Career change ponderings from Icy Ling - digging deep into the decision

Icy shares her personal struggle to take the next step for her career. Weighing up the pros and cons is one part, then comes the emotional element

Ni Hao (which means ‘Hello’ in Chinese). My name is Icy Ling, known as icybutterfly. Some people think I am an Australian Chinese influencer. Actually, I work for an East Coast side well recognised – high fashion, lifestyle and beauty magazine (to local Chinese), called ‘Indulgence’. After working in retail (as a Beauty Consultant on counter), evolving to become a blogger and freelance editor, I have now become a senior fashion and beauty editor, also leading the magazine’s digital team – busy, but I am truly grateful for being able to work for my passion.

I hate making decisions. When I was asked if I would write for this column. I did hesitate. Do I want to work extra time on top of what I am busy doing right now? There you go, another decision to make.

In 2014 I was still a counter manager for Clinique in David Jones. My journey with retail began when I was an overseas Uni student. During my employment, I worked hard and the counter performed well. Believe it or not, I also completed a masters degree at the same time. On our Clinique counter there were members much more experienced and talented, but we enjoyed working as a team. English is not my first language, and in my culture, I was taught not to be confrontational. A counter manager needs to lead and motivate the team, as well as provide coaching. That, on top of communicating with my manager and ensuring what was on my agenda got done efficiently was an important part of my role. I succeeded. Clinique was kind enough to recognise my achievements, and selected me as a winner of ‘Stars to New York’, its in-house, performance recognition award.

This brought me heaps of attention on the floor. Soon, Chanel approached me. I’m sure you could imagine my heartbeat went off-limits when I heard Chanel had eyes on me and asked if I would give it a go for a position with their luxury couture brand. O-M-G! It’s Chanel!

What would you do if you were me? One was a company that’s like a family to you for years, provided great training facilities and made you grow. The other one: O-M-G! It’s Chanel!

Am I a bad person for leaving Clinique? Over the years, there’s always a voice inside me asking: did I make the right decision at that moment? Even today, that BIG, HEAVY question mark is still sitting on my shoulders. Sometimes it smiles at me saying ‘look at what you have become now’; other times it would laugh at myself – ‘what a betrayer after Clinique had sent you to New York’!

And these were all the reasons behind that decision:

  1. Go for advice.

When I wanted a second opinion, I asked my mentor, or my closest family member. But never more than three people. Don’t go around the world and start a survey.

  1. There isn’t always a win-win situation.

It’s my future, so I did focus on how I felt about my decision. I cannot make everyone happy! But it doesn’t mean the decision will stop me from bringing more happiness to people around me.

  1. I wanted to take the challenge.

There is no easy career pathway. When I am feeling too comfortable, I worry something’s wrong. That’s a signal for change or moving on.

  1. Research! And be prepared!

Most hard times at work are from the people but not the tasks. I created a list of all the people I would be facing. I went through all categories, asking myself if these people might give me sweet dreams or nightmares at the end of the day?

  1. Ask if this decision makes me a better person.

That was the hardest one. I wasn’t sure, but I did ask myself what I will learn from working at Chanel? Or what a type of person I could see myself becoming? To me, personal development is more important. Trust me, if a decision leads you to a better person, all the opportunities plus the monetary benefits will all come to you.

I went to Chanel for the interview and got the job. Of course, it was a great journey with Chanel. Different to Clinique, valuable and unforgettable life experiences. I became much more fashionable too! I also gained greater understanding of the meaning of ‘Luxury’. Who would have thought this is so helpful to my current job four years later?

Let’s chat

I hope whenever you feel things are hard to decide, these tips above will assist your decision making. Glad to help! And for this reason, I also said ‘Yes’ to esprit Magazine to write for this column each issue in 2019. If there’s anything you’d like me to write about, don’t hesitate to message me on Instagram: @icybutterfly. There…you can help me to make a decision about the next esprit Magazine column.

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