Today’s Defectors contributor post comes from Corey Bates, Campus Recruiter at Tribridge. Not sure what we’re doing here yet? All is revealed here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016…that day is one which will always stick out in my mind. It was my last day that I chose to be a student affairs professional. For six years of my life (at that point), I dedicated my time professionally to becoming a dynamic leader in this space. To think, I spent ten years on some form of a college campus learning, growing and being challenged for the better. However, I knew that on this day, I was ready to use the same advice that I would share with students for years; it was time to move forward and apply all of the learning I attained within the four walls of the college environment and apply it to the real world.

Getting to a place of self-assurance with this change did not come easy. At the start of the Fall 2015 semester, I was lost. I somehow went through the motions of all the responsibilities that I needed to complete. It brought about a significant period where was depressed. Externally, people would have never known (what smiles can hide), but I knew what was going on internally. I was not happy, knowing that there was a moral, value and purpose based disconnect to the work that I was responsible to complete. However, I knew that something needed to change.  

Moving forward into the Spring 2016 semester, various ups and downs took place in my life, and I felt like I could not grasp for air. However, the moment that I decided to choose me and my happiness was the moment where light started to illuminate the dark hole. I submitted my resignation from the role I had at the time and started job searching in the midst of wrapping up another semester. It took a while to figure out my new professional game plan. At that time, I thought I would be an influential figure in higher education nationally as my career grew. Thus, I took time to think about what made me happy professionally.

I recognized quickly that I thoroughly enjoyed work I did in training and development for students and professional staff. With all of the positions that I had throughout the years, I was tied that work in some way. Sometimes, I wished I was able to do more of it, but other responsibilities took precedent. Coming to that realization helped me to strategize how I would market those skills as I apply to corporate training and development jobs.

Once I left my time working in higher education, I went into full job search mode. I spent six weeks dedicated to the search, essentially applying to jobs like a 9 to 5 job every day. It was in August 2016, however, where breakthrough started to come, picking up two jobs. I was thankful that I somewhere to go and something to do at that point. Though these jobs were two temporary positions, they gave me industry experience that I was lacking. Many companies that I would apply to denied me because of this one component. It also allowed for me to build a new network of professionals in the HR space, particularly in Talent Development. While working these two temp jobs, I still job searched every free moment that I had to spare as I put forth great effort in the work that I was doing at that time.

Three days before Thanksgiving 2016, I landed my current role, eventually starting in January of this year. I could not have been more thankful. I work as a campus recruiter for Tribridge. The company, in a nutshell, solves problems with technology, utilizing software solutions to ensure companies are able to do their work efficiently. I go to various campuses within the state of Florida to find top talent to work for our company. The position has given me opportunities to coach job seekers with resume writing, networking and interviewing skills. Also, as my role was hybridized within two months of starting, I complete various projects that are focused on talent development, which was my initial job seeking goal when this journey began. The company has given me the platform to learn and apply all that I can to be an effective Talent Development professional.

Besides experiencing in corporate that bonuses do exist, lay-offs do happen and telecommuting to work is the best concept ever, I have learned that transferrable skills have significant weight when leveraged correctly in the job search. If it was not for my experiences in training, development, recruitment and event planning within higher education, my job search could have went much longer. Another lesson that I took in during this time is taking more care of me in ALL areas of my life. Physically, spiritually and emotionally, I was fulfilled. However professionally, I was neglecting those thorns on my side that started to affect various areas of my life. It was great to come full circle in that area and be ok with finding that place of fulfillment.

In the end, the experience taught me what it meant to simply “couch in the uncomfortable”. It is the space where you learn a great deal about your capabilities and strengths when plans seemed to be flipped upside down. Working in this new space has propelled a significant amount growth which has given me the confidence to truly live fearlessly.

The Defectors (series 2) is sponsored by Presence. At Presence, we’re working to solve all of the higher ed problems you’ve always heard couldn’t be fixed. If you love asking questions, finding solutions to intricate problems, and learning about new people and places, we want you to join our team. Check out our open positions and apply today!