Monday, July 21, 2014

The seven year itch

Let’s face it. Most people in the fashion industry both love, and hate it. Every friend, client, and colleague I have had who works in the fashion industry have talked about the phenomenon. It’s a fast-paced, crazy business. It pays almost nothing when you start your career; you work twice as much as anyone you know (with the exception of investment bankers), and you are doing administrative work. The flip side: you get to travel the world, potentially meet celebrities, and expense a good amount of your dinners (because you are working until 9pm).

When you advance in your fashion career, both the benefits and drawbacks amplify. Your travel takes you to more desirable places. You are solving problems and potentially leading a team. There is more exposure to both senior management and celebrities (which sometimes are one in the same), but you are now held accountable to execute the corporate or their personal direction.  You are required to make the impossible happen with an impossible time frame.  Although I have heard many a colleague utter the words ‘I’m not paid enough for this”, the fact is, they are being paid handsomely. Yes, the pressure and the pay amplify as you advance into your career.

There is something that happens around year seven (and continues to happen about every 2 years thereafter). People start to wonder “Is fashion the right industry for me?” We’ll call this the seven year itch. Whether a designer, a merchant, a marketer, or product developer; many in the fashion workforce will at some point in their career question if they want to continue in the industry.
The dream begins to emerge. Yes, I can see it now: A nine to five job, no crazy people, and clear expectations. When I walk out the door, the job doesn't follow me. I can see my significant other and kids if I have them. I can commit to dinner with my friends without fear of having to cancel for a last minute emergency about a button.

This is where many find themselves at a decision point: continue in the industry with a life of chaos, or find an alternative career that can give you a more balanced life. How can you decide what is the right move? The key is to have a clear vision for your life. Once you have that, list the trade-offs and determine what is most important to you. All options should be considered before making a potential life-changing move.

What do you love about the industry? What drives you crazy about the fashion industry? When can you build your vision to guide your decision making?

If you are looking for someone to guide & help build your vision, consider a career coach. To learn more about career coaching, go to

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