When Your Dream Job Isn't Your Dream Job After All...

Written by Kelsey Mohn

Growing up, I idolized every movie featuring a successful working woman, dressed in a professionally body-tight dress wearing impossible heels and of course; perfectly-styled hair. They would be taking the work elevator to their office floor (and it was always a double-digit floor) and they would emerge from the elevator and open these twelve-foot large office doors to the sound of multiple phones ringing off the hook. THIS was the work environment I dreamt of for myself. I figured I would graduate college and start an entry-level position with a salary, benefits and I’d work my way up as the most stylish & successful executive at record speeds.

Hi! My name is Kelsey Maria Mohn and I’m 26 years old — and I’m working for the sixth company since I graduated four years ago. I don’t have benefits and I am not perfectly coiffed — the makeup I’m wearing is likely remnants from going out the night before. But I’m the happiest I’ve ever been!

At 24, I thought I had realized my dream job! I worked for a French clothing brand in New York City in public relations and event management nationwide. I spoke to Vogue magazine and renowned stylists on a daily basis. And indeed; I took the elevator to the 11th floor (double-digits BABY) where I spent 10-hour days convincing myself that THIS was the best job ever. 

After two years in the NYC pressure cooker, and to my surprise, I found myself missing Texas and my family and friends, and I moved back home to Austin. I wasn’t worried about finding interesting work. After all, I had lived the NYC dream job for two years so, with a positive attitude, I started applying for jobs. And then more jobs. And then some more! No real bites! Feeling dejected, frustrated & overall embarrassed, I decided to substitute teach (as I had flirted with a teaching degree while in college) to see if this could possibly be a good and stable career path forward. Note to self - and to you - ninth-grade boys are the worst! One boy glued his textbook shut so he wouldn’t be able to do the in-class assignment, and another boy pretended to be deaf (though I watched him talking and high-fiving his buddies as he exited the classroom). 

This dreary experience helped me regain my motivation to go back and look for work in PR and events. I quickly got connected with a woman who owns a small agency in Austin, and she was looking for her first full-time employee. Convinced this would clearly not be an ideal position (no benefits nor 401K - not even an elevator) I went into it initially with a bad attitude - and a temporary mindset. But as we know by now: life is full of surprises - some good and some not so good. This one was a great surprise. It’s been six months and I’m still working for this small company that’s on the first floor and has no glass doors greeting you. I’ve found a home in our humble, quirky office; feeling accomplished and challenged every day. And I’m happy! Happier than I’ve ever been (did I mention this enormous fact already?). 

What have I learned? Real life trumps movie fiction and the images that live in our heads. I am writing my own real life script, and I’m determined to continue to listen to my own inner voice; not the voice of Hollywood.

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Kelsey's passion for planning events started after planning Kelsey's Kandy Shop themed graduation party. Desiring a career where she could collaborate with others to create exceptional experiences and make life that much more fun & special, Kelsey has gone onto planning bigger and better events. From Vogue's Met Gala to the Austin Film Festival to in-store shopping dinners and weekend getaways, Kelsey has a sweeping background in events. She's ecstatic to call Austin her home again and is always looking for a way to get involved in her community. When not at an event, Kelsey can be found BBQ & swimming at her parents', looking for a new comedy show to attend or enjoying any & all margaritas!

Chelsea Francis