Being part of Families in the Loop has lots of perks. At the top of the list is the incredible group of Chicago professionals and business owners I’ve come to know over the past year. Each day they’re hard at work, achieving excellence in their industries and inspiring dreamy entrepreneurs like me to keep going. So this month I’m dedicating the Families in the Loop blog to these Chicago superstars. And since it’s the month of love, I’ve added a twist. I have asked these experts to share how love has factored into their career choice. Was it love at first sight? How about a breakup? Find out here, all throughout the month of February. Parents, it’s time to recharge our career batteries with FITL’s “Live It - Love It” career series
A Career on the Go
~By Cindy McCarthy
My first love was advertising. I was fresh out of college and Amanda Woodward (aka Heather Locklear) of Melrose Place had made ad careers look so glamorous and exciting. The honeymoon stage of my career was glorious, but once I settled into what we married folks sometimes call “same old, same old,” my infatuation waned.
My second love was the travel industry. At 23, I went to work in marketing for Hilton Hotels at their corporate office in Beverly Hills. I loved the travel, my shiny new laptop, and the famous zip code on my business cards. Twelve years, hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer miles, and a husband and two kids later, my love had decidedly dimmed. Don’t get me wrong — I still look back at my days at Hilton with nostalgia and fondness. We had just outgrown each other. I had changed, and my career at Hilton couldn’t change with me.
That is when I stopped looking for something shiny and exciting and started looking for my soul mate. For years, I had been tossing around the idea of starting my own business but never had the guts to break up with my agreeable, steady, and reliable beau.
Now that I was a mom and a wife and had successfully climbed the corporate ladder, what I wanted most was to find the freedom and flexibility to make a career out of what I was most passionate about. After some soul searching and frank conversations about finances, On The Go Chicago, your one-stop guide to kid-sized Chicago, was born. Starting OnTheGoChicago.com has been an amazing experience. True, like all relationships worth preserving, it has had its growing pains, but I’ve learned as much from my failures as I have from my wins.
One of the things I love most about owning my own business is that I have the flexibility to create more balance in my life. Yes, I am still at my desk at 10 pm on a Tuesday finishing this essay, but at 4 pm today I took my girls to their first swim class.
For me, finding my soul mate was as easy as following my passion. I love rediscovering the city through my children’s eyes and sharing the best places to eat, play, shop, and learn in Chicago with other families in my community.
How do I know that this time the relationship is for keeps? Well, here’s hoping! What I do know is that I am committed to evolving, growing, and not losing sight of the most important ingredient to succeeding both personally and professionally — enjoying what you do. Nothing beats joie de vivre.
I think Maya Angelou said it best: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
More About Cindy
Cindy McCarthy is an urban explorer of kid-sized Chicago and author of onthegoChicago.com, a blog that highlights where to go eat, shop, play and learn in Chicago. You can also follow Cindy on Twitter or on Facebook.
Like the photo? Learn more about Chicago family photographer, Ashbey Riley.
Filed under: Live It - Love It... Career Stories