Like many of our staff members, Cathleen was a customer at Room & Board before joining the company. What makes her story unique is that she has a birthday to thank for her role as a Design Associate at our Chicago store.
"I worked in advertising for many years and I really loved parts of the job. I held significant roles and the work was very demanding. In that world everyone works really hard but they rarely get a thank you. So, I celebrated a milestone birthday by giving myself the present of making a big leap into a new career doing something I loved."
With her decision to leave the advertising world and her love for Room & Board products, she decided that she would start exploring a career in design by applying for a role at the store. "As a customer, I didn't know about our philosophies yet, but the showroom just felt so peaceful, and I loved the U.S.-made focus. My husband had surprised me with a Room & Board desk that was made in Vermont, and that was very meaningful to me. I didn't even see a job posting but I thought 'well you know what, it can't hurt.' It turns out they were looking for someone."
Cathleen still remembers how freeing her first few weeks at Room & Board felt after leaving the long hours of her previous world behind. "When I started, I was having so much fun, and I wasn't used to that. We'd be so busy on the showroom floor, and I'd think to myself, 'Maybe I shouldn't take lunch' because that is what I had grown used to. But at Room & Board, balance is important. They know if you take a break you return refreshed and better able to serve the customer."
Cathleen doesn't regret her time spent working long hours in what was a frequently a high-stress environment. "My background really helps me because I know what it is like on the other side. I know that you can get great satisfaction from your work, but that is different than getting joy. It has been over six years and it still feels freeing. I work really hard but I love coming to work every day."