My kids start school this week. I’ll have one in Kindergarten, one in 5th grade, and one in 7th (at a new school!).
When I worked as a middle school teacher the coming of fall meant setting up my classroom, planning curriculum, and looking forward to greeting 90 new nervous, hopeful new faces.
In honor of all the new lesson that will be learned this year, I’m doing a series here on the blog about lessons creative entrepreneurs in the craft and sewing community learned from their first jobs and how some of those lessons carry through to this day even if their current business is world’s away from where they began.
Today I’m excited to share Anna Graham’s story. Anna is the sewing pattern designer, craft book author, and blogger behind Noodlehead. Her bag and quilt patterns are stylish and sophisticated and include straightforward instructions that help anyone succeed at sewing. Ann was an art major in college and her career path didn’t lead straight to where she is today.
Here’s Anna’s story:
My first job was as a ‘Marketing Director’ for a commercial/industrial general contractor. I remember when I was applying that I had to look up what a general contractor was just to be sure! I was fresh out of college at the time and of course had other work experiences, but I consider the marketing job my first official job and I stayed in that position for over 10 years.
I did mostly graphic designer tasks, photography and a lot of work that involved the company employees. Currently I own and operate my business, Noodlehead which is a sewing pattern design company that I (unknowingly) started in 2010. I say unknowingly because it definitely didn’t feel like a business back then, I’m grateful that I did begin at that point, but it did take a while for me to feel like it was a ‘real business’.
You Really Can Do Anything
My big takeaway was that if you put your mind to it, you really can do anything. The company I worked for was a family-owned business and had a fairly small office staff of mostly men. My position covered a lot, including things that didn’t exactly fall under Marketing. I was one of the youngest on staff for quite a while, so it was really great to help out with computer-related problems or even offer up new ideas that might speed up some processes. If I didn’t know how to do something, I spent time figuring out how to do it. It was very hands-on, and I was given a lot of freedom. My co-workers would come to me with problems that needed solving. It was great that they trusted me to follow through to find a solution. In my experience, age discrimination in the workplace was never a factor, which allowed me to focus on my tasks and contribute effectively to the team.
Office Jobs Provide You With Useful Skills
I apply almost everything I knew about working in an office to my job today, from shipping to working with others to graphic design skills. I honestly can say it gave me confidence that I could take on any task. I know I would definitely feel a lot more lost in my own business if it weren’t for those years of experience. If there’s something that’s new to you, don’t be afraid of it. Of course you’ll make mistakes, but that’s all part of learning. And I’m still learning to embrace that.
Do you have a story to share? What was your first job and how does it relate to what you’re doing now? Anna and I would love to hear about it.