PR for People Monthly December 2014 - Page 14

After a corporate layoff in 2009, like a lot of professionals, I questioned who I was and where I was going. As a result, I spent a lot of time on personal development.

For awhile, I took the opportunity to explore my passion for health and fitness, becoming a certified personal trainer. And, after volunteering as a pace group leader for a few years in a marathon training group, I became the co-director.

Because of my love for animals I also worked as a dog walker and cat sitter, and was even certified in human and pet first aid and CPR.

Since 2010 I have also worked as a freelance web content writer, taking on projects and learning how to use WordPress so that I could make my own website and help friends. I’ve continued to pursue my creative writing and have had one short story published in a literary journal so far. I created and facilitated a class called “Pen to Paper: Freeing the Writer Within” at a Washington, D.C.-area nonprofit, where I had taken some classes; I also led a few workshops.

I produced and sold original photo notecards at a three-day holiday market last year, which was fun, but I wasn’t sure it was worth all of the effort to pursue further. I give the leftover cards as gifts to friends, and a few have used them to thank their small business clients.

My path has been anything but straight, but I followed my heart and did what felt right at the time. I couldn’t have done it without the generosity of friends who helped me through some hard times, including a bankruptcy and foreclosure, but I’m happy to report that I have rebuilt my credit and am self-reliant.

I now work full time as an executive assistant at a hospital – a job I love – but I will never lose my entrepreneurial spirit. I will continue to pursue my creative endeavors because they make me whole.

Author Vicki VanArsdale is author, essayist and aspiring screenwriter who spent 15 years in the media, first as a radio copywriter then as a multimedia producer for one of the top business and financial news organizations in the world. She currently works as an executive assistant and writer in the healthcare industry in the Washington, D.C., area. Click here to see some of her latest blog entries, or contact her at

Finding My Way

The long path out of the Great Recession has many loops and twists

By Vicki VanArsdale