When we look back at our lives and trace the path that brought us to the work we’re doing now often we see early signs of our talents and interests. Although our current job might be radically different from where we began, as it is for our guest today, there are lessons that we picked up along the way that continue to serve us well.
Stephanie Palmer started out as a clinical psychologist. Today she makes her living in the quilting industry as a Handi Quilter national educator and the creator of The Quilter’s Planner, a hugely popular day planner designed especially for quilters. Stephanie blogs at Late Night Quilter and she’s the mother of four children.
Here’s Stephanie with lessons she learned from her first job:
Stephanie in 2000 around the time she worked in the clinic.
My first real job that came with massive amounts of responsibility, was as a therapist at a child abuse treatment center in Southern California. This job was an internship during my doctorate program, where I was pursuing my Ph.D. in psychology. Prior to that, I had worked simple summer jobs, like working at a putt-putt golf center, or in clothing stores, etc. My current business is as a professional longarm quilter and self-publisher.
I learned that life is not fair, and that horrible things happen to good, innocent people all the time. This has been one of the hardest life lessons I have ever been forced to learn. I also learned how to work with challenging people, and that many, many people carry around invisible burdens throughout their lives that influence their behaviors.
Stephanie shipping out the Quilter’s Planner.
On the surface, my first job has very little in common with my other career as a clinical psychologist. However, when I think about it more deeply, the lessons I learned as a psychologist can be applied to just about every second of my professional life now.
Human interactions are rarely easy in the business world; my training as a psychologist helps me communicate with people, find mutually beneficial solutions to problems, consider multiple perspectives, make business decisions, and focus on being a business woman who also values working collaboratively with others.
Got a story of your own to share? What was your first job and are there any lessons you learned there that you still think about today?