When My Boss Told Me I Wouldn’t Succeed.

July 13, 2020

I wasn’t expecting him to necessarily love any of them, but I wasn’t prepared for the words that came out of his mouth…

I sat in his office as he reviewed my sketches one by one. And although I wasn’t expecting him to necessarily love any of them, it being my first time showing my designs and all, I still wasn’t prepared for the words that came out of his mouth. 

“These are horrible. 

You don’t have any talent. 

You picked the wrong career.” 

My heart fell straight to the bottom of my gut and out my butt. I can’t even describe what I felt.

You see, 1.5 years prior I took a huge leap of faith abandoning my 10 year plan and education of a career in business for an unexpected career in fashion design. There I was still in school, finishing up my final class of the program, $46,000 in design school debt, at my first full-time job in this leap-of-faith career, and sitting in the office with the owner himself.

So for me, I heard those words as, “You just threw away your life, money, and future. What were you thinking? You messed up big time.” To me, those were the worst words I could’ve heard at that time in my life.

What the heck was I going to do?

A few weeks go by and I’m still there. It’s now market week which means all the designs we worked on are complete and we are getting ready to ship them out to the showrooms. The owner does his walk through each department, quickly thumbing through all the product. In our department he grabs the pair of denim hanging at the end of the rack, “What is this?! I’ve seen this design everywhere, it’s all over the place!” he says aggravated and tosses it off the rack. It’s the only comment he makes before stalking off to the next department. It is about my design.

This time though, I am unfazed. In fact, I am fuming; Because I did my homework and I know there is no design like this to be found anywhere. So I put it back on the rack. At this point, what else do I have to lose?

Another week goes by and I am waiting to possibly get fired.

The orders from market week slowly start rolling in. 

Guess what made it on the sales order?

Not only did my design make it on the order form but it was the big whammy of orders from Macy’s. In every department. Kids, Missy, Plus, Juniors.

But it didn’t stop there. Once it hit the floors it quickly made it’s way to the top of the charts, becoming a best seller where the re-orders kept rolling in. After I left the company the orders continued and the design remained on the best sellers list for years.

This is not to say to defy your boss, but to show you the power of standing for what you believe in.

But it starts with first knowing what you believe in. Only then can you stand up for it. Because if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. And often times in terms of our career that looks like falling into a job where we feel dispassionate and undervalued. 

I can confidently look back on my career now and see that it’s moments like these that defined my career. The moments where I displayed complete and utter gumption are what shaped my career into one that I actually looked forward to returning to every Monday, allowing me to flourish, scaling in position, income, impact, freedom of creativity, and joy.

I hope this encourages you to take some time to realign yourself with what you believe in. Not just for your career but with life in general. Because friend, when you do this, you position yourself to live into the life you actually desire.

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I'm Grace Kim,

a fashion designer-turned-career strategist, [mis]adventurer and your biggest believer.

I'm a girl who dropped out of college, was told I would fail in fashion, then went on to create my 6-figure design career before the age of 30.

Now, with my 11+ years of experience in the corporate world, I'm here to guide, support, and connect other designers so they can build a flourishing career despite all odds set against their success, and experience more freedom in & outside of work while getting paid what they deserve.

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