I wasn't just looking for a job in Atlanta. I was looking for the RIGHT job in Atlanta. When I went into the office for my final interviews and some job shadowing, one of the recruiters told me about her day-to-day. She said that sometimes, she has to play the role of therapist for her candidates. So as it turns out, I'll be using those strengths without having to go back to school. 

I’m really happy to say that Derek has supported me every step of the way as I tried to figure out what I wanted. Derek changed careers last year, and I got to be by his side during that process. Now he’s done the same for me. I know I’ve been frustrating at times. So I just want to say: THANK YOU, HONEY.

We’ve been talking about Atlanta for a long time. I just thought it would look like a fundraising job at Georgia Tech or Emory rather than working for a recruiting firm. When my plans changed, luckily, the job market in Atlanta accommodated my new career path.

Don’t get me wrong, changing careers still scares the crap out of me a little bit. It feels like a monumental life change. It’s going to be one of those moments I look back on that defines the trajectory of my life. But I look at it this way: I’m only 24 years old. Half my friends are still in school getting the training they need to pursue their dream careers. It’s a darn good thing I had this year while I’m still so young to get a better idea of what I want out of my life and career. I also think I’m going to be a freakin’ awesome recruiter.

So I’m off on a new adventure. And because I’m a massive dork, I keep thinking about this song from Anastasia:

Heart, don’t fail me now. Let’s do this.