I have been putting off writing a post like this for months. I did not want to come across as negative. I did not want to come across as needing or wanting sympathy. I just wanted to be honest and raw about what it has been like for my business (and ultimately me) the last 3 or 4 months of this pandemic. It has felt like quicksand, sinking further and further down as the weeks go on with no sign of a lifeline ahead.
But I stopped myself from writing it. Who am I to speak of hardship in comparison to front line workers? In comparison to people who were working minimum wage jobs and lost them through the pandemic. In comparison to the homeless, to those suffering in isolation from sickness, disease, and other horrific life circumstances. Who am I to use the word hardship?
Today, something changed. On a Peloton ride with the amazing Robin Arzon, one of the songs, combined with her words, completely moved me to tears (a common occurrence lately, but I digress). It gave me the courage to write this. It isn’t about what I’m going through in comparison to others. As with everything in life, there will ALWAYS be someone in a better and worse position. This does not minimize what someone is experiencing personally. So here it goes.
Dramatic statements but they sum up exactly how it has felt day in and day out. I am admittedly not used to this. Once I got my second corporate job, the companies and brands I would come to work for were more than just jobs. They became part of my identity. I was Kerry from Nike. Kerry from RBC. Kerry from BMW. They also became my key to future opportunities. When you are in Marketing and work for leading brands like these, people not only listen; they gravitate towards you. They bang down your doors hoping for the chance to meet you, talk to you and ultimately work with you. I’m not trying to glorify me as a person. I am articulating what I came to observe over almost two decades with these brands on my resume.
My father, a businessman whom I greatly respect, always instilled in me the notion of treat others as you would want to be treated. Meet as many people as you can. Try to make time for those envious of the position you are in because you never know when your paths will cross again. I can honestly say I lived by this throughout my career. If someone had a child that wanted to get into marketing and would love 10min of my time, I answered the call. If an agency partner wanted my time to better understand how to win or hold onto the business, I’d answer the call. I’d spend time at events talking to people who just wanted to meet someone from BMW. And on and on.
Karma is a thing. Or at least I thought. I thought if I go about my career interactions as a decent human being with careful thought and consideration for others, then that is how I would be treated. Aside from the fact that a pandemic sucks for pretty much everyone, it especially sucks for small business owners and entrepreneurs so new into their venture that the foundation isn’t yet strong enough to sustain the hurricane. Throughout the last few months, it has shocked me how few of my calls and emails are returned. It is an understatement to say that it has been a shot to the ego. I know deep down that my insight and perspective would be of value, yet very few are willing to give me that chance. (Please note: This is not a blanket statement about everyone. There are certainly people who have answered my call. Who call me and give me the time. Unfortunately though, there are more who do not.)
I am at a crossroads. When I left a stable job at BMW to start my consulting company, I told myself I will give it 3-5 years. March 2021 will mark 4 years. Granted, we are in unprecedented times, but the realities of life remain. I have a house, a wonderful son, a dog, and my health. All of which I am grateful for. I would also like to keep my sanity. Is chugging through another 6-12 months perseverance or irresponsibility? To be honest, I don’t know.
Thank you Andra Day for the powerful words I heard today while cycling to RISE UP. Thank you Robin Arzon for your anecdotes and for giving me the courage to be raw.
To everyone reading this, please do me and everyone around you a favor. Answer the call. Respond to the email. Follow through on that connection you promised to make. Go that extra mile even if you cannot see how it benefits you today.
You're broken down and tired Of living life on a merry go round And you can't find the fighter But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out And move mountains We gonna walk it out And move mountains
And I'll rise up I'll rise like the day I'll rise up I'll rise unafraid I'll rise up And I'll do it a thousand times again When the silence isn't quiet And it feels like it's getting hard to breathe And I know you feel like dying But I promise we'll take the world to its feet And move mountains Bring it to its feet And move mountains
And I'll rise up I'll rise like the day I'll rise up I'll rise unafraid I'll rise up And I'll do it a thousand times again