• Elysse Gracie

A New Career?!

I was a high school English teacher for 3 years. During the end of the third year, I felt an insatiable desire to move to New York City. I wanted to quit my job and do something new. My coworkers always joked about quitting (it's what teachers do when we're stressed), so they didn't think I'd actually do it. But I did. I'm still working on the NYC part.

May 2019

I flew to New York with my dad for the umpteenth time to see my cousin graduate from Mount Sinai Medial School. It was a few weeks before the end of the public school year back at home, and it was a wonderful weekend getaway before the craziness of closing out. During the long lunches and dinners and taxi rides around the city, I talked to my cousins and family friends about their lives and work. I was surrounded by people who were doing really cool things—and get this—they loved their jobs. Even the overworked, long hours, flights away from home, job in D.C. but living in Brooklyn people really enjoy what they do for a living? Wow. My sense of dissatisfaction of my own job was present the day I started, but over this particular weekend, it was resounding. It had a heartbeat all its own, and it was throbbing so erratically, it felt like cardiac arrest. I had to get out, and I knew I couldn't wait to make it happen.

Summer 2019

What did I do next? Why, what any internet over-sharer would do: I outsourced ideas.

  • I polled my friends on Instagram: What could you see me doing for a living?

  • I cut off all my hair and created my own website to learn new skills and platform my writing.

  • I was nominated for an award in a networking program, Culture Shifter.

  • In July, on the last day I could contractually quit, I called my principal and told him teaching was no longer a good fit for me. Was it ever really?

  • I followed multiple friends to work, but none of their jobs felt like they stuck. I went to an ad agency and saw a life in ad sales. I followed a small business owner friend of mine to work making/selling candles. (I work part-time for him now, lol). I followed a photographer/videographer to work on a branding campaign. I followed an event coordinator to work which I did enjoy, but I couldn't get hired anywhere.

December 2019- May 2020

I had never thought about publishing as a career in adulthood. When I was five, I was always alone in my room reading and writing books, binding them with ribbon and coloring them with glitter crayons. But as an adult with an English degree I didn't know what to do with, I'd never really heard of anyone talk about publishing as an industry, so it hadn't come to mind before.

As it turns out, my journey into #PubLife would start with a friend of a friend who owns his own publishing company. I started working for Aethon Books in December and spent the next few months getting experience as a freelance copyeditor. I asked him a lot of questions, but when I got to be editor for a novel, it was surprisingly intuitive.

Denver Publishing Institute

I haven't quite found my groove within the field. Because I love to #ChampionPeople, talk books, network, and coordinate events, I'm thinking #publicity might be the right path for me. In December while doing some research on the field, I stumbled onto DPI, CPC, and SPS. It was exactly what I was looking for: an opportunity to learn hands-on from people in the field without having to complete 2 more years in school. Though the course is all online this summer, I'm very appreciative of the staff at DPI who have taken the time to recalibrate everything the course originally offers and put it all online. I'm bummed that I couldn't escape the Texas heat to visit with my cool doctor cousin in Denver this summer. COVID-19 is trash! However, this opportunity is a means to an end. I am preparing for a new career, and I'll still get to meet new friends and leaders. So far it stands that #bookpeople are the best people!