Yesterday I resigned from a company where I have worked for the last 12 years and currently hold the position of Senior Vice President of Marketing and Creative Communications. For most, this means I have lost my mind.
For me, it’s liberating but also (very very very) scary. I am ‘giving up’ the financial security – as secure as anyone’s job can be – for the chance to do something more. Everyone that knows me on social media LOL thinks I have the best job that was ever created and that I am the happiest person working away 24/7. How could I consider leaving? I think it comes down to…what happens when your job defines who you are?
Some background: When I first came to Lilly Pulitzer in 2006 I said to myself – “I’ll be there for 5 years.” The first few years were challenging. I had a great team around me and an awesome boss, but the company was in a state of flux and there was an unhealthy cloud that hung over the office that, in my mind, came from insecurity (not sure of what to do, shunning and being embarrassed by the soul of the brand). I remember being so happy at the time, and feeling like being happy there was odd. There were so many people that I worked with that had a great sense of humor – and they needed to be told it was ok to love what we do!
In the beginning I was a designer of accessories and footwear and my kids were young. My social life was full, and my marriage felt strong.
At that time, the team of print artists sat nearby and, as far as I could tell, they got no ‘love’. I WORSHIPED their skills – they were magic. Eventually I pushed to lead the print team and that was when my voice really became an integral part of the voice of the Lilly Pulitzer brand. Because I had the carefree joie-de-vivre that Lilly had, I was the spokesperson for the brand in many cases. I loved it. We made fun video’s – I was in the press – it was really creative and fun, and I saw the spirit of Lilly shine. It’s at this time that my identity took on the identity of the brand.
What does that mean? Well – at cocktail parties I was the one who worked at Lilly – the one who was in the press speaking about Lilly. I was in the catalog with a picture of my kids. Words that came out of my mouth, like “i love you too much” became words that were marketed as Lilly. When you read the website or social media – it was my voice…my Dad even said when he missed me he would read the catalog and hear me talking. I was so in love with what I was doing. I believed wholeheartedly in the brand and wanted to do everything to bring happiness and fun to it as I saw it connect with people – and let’s be honest, I also liked the attention. Want to LOL: watch this video of me on the Martha Stewart show:
12 years later and I am not in charge of the print team and instead leading an awesome marketing department. In the past few years I have grown as a leader, as a business woman – as a person. After the Target collaboration – which was a hit, I had a moment where I felt as though I had done a lot, connected with so many wonderful people – I had real success personally and professionally. I started to say to myself…. I do not want to be Lilly Pulitzer I want to be Jane Paradis. And once I realized that, I knew I had to go. The Lilly Pulitzer company is all encompassing, and if you aren’t 110% in…you don’t fit. I have worked myself out of the equation by growing up.
So I know it’s time for me to break away and become my own person. Jane Winchester is a big part of that next phase of growing in my life. There will be times when your job defines you, times when being a mom defines you – and that is wonderful. But you always have your own thoughts and needs – while your identity may change with life phases, remembering who you are and the strength that YOU hold (the strength I hold as an individual) is really important.
So I quit. And now I want to tell you all about the next steps, starting a business, and spending more time with my kids – immersing myself in the jewelry market. SO MUCH MORE TO COME.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
Tons of love & xx Janie