When Choosing a Career, Trust Your Instincts
Leslie Clark has worked at Brix Wine Bar for 13 years and has been the owner for six, but she didn’t intend for this to be her profession. She majored in justice administration at the University of Louisville but didn’t really know where she wanted to go professionally. “I started to work in restaurants as a way to supplement my income while I went to school,” she says. “I always loved it and found a passion for it.” While some of her coworkers longed to get out of college and the restaurant business for 9-to-5 employment, Leslie thought, “Oh my god, this is great! Why would you want to leave?”
Over time, Leslie realized she enjoyed relationship-building with both clientele and colleagues. “My work is definitely my social outlet,” she says. She also really enjoys the uncertainty of restaurant work, not knowing what is going to happen from one night to the next.
Her enjoyment of her work doesn’t mean she hasn’t faced challenges. She sometimes wishes she had taken an accounting or bookkeeping class in college. “Learning the hows and whys of all the numbers is difficult,” she says. Another challenge has also been accepting the sheer responsibility that comes with being a business owner. “It’s not just about me anymore. I employ 10 employees who have families. It’s a different amount of pressure,” she says.
One of the most important things that Leslie did while figuring out what would make her happy in a profession is to surround herself with people who had like goals and would support her. “Surround yourself with people who support you, open doors for you, and turn lightbulbs on. You don’t want to surround yourself with people who say, ‘Don’t you think you should be doing [something else]?’ she says, especially if you are able to support yourself in whatever career endeavor gives you joy.