One of my former clients, Catherine Peek, is a brilliant young architect and the mother of two young twin boys. She was one of five finalists for a design competition for showcasing the grounds of the Washington Monument in D.C. Unable to find work in Pittsburgh, she and her husband moved their family to Baltimore where she secured a contract job with CGS Architects.
Her bosses loved her performance, but there was not enough new work coming in to retain her. The same day Catherine was told she would be laid off at the end of the month, she came home to discover her husband was dealing drugs out of their apartment.
In those moments, Catherine sprang into action. She scooped up her twins and drove them to her parents’ home in Virginia where they cared for the children. She found a place to stay with a friend where her husband would not know where to find her. Then she set out to land her next job, following the coaching strategies I’d given her, but using the courage and focus that were Catherine’s alone.
Let Catherine tell her story:
“This is my second week of work at a spectacular firm: Blue Ridge Architects. The whole move, job search included, was blessed and as easy as falling off a log. The coincidences that led me to this position were uncanny.
“I had just begun my job search. In fact, this was one of my first two emails to potential employers. I sent out two emails before work one morning (I was pressed for time and could not get out more). I looked up the city I was interested in, Googled architecture firms, and introduced myself to the most promising ones. I got an immediate response: ‘Your ears must be burning!’ I was scheduled for an interview on Friday. I learned that the firm pursuing a project at Sweet Briar College, where I graduated for undergrad. Furthermore, they use an unusual drafting program that I’d been working with for the past six months at CGS Architects. The principal/CEO of Blue Ridge Architects worked as a contract employee (just like me!) at CSG over 15 years ago. He had even worked directly for my boss, Joanna, who had vowed to give me an excellent recommendation! I must emphasize the odds of all this happening are very slim!
“I am [now] part of the Sweet Briar marketing team and will be giving half of the client presentation, an experience that will prepare me for leadership in the field.
“Furthermore, I found a beautiful townhouse in a safe neighborhood and amazing daycare within four blocks of work. The daycare offered a very affordable rate to me as a kindness and the budget looks doable. The town is beautiful and restorative to my spirit. I can see the Blue Ridge Mountains. Birds are loud. I live in a splendor of beauty I could only have imagined.”