Often in life, people become accepting of an unsavory work environment because of fear. Fear of change, fear of risk and fear of rejection are typically at the top of the list holding people back from taking a leap. It’s easy to let years pass by and before you know it, you feel like you are too late to take real action. It’s never too late.
While growing up, I admired my parents and their work hustle. My father was an engineer at a nuclear power plant and traveled often for work, frequently spending months or years out of state. He would visit home on weekends or sometimes only once a month. While raising two kids, my mother became an entrepreneurial machine. She is a second-generation industrial chemical sales professional, who pounded the pavement to open new accounts and drive business and help support our family. As I grew up, I admired my mother’s salesmanship and social skills, which encouraged me to learn more about sales. My mother always told me that if you don’t try, you automatically fail and the answer will always be no. This mantra has stuck with me ever since. This was my first introduction how fear can hold you back.
Prior to creating the DonutNV brand, I built a career in luxury retail management in New York and Pennsylvania. I’ve had great opportunities to work with some of the most coveted luxury brands, and have worked among many amazing peers and mentors. I have always considered myself to be an optimist, and my first test of career job loss was when I was laid-off from David Yurman during the economic crisis of 2009. Lay offs were happening company-wide to restructure and, unfortunately, I was included in this numbers game to save the company money. I loved my job with David Yurman and the news was a complete shock to me, yet I somehow managed to pick myself up off the ground and seize this unexpected change as opportunity. My work peers admired me for my positive attitude and ability to be resilient. I continued my retail career and eventually moved back to Pennsylvania. Not long after this, I met my business partner, and now husband, Alex.
My most recent career in retail was the most toxic. I was a salaried store manager for a brand who preached a vacation lifestyle and yet was rotten to their employees. I found out quickly from my team that the turnover rate was astronomically high due to venomous senior management. I knew early on that this company was not my future, yet I still hung in. At the time, Alex worked in the insurance industry. While his schedule was a more normal 9-5, Monday-Friday position, I worked late nights, weekends and holidays. We spent little time together due to our opposing schedules. We’ve both always had a strong passion for food and we had ambitions of working together one day, sharing our passion of the food industry. Alex and I researched what felt like every food concept, franchise and business opportunity available, yet, we couldn’t find the right fit. We didn’t want to be a slave to a pizzeria or brick and mortar restaurant. We wanted to create delicious bites that customers would love, while still being able to travel and enjoy our lives when we wanted. Along our journey, we stumbled upon used donut equipment. We talked about creating a donut brand, but I wasn’t sold on the idea of making donuts. I was a seasoned and prideful luxury retail manager; how am I going to suddenly become a donuteer?
I worked for this retail company for just shy of a year when I was fired abruptly. I held my head up high, handed in my keys and walked out the door. I felt liberated and free from the negative work environment I was stuck in. The moment I walked out the door, I called Alex and told him I was just fired. He responded, “so are we making donuts?” and I said YES!
Looking back, it is crazy to think that I had to let a toxic company dictate my fate to motivate me to take action. The comfort of a paycheck and a consistent schedule kept me prisoner to the corporate world. I learned very quickly that there is truly no such thing as job security in Corporate America.
Fast forward 6 years later from when we first launched our brand and we are now in the middle of the 2020 pandemic. Now more than ever, we are battling trying times of COVID-19, politics, and human rights movements. The world is full of hostility, many people are jobless and unsure of what the future holds for them. Fear is dictating our nation. At the end of the day, you can only control what you can control. Are you going to sit back and wait for the phone call that 2019 is picking up right where it left off? Unfortunately, times have changed and 2021 is right around the corner. It’s time to stop being fearful and time to take action on your own life to truly control your future.