The Next Step

Generally, I don’t blog a lot about work. My day-to-day revolves around niche topics—shoe updates, nutrition tips, and upcoming events, races, and activations. I could talk about the adidas PureBoost X, a shoe designed for women. (Ironically, the shoe isn’t made in my size.) I could mention new gel flavors that GU released. I could gush about the Los Angeles U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. (I loved seeing Shalane and Amy rocking visors, a.k.a. the unofficial triathlete uniform.) One thing I will announce, though, is yesterday was my last day in the run-specialty world.

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*Sigh* the good ole rabbit times

Unless you follow news in this industry, you may not know the roller coaster of this past year. And I chose not to discuss that topic here. I had no idea what the future would bring, so I didn’t want to publically comment on what was happening or speculate on what could happen. Plus, the news didn’t affect me initially—the same could not be said for coworkers in sales—so it wouldn’t be totally fair for me to voice my two cents. But, in summary, our locally owned and operated specialty shop was acquired by a larger conglomerate, and its portfolio contains more than 70 stores nationwide. Over the next few years, the goal is to rebrand all doors as one entity, and the company chose the NYC market as its first relaunch site.

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The new Rabbit Life

The wheels slowly turned, and our NYC team worked tirelessly to unveil the new brand as the New York City Marathon approached in November. The month leading up to the race (and the day after) was crazy, chaotic, and unrelenting. That’s par for the course when it’s your busy season, and we executed some great campaigns, did some impactful stuff in the digital space, and introduced the city and the industry to the new face of run-specialty.

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And the new face of the Bullpen?  Antonio, our stoic mannequin.  FYI, this is our Western Wednesday getup for spirit week.  We obviously won.

What followed? Post-race blues. You know when you throw yourself into training, devote yourself to the process, and work hard to make sure you are set up for success on race day? You know when race day comes, and you execute and get it done? You know the high you experience as soon as you cross the finish line? You know the thoughts that creep into your head shortly thereafter: ‘what’s next?’ That’s a question I asked myself every day after the marathon. And I struggled to find an answer.

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Can I get some clarity, please?

At first, I put my head down and continued to work. Marathon month felt like an “A” race, and this series of emotions is normal after a big event. However, every other time I’ve experienced these feelings—whether I was racing or working—I had been able to refocus, identify the next goal, and work toward it. This time, though, the process felt different. Upcoming projects were easy to pinpoint, but I couldn’t throw myself into it. I made an effort to be present and embrace the process (#MostAuthenticSelf #RichRollfangirl), but it didn’t click. Things had changed. I had changed.

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Peace out!

It was time to move on.

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Swimming, biking, running, moving … and remembering that time I was a triathlon model

Throughout the next few months, I updated my resume, poked around LinkedIn, and went on several interviews. I didn’t need to leave right away so I had the luxury of time: to find a position that made me excited and gave me a good feeling. (And, of course, would pay me well and challenge me and help me grow as a human.)

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Doggies always give me a good feeling. Now to find a job that makes me feel the same …

As my job search progressed, it became clear one institution would most likely make an offer—which, in turn, meant I needed to be OK with leaving my current position. Mentally, I was ready to leave the actual work. It didn’t stimulate me anymore, and I felt unfulfilled. But the hard part would be saying goodbye to folks I worked alongside.

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Our holiday card. Antonio is not impressed.

I am fully aware JackRabbit Sports/JackRabbit was/is not a normal workplace. A lot of my best friends here in NYC came from JRab when I started nearly three years ago. And after the acquisition, I grew close to a handful of my “new” coworkers who became mentors and friends. And through it all, my Work Husband has been a permanent fixture. He has been my person, and there’s no doubt I would’ve lasted as long as I have without him.

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Some of the best humans I have ever met

But the magic doesn’t happen in your comfort zone. It’s impossible to grow without facing challenges. And if it scares you, then it’s a good thing.

In a few weeks, I’ll continue my career at New York Athletic Club (NYAC) as their social media manager/assistant editor–and I am pumped!

7 responses to “The Next Step

  1. ahh congrats on the new gig. sounds like a great opportunity!!

    • carriestevens

      Thank you! I’m very excited–and I also need to do some serious shopping for business/corporate clothing. 😉

  2. I think you are making the right call Carrie. I know a lot of running specialty has gone that route and I can’t imagine how hard it is/was to rebrand to something completely new. I’m excited to see where your new job takes you!

    • carriestevens

      Exactly–unfortunately, most of the local, mom-and-pop shops are getting bought up these days. 🙁 If you come from a big company, that’s fine, but it’s definitely a culture shift for those of us who aren’t used to it. I’m very interested to see what run-specialty looks like in 2-5 years–will we even recognize it anymore? But anyway, I’m excited for this new opportunity!

  3. I am so excited to hear about your next steps, and it was neat to read about your thought processes. Good luck!!!

  4. Pingback: ‘Training’ for Life - Fitness and Frozen Grapes

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