Fabulous Setbacks That Changed My Career

February 3, 2003, at 3 pm I was fired! It was life changing. I repeatedly would ask myself “Who fires Chere Bork?” I always over-deliver and over-accomplish every task I set out to do…often to my detriment.

Today I work with many Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who think there is a golden path to success. I am an example of how my failures which I now call “fabulous” have led to my success and Gary’s early retirement.

My first job at the VA Hospital in Milwaukee Wisconsin. This was my office on the surgical floor. The VA was hopping with cute med students and the window sill behind me was where I would often find a med student sitting waiting for me. I never knew my first job would be so fun filled!

When I look back on my job history I realize I had a “problem” being supervised since my very first job.  The first day of my first job at the VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin I was asked by a cute med student if I wanted to see an autopsy. My new mentor Jean Wroblewski RD went with me.  Twenty years later I learned she had decided if I was going to see an autopsy on my first day of work she was going to see it too, despite worrying about being written up.  I never even thought to ask if I could do this I just told Jean I was going. The VA job had lots of rules. I guess that is why I was written up 3 times in 3 years. In hindsight, I realized a federal government job was not for me as I had a problem following rules that did not make sense to me.

Do your students call you Mrs. Bork?

I moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin and began teaching at University of Wisconsin – Stout. Being a Registered Dietitian for five years, I was not accustomed to so many people telling me what to do. And certainly did not appreciate the old overweight Ph.D. nutrition professors interviewing me every semester and inquiring about my teaching methods. I was raised to tell the truth but I lied to them every semester when they asked me, “Do your students call you Mrs. Bork?” I smiled and said, “Yes.” But I was Chere to my students. I never felt good about myself after those interviews, like I was missing the mark. Yet my students loved me and I loved them back. How many college teachers received earrings and other presents from their students?

My happiness lasted a mere 12 weeks

I moved to Minneapolis and was employed in the health promotion department of Hennepin County. Ninety-nine people applied and luckily I landed the job. After 12 weeks I gave my notice. In those short 12 weeks, I interviewed Tony Bouza the police chief (I got in trouble) and I also interviewed a Hennepin County Commissioner (I got in trouble for that too.) I later learned I was supposed to ask permission to interview these people. I also discovered a respiratory therapist on staff with an associate degree was making more money than I was with my 9 years of experience and a Master’s degree. I created a proposal and got a raise. Needless to say, this job caused me many sleepless nights as I felt like I never measured up, yet the evaluations from my presentations were always excellent.

I was always exceeding expectations

Every job Gary would say, “The person who hired you liked you but the person who supervised you was threatened by you. You won’t be happy! He was right! I felt like I was always exceeding expectations, yet I felt like I was a failure and not successful. There was always a black cloud hanging over my head. In every job, I showed up with the passion for helping others but it was never enough.

Real success

All of these setbacks led to real success for me and my family. A week ago I overheard Gary telling a client that if I had not been fired and started my business he would not have been able to retire so early. I made enough money that I paid for the kid’s college and did not have to take money out of our savings. The pay of a clinical Registered Dietitian would never have afforded that.

There is no right way

Clients always think there is one “right way”. Scratch that idea! Every job was a key stepping stone in my journey. You can learn from me. You and I take thousands and thousands of steps. Some steps are big risks and other steps are safe and secure. Some steps are a coincidence. Some of these steps become setbacks. Treat setbacks like a scientist would. Examine them and learn from them. You are not your successes. You are not your setbacks. If you are experiencing a setback right now, I want you to hear my voice. “Get up. Keep going.”

[bctt tweet=”Setbacks are just data points from one experiment to the next experiment. #dietitianlifecoach” username=”@cherebork”]

Decide today life is one big fat juicy experiment

There is no right way. The right way is your way. Let go of the past and revel in today. Every day is a new beginning! Your friends and family are waiting! Better get busy!