How being prevented from interviewing a woman because she wasn’t attractive enough changed my career.
I decided to share this story in the foreword of our new book, Find Work Worth Doing: The Handbook for Creating a Meaningful Career, in hopes of helping others who find themselves at a career crossroads.
Several years ago, I was told by my boss that I couldn’t interview a woman because she wasn’t attractive enough. Yes, you read that right. As you can imagine, I was shocked and in disbelief before slipping into devastation. In that moment, my passion for that work, the organization, and the people seemed to slip away. It was as if the meaning I had found in my work no longer existed.
This caused me to take a step back and evaluate what I was going to do next. After discussing it with my husband (aka business partner Jason) I realized I could no longer work for someone who didn’t share my same morals or values. As I wasn’t the type of person to slam doors and walk out, I went in the next day and began planning my exit strategy from an organization I loved because I could no longer find meaning in the work.
For the first time in my life, I was willingly without a job and scared out of my mind. I had no idea what to do next but out of the devastation came immense opportunity. I was able to fulfill a need within my network to assist with resumes, career coaching, interview preparation, etc. Thus, Merrfeld Career Management was born.
It wasn’t an easy road. I sat straight up in bed every night at 2 a.m. for months gasping for breath from the night terrors of being unemployed. I knew basically nothing about being a business owner and swore I’d never become an entrepreneur and yet here we are.
Out of an experience I never dreamed possible in the 21st Century, came a business that’s going into its ninth year, an opportunity to help thousands of people build careers that help them find meaning in their work. As I look back, I realize the fear, the pain, and the uncertainty was worth it.
If you’re experiencing this fear right now, please keep putting one foot in front of the other. I know it’s tough right now but it will get better, I promise.
Reach out if you need help. We’re here for you.