Who’s Blooming?

debgillapbassler“How can I leave my job?” became “How can I stay?” when Deb Gillap-Bassler realized she needed a career change. Here’s Deb’s story of how she followed her passion …

Wow! I often think my life has been incredible.  I have tried and enjoyed many occupations from fitness instructor to personal chef, marketing executive to interior designer, with an office overlooking the Statue of Liberty to a bullpen shared by 100+. The good, the bad, the ugly. It’s been really hard work because the pursuit to create the life I’ve always wanted has finally paid off.

I fell into marketing, suggested by a headhunter. With no other clear path and a good salary, why not try it?  But it took so much work for me to be okay at it.  Recognized for my loyalty and commitment, I still never really measured up with my peers.  I was forever the square peg in the round hole.

A decade into my marketing career, I was still struggling with my role there and a lack of inner comfort in performing the job well. My job paid for the American dream - a house, a nice car, savings, etc., how could I leave? But the question clearly became, “How can I stay?”

I then moved from job to job sometimes burning bridges (not my true self), trying to find the right fit. Something that would make me happy. Then I came to the realization that some people in life really have a passion and make a living using it.  I wanted that! I wanted to get up in the morning and feel energized by my work.  Not a job, but enjoyable daily work that I happened to get paid for.

I started my journey to create the life I had always wanted by first, figuring out what I was doing wrong and second, what was MY passion? I worked for a few months with a career counselor and didn’t know how to narrow down what I called the “10 flavors” of what I’d like to try. I wanted my next choice to be right, THE ONE!

Tests confirmed what I thought I knew about myself. I was very creative and painfully extroverted. No wonder I had so many “flavors” of interests: cooking, interior design, floral arranging, event planning, wedding planning, and catering. Pursuing any one of these sounded great but which would be the right one… my calling, my passion.

My counselor also told me that any of these careers would work. There was not one right choice but many potentially fulfilling choices.  In my heart, though, I knew that I loved working with people, being active, and “pulling it all together.” I loved creating… the vision for a gourmet dinner or an exquisite room, bringing together color, textures and form. But most important was the space planning and architecture of it all.

With so many ideas, where to next? Enter Barb Scala and Bloom coaching. How perfect! Someone to help me narrow my choices. Barb encouraged me to break down each occupation, do research by asking people in those fields what they loved and didn’t like, even give some of them a try. She said, ”Go volunteer in one of those occupations. See what it’s really like. This is a great way to gain insight into an area or expertise where you don’t have a lot of experience.”

So I did just that. I volunteered at a florist shop but even though I love flowers, the hours were long and the holidays (the core of the business) were demanding and extremely stressful. I decided the flower business was not for me.

Barb then helped me develop a tangible, executable plan that defined a process of information gathering that made it easy to narrow my choices and feel good about my decisions along the way.  My choices became real (not just dreams), well researched and defined. And Barb’s counseling process made me accountable for my choices and doing the research. I would leave my visits with Barb feeling energized about my future and it’s possibilities.

With Barb’s guidance and support, I soon realized what I didn’t want to do and the vision of what I truly loved which was cooking, pulling it all together, drafting and space planning. It became clear that all of these passions could all be satisfied with a career not only in interior design but more specifically, in kitchen design.

To move forward in my new career path, I needed to build my story and begin to link my old life and skills with my new dreams and passions.  Instead of a typical resume that lacked job experience, I created a bio which highlighted my skill set, passions, life experiences and education and also emphasized what I had done, what I had to offer, what I loved and what wanted to become.  Being extroverted, articulate, passionate and sure footed, I found it was pretty easy to persuade people to give me a chance.

I have worked for DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen for 2 years now.  When I wake up in the morning I deb-gillap-bassleram energized at the thought of going to work and performing my diverse duties.  And I often stay late to finish a project or continue my day which feels rewarding now rather than an inconvenience.

I still use my marketing skills everyday but is more fun for me in a small business environment. I love that I can make a difference every day helping people create beautiful and functional spaces that enhances their quality of life. There is nothing more satisfying than spending time with our clients choosing their cabinets, tile, fixtures, flooring or appliances… pulling it all together.

My life transition has been attainable only with a strong and wonderful support system. If you choose to embark on a life of self discovery, surround yourself with family, friends and professional relationships that give you positive energy. Special thanks to my parents, my husband Chris and my closest friends who have cushioned and supported my journey. It has been an extraordinary life.

Deborah Gillap-Bassler
Design and Sales Consultant
DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen, Brookfield, CT

Career Makeover: Deb & Barb Scala on Better TV

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