Beyond the #Girlbossmoment: How Lauren Colle Went From Entry-Level to Management in Two Years
"Two years ago, I moved to a new city after a huge light-bulb moment that made me realize maybe the grad school I’d spent so much effort getting into wasn’t actually for me. I had few friends here and no job, and I felt like a total failure. I submitted my resume to a few different receptionist jobs around town before finally settling for a run-of-the-mill retail position.
After a couple months in my new city, I got up the courage to sign up for an aerial silks class near my apartment. I’d been passing the facility every day, and I thought it would be a great way to make friends. And if I didn’t, at least I would have the skills to run away with the circus!
I failed epically at my first class. Turns out, a lack of coordination is present in all aspects of my life (ha!). But even though I wasn’t very good, I kept at it, eventually moving on to pole dance classes. I felt really empowered by it, and insanely passionate! I made going to class a priority, and it was my sanctuary after working long shifts at my boring old retail job. A few months into taking classes, I was approached about an open receptionist position at the studio. I had actually turned in my resume before I ever started taking classes, so it felt like fate! I ditched the retail job for the receptionist position. It didn’t pay super well and it was limited hours, but one of the perks was a free membership.
My growth in the company started slowly; first, I was asked if I’d like some extra hours here and there. Then came a small raise after 60 days of employment. Before long, I was being assigned higher-level tasks, and getting results! I would spend any extra time I had during our slow times finding things that could be done better. Occasionally, this meant seeing that we had a written policy (like no-show fees) in place, but no one was actually enforcing it. My small side projects started to add up to hundreds of dollars saved, and a big jump in membership sales/client retention.
After about 6 months of putting in hard work as a receptionist, my boss asked if I would ever be interested in a management position. I had literally no management experience, aside from directing volunteer committees in college, so I was (and still am, sometimes) terrified! About a month later, she officially approached me about the position, and I accepted it.
The past year has been a huge learning experience for me. Some days I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and I can’t believe someone put me in charge of things. I have had to learn how to interview, hire, terminate and manage my own group of employees. I have had many ups, a few downs and a TON of trial and error situations. It has been one year since I was offered the position of manager, and this year at my annual evaluation, my boss reassured me that I am kicking ass, even though I don’t always feel like it! Throughout my growth, my boss was (and still is!) an amazing mentor. If I ever had any questions, or I wasn’t sure how to fix something, she was always there to lend a hand.
Thinking back to two years ago, to when I was a fresh grad-school dropout with zero direction, I never thought I would be here. At the time, I felt like such a loser; now, I feel so empowered and optimistic for the future. While getting raises and bonuses has been awesome, my true #girlbossmoment was going from unemployed to a bad-ass manager in less than two years, and putting in the hard work that showed I am willing to hustle!"
Three pieces of advice for girls looking to climb that career ladder:
1. Stay grounded, but know when to delegate. You’re the boss for a reason. There is nothing that my staff (or even the cleaning people) do that I will not do myself. I started at the front desk and I still make it a priority to spend some time at that desk during my week. I’ll vacuum, dust and clean when I need to, but I also know when to let my staff handle things so I can focus on the big picture. This has been the biggest hurdle for me to overcome, because sometimes it still feels lazy to delegate!
2. Confidence goes a long way. Like I said, some days I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. Guess what? Everyone feels that way at some point! Just remember: you are given extra tasks and given opportunities to prove yourself because you are that good! You will mess up, and that’s OK. Be confident in your decisions and choices, but know when and how to own up to your mistakes.
3. Work with what you are truly passionate about. I am a grad-school drop out, and I can guarantee I am way happier now than I would be with that communications degree. Empowering women through fitness and body positivity is what I am passionate about. I have put in a crazy amount of work and effort to get where I am, but none of it ever really feels like work because I truly love what I do.