When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
I have followed the American societal norms my whole life, attending San Diego State University directly after graduating as a Valedictorian of my high school. Before graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2013, I was already hired as an Inside Sales Consultant in pharmaceutical sales. All my hard work was finally paying off. I started climbing the corporate ladder, going above and beyond expectations to gain a promotion. Once promoted and relocated to the Silicon Valley as Strategic Account Manager, my work became my life. In 8 months, I put over 45,000 kilometers on my car driving to doctors' offices around the Bay Area. I was making great money, gaining exceptional sales experience for a reputable company, and was doing everything I thought I was supposed to be doing, but was I fully happy?
It wasn’t until March 19, 2015 the perverbal rug was ripped out from under me. Due to an acquisition, I was laid off and my territory has been dissolved. I remember receiving the phone call perfectly. Everyone in the company was told not to go out to meetings that day, but I didn’t cancel my meeting and was proceeded to be get let go while standing in one of the patient examination rooms in my account's office. I had that feeling in the bottom of my stomach that makes you feel like you are going to either vomit or pass out, your hands are shaking and you are watching your life slowly fall apart while the Head of HR rattles off all of the legal and severance jargon, dates of termination, etc. I didn’t know how to react. The life I knew was suddenly disappearing before my eyes. All pharmaceutical reps will tell you, we go many nights without being able to get to bed before midnight because of all the follow up and planning that goes into building our business. I'd be up at 5:30AM to get to a yoga class and settle my mind before another long day of business planning and driving.
Losing my job meant losing my car because it was a company car. Five days before getting the call, I had sold my personal car and put my thirty days notice in with my apartment, looking to move to a nicer spot. Losing my job meant losing the one thing that gave me purpose, paid the bills, and kept me occupied 6 days out of the week. It meant leaving my coworkers whom I adored. In shock I dialed my parents and wailed into the phone… “What am I going to do? How could they do this to me? Where do I go from here?” My mind was running rampant, so I did the only thing I knew what to do. I drove back to San Jose from Monterey and attended two yoga classes back to back.
I put the cell phone away, cried through the first class and blubbered through the first half of the second. During my practice I was able to realize, this was the only opportunity I will have where I am not tied to a car, or an apartment, boyfriend, pet or kid. No strings attached, if you will. This was the perfect time to leave. Escape everything I have ever known, leave all my friends, career opportunities, and my family and that's when I decided I would go to Europe. BOOM FLIGHT BOOKED. I will never forget when I told my friend Nacho I was leaving. She was trying to calm me down, told me to think about it a bit more, encouraging me to explore other career opportunities in the market and stick around, assuring me this was just a bump in the road. However, by that time my ticket was bought and my mind was made up. I threw all my stuff in storage and was out of the country in less than two weeks. Adios America, see you in a few months!