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NOTE: Carmen Dahl, CEO, Dahl-Consulting, provides today’s story, Experiencing a career with detours.

 

 

 

 

 

 


A good portion of my life was spent experiencing a career with detours. I moved from being a Cook to an Entrepreneur. Below is my story of how it began and where I am today.  I’ve learned that no matter the obstacles along the trail, we are to motivate ourselves to continue on our journey.  

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Experiencing A Career With Detours

At the age of 20, my life path was rather straightforward.  But unbeknown, I was about to be experiencing a career with detours. My parents had a restaurant in Vienna, Austria. I was supposed to take ownership after finishing Tourism College. But I struggled with the idea of spending the rest of my life between pots and pans.

I liked gastronomy, however, it wasn’t my life purpose. So I decided to study Business Administration against the will of my parents. It was a hard time. My parents stopped supporting me financially.  So, I had to work to earn my study. I wanted to prove I could do it, and proudly I made it. My ultimate path was to overcome experiencing a career with detours.  

Four years later, I had my Master and another year later, I earned my MBA. Finally, my parents changed their minds completely. They were proud of me, although they knew that this was the end of our family’s restaurant tradition.

Speak in your customer’s language

I began my career as a Product Manager for a Swedish industrial paper company for Austria and Switzerland. I quickly realized that I had to change the marketing strategy for exchangeable products such as industrial wiping paper. Talking about technical features to customers didn’t lead anywhere. I had to show solutions for their requirements and how our products would make their professional lives more comfortable.

In times long before YouTube and Social Media, I developed simple demo tools for our sales staff.  I went out to show how our products helped to get our customer’s jobs done faster. The rising sales figures gave proof that my strategy was working.  It was a huge success.

Once again, experiencing a career with detours came to be.  In the late nineties, my husband and I moved to Hamburg, Germany. I began as a Key Account Director in a US Digital Agency Network. I was responsible for IT firms such as Apple and Intel. In this position, I learned strategic lessons, especially in my work with Apple. The main lesson was the importance of speaking in your customer’s language. You had to strategically arouse interest for your product in the “New Economy. ”  It was the first Internet hype.

Be firm in the matter, but stay fair to the people

Unfortunately, my agency went down the same path as many others during the “Dotcom” crisis. In 2001, we had to file insolvency. We had three months to close the offices in Germany. This was incredibly difficult for me. As a manager of the company, I had to dismiss dozens of employees myself. Among them were young parents, single mothers; all whom shared many touching personal stories.

I put myself in the shoes of every person I dealt with. I did my best to speak their language. I had an open ear for everyone, and always helped as much as I could. I realized how important it was to separate the professional and personal levels with the employees in my communication.

I learned to carry out professionally necessary measures without neglecting the human side. We were each experiencing a career with detours.  Even today, I still maintain good relations with many former colleagues and employees, whom I had to tell at the time that they no longer had a job. 

Experiencing a career with detours and being able to work with the stress, has taught me excellent lessons.  I benefited greatly in all my later management positions. As Marketing Director of a large European telecommunications group, I led my team successfully through a merger.

During the financial crisis of 2008, I was working in Financial Services. It was a difficult time for our company as well as for our intermediaries and clients. Together with the Board of Directors, I created a pro-active and transparent communications strategy. With our forward-thinking and client-focused approach, we were even able to turn the crisis into the foundation of a great success story.

A crisis is always an opportunity

A personal crisis hit me in 2010. My husband passed away unexpectedly. Since we had just moved to Liechtenstein.  It is a small principality between Austria and Switzerland). With the move being only a few years earlier, I found myself on my own in a foreign country. I didn’t know what to do.  But I knew that I wanted to change my life completely.

I founded my own consulting company in 2011.  Since that time, I have successfully supported my clients from various industries in developing and implementing their communication strategies. As a result of my professional experience, solving the complex crisis and change situations for Small and Medium Businesses has become one of my greatest strengths.

To round off my profile, I have also completed a coaching qualification. These skills help me to better deal with the teams and people involved, especially in difficult and crisis type situations. Coming full-circle, it was well-worthwhile experiencing a career with detours.  I can help others going through a similar journey and motivate them not to quit.

Change is the only constant in life

Today, after almost ten years of running my firm, I decided to add a new service. I have completed the qualification as a manners trainer.  It closes the circle to my original hotel management education in Vienna. My goal is to support, especially young people, to move safely on their professional and international parquet.  We each need to learn to accept the detours in our profession. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ripple Effect:  The winding career journey

Career starters are often insecure in this respect:

  • How do I behave toward my customers?
  • How do I manage a five-course meal in a luxury restaurant without any mishaps?
  • What do I do when my boss invites me home for dinner?

I am currently in the planning phase and am already looking forward to this new challenge.

Are You Experiencing A Career With Detours?

Never give up and never stop learning.

Life is not straightforward. Just when you think things are going uphill, you often get a sudden beating. Thankfully, I could always endure the roadblocks in my career, even when it was tough.

Right now, in spring 2020, the Corona crisis has our world in full control. Many people are losing their jobs and fear for their existence. It is particularly difficult not to lose courage in such phases. But especially now it is so important not to give up.

Use the time to learn something new. Think about whether there are dreams in your life you can realize now. Do not let fear drag you down.  Instead, look forward and accept the winding career journey as you work on your positive future. Hopefully, many of you will see and seize the opportunity of a lifetime out of this crisis. I wish it for you with all my heart! 

 

Today’s Blog is provided to financially help you achieve The Smooth Sale!


For Additional Insights: 

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Catalina Riebe, The Digital Nomad.  

Click this link to watch my interview-conversation with Catalina Riebe, the digital nomad, via YouTube.  

Catalina has lived in several countries, thrusting her into experiencing a career with detours. We share the lessons each of us learned while building our careers and enjoying life’s gifts. Our commonality with Carmen is in the desire to help our communities benefit from what we learn.  

Visit Elinor’s Amazon Author Page by clicking this link.

Blog and Article Posts by Elinor:

 


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Women’s Information Network (WIN) is an education-and-event-based Global Community of Women Helping Women Live Their Best Lives through Celebration, Self-Improvement, and Service.


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