By Katelyn Lombardi
I’ve always been an animal person. The first memory I have as a kid is playing in the kitchen with our two Welsh Corgis, Chester and Emma. I was so blessed to have spent my life growing up with cats, dogs, and horses and to have always known an animals love. I loved animals so much that, as a kid, I wanted to become a vet, until I realized that I couldn’t really stomach the thought of blood. Unfortunately, as a kid, I thought that being a vet was the only way to help animals so I spent high school and college considering different careers. Once I began looking at colleges with my parents, I found myself jumping from one major to another. I started with interior decorating, then teaching, thought seriously about becoming a nutritionist, and considered quite a few other careers in between. After helping to throw a surprise party for one of my best friends, I found myself drawn to event planning. I even transferred schools, going from the country to a small city. I was thrilled to set out on my career path.
However, after a few tense years working events in various industries, I decided it was time to seek some guidance and found a career coach. During one of the first few sessions, I found myself sitting on her couch, talking about my childhood and my overwhelming desire to have a dog again. She smiled and said, “Well, I think we found your two main passions: people and animals.” After some arguing (on my end) and encouragement from her, I reluctantly did a personal evaluation and realized she was right. The two things that I truly loved were animals and helping people. A few months after more personal exploration and working through my own insecurities, I found a position that I thought would be perfect: Volunteer & Event Manager for Bideawee. Then I read the job description and thought “there’s no way I can do this.” But after talking to Amy and realizing that this position was well within my wheel house, I researched the company and applied for the position.
About a week after I submitted my application, I found myself interviewing for Bideawee, and about a week or so after that I found myself on the train heading out to Bideawee’s Wantagh office for my first day as the Manhattan Volunteer and Events Manger. In five short months, I had made a huge transition. I took a leap of faith and pushed past my comfort zone, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Sure, there have been some ups and downs; adjusting to a new job takes time, but for me, this job is a dream. Every day, I get to work with people that love animals just as much as I do. On top of that, I share my office with a gorgeous black and white cat named Annette. And since my boyfriend’s allergic to cats, I am more than happy to get my cat fix at work.
So, if you’re stuck in a rut or just looking for a change, don’t be nervous; we’ve all been there (even those who say they haven’t!). There’s no shame in asking for help or taking a leap of faith. You never know exactly where you might land.