The Winner of the March 2015 Call to Action!

The Winner of the March 2015 Call to Action!

vanhestpicLast month at LearnVest we dusted away the cobwebs, threw open the curtains, and ushered in the season of spring cleaning—with a financial twist, of course.

We brought you everything from money-saving DIY cleaning hacks to advice on revamping your grocery shopping habits.

And in the spirit of springtime renewal, we also posed this March Call to Action question: Have you ever hit a career roadblock? If so, how did you break through it—and ultimately boost your career growth?

Thank you to everyone who shared—from the architect who turned a layoff into an opportunity, to the woman who realized that doing the tasks no one else wanted to do was a key way to set herself apart.

And congratulations to this month’s winner, who will receive $100 to help achieve her financial goals: Rachel van Hest, a program analyst from New Jersey!

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Below, check out Rachel’s story about stepping up her career by stepping out of her comfort zone.

“I was in a dead-end job and knew I needed to shake things up.

One day, I read the small print in the HR manual and learned that tuition reimbursement was available to all employees—something I was never aware of.

My undergraduate degree was in communications, so I first considered pursuing an advanced degree in that field. Instead, my manager suggested I pursue a degree in something completely different, in order to round myself out as an employee.

That very same day, I heard a radio announcement from a prestigious university about their MBA program—something as far from my comfort zone as possible—and I knew it was meant to be.

I took the first class and barely scraped by. I started to panic. If I didn't achieve a high-enough grade, I wouldn't be reimbursed—and my salary left little wiggle room for tuition.

But I kept going. I took a second class and everyone seemed to be speaking a foreign language. Then I took a third class, loved it, and knew nothing was going to stop me from completing my degree.

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Earning that MBA allowed me to completely change my career field from communications to aviation administration and land my current position. I'm now better compensated and have far more opportunities for growth.

Pursuing the degree also changed the way I view my career: I learned it was mine to control. I gained a confidence in my ability to take on new tasks outside of my experience and to keep propelling myself forward—even if at times the steps felt painfully slow.

It took me four years and a huge leap of faith to graduate, but reaching that personal goal was priceless. I'm especially proud of the example it set for my children. I always tell my daughters that the reason they're so smart is because they took graduate courses in the womb.”

Thanks for sharing, Rachel!

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