Dolores's Story

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My Story of Re-invention by Dolores May

It wasn’t easy getting here. That’s the first thing I need to say! I had spent 23 years living in Dallas, TX working for a family owned firm selling consumer goods to the US Military Exchanges, the stores on the Army/Air Force/Navy/Marine Corps bases where the active duty and retired soldiers and their families can shop. I was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Fragrance, Cosmetic and Accessories Division. The business grew from zero to over $50 million and I had a staff of over 20. It was a wonderful career.

Things started to change, my role began to diminish. The next generation started to work for the firm and it became apparent I was not a part of their plans for the company. I did some serious soul searching which included going to a therapist to make sure I was not overreacting. I started a journal, and when I read what I had written I said “this is crazy, I have to do something.”

In the back of my mind was a little voice saying that I should move back to Michigan where I grew up. My father passed away in March of 2000, and my mom is still living at 85 today. I am single, I never married and have no children, just a dog named Lucy. There was nothing except many great friends keeping me in Texas.

I have great faith in God. I know if I trust him, things will eventually turn out okay, maybe not the way I scripted it, but okay! I knew God was going to hold me up, no matter what.

In November of 2003 I went to my boss, and told him I didn’t think there was a place there for me anymore. He didn’t argue with me!! My suspicions were confirmed. We agreed on a plan, I received four months “separation pay” and the services of an executive outplacement firm.

Now I needed to find a job! I didn’t rule anything out. However, being over 50 there were not a lot of offers. For a year I did crazy odd jobs to stay sane and financially solvent. In the fall of ’04 I was talking to my broker at Edward Jones. I told her my status and she suggested I check out a career with Edward Jones. I had been a Jones investor for over 20 years and knew good things about them. I did some checking online and with others and took the leap of faith to completely change careers. I went from selling perfume and lipstick to selling stocks and bonds!

This change in career required passing the NASD Series 7 exam, a difficult test administered to all new brokers. I had to study for the first time in 35 years! Edward Jones helps new brokers pass this exam. I made it, but just barely. Then I had to move to Michigan!! I sold my beautiful house, left my friends and packed it up. I arrived in Haslett, Michigan on May 19, 2005 to start my new career in a town that I didn’t know, selling a product that I was just learning.

The biggest hurdle has been restoring my confidence to the level it was at before I left my old job. I was the “go to” person, the one who knew everything. Now I was at the bottom of the knowledge curve and crawling to get out of the hole.

There have been a lot of wonderful moments. I have learned that my spirit was really yearning for a quieter way of life. It was time to live in more peaceful surroundings. I have also loved being closer to my family. We have new babies, the next generation is arriving, and I am here to play with them. My mom is able to take the train here on weekends and we go to plays at the Wharton Center often. We also have a little summer house on Lake Michigan, south of Pentwater, and I can spend time there and help with the upkeep.

This career change, though late in life, has been good. I love what I do and am getting better at it, and my confidence is growing. I feel I am being of service to others by helping them set financial goals and take action to achieve those goals. I am working especially hard to help women protect themselves financially. Someone shared the following with me: “The will of God will not take you where the grace of God cannot protect you.” I really believe that is true.