For as long as she can remember, music was a part of Ashley Wolf’s life. And once upon a time, she assumed she’d end up doing something with music for her career. “I sang, wrote [music], and played guitar for a long time.”
But at some point during her musical education, Wolf came to terms with how difficult it was to make a living in the field.
So she flexed her practical muscles, studied broadcasting and communications in school, and landed a job in broadcasting post-graduation.
Although Wolf was swiftly promoted (just a month after being brought on board), her position was eliminated when the organization was restructured. The layoff led Wolf to admit to herself that maybe breaking news wasn’t what she wanted to be chasing.
Fast-forward to the present, where Wolf finds herself still trying to figure out her career path but getting closer to discovering her “dream job” as she tries to break into PR.
To learn more about how Wolf said goodbye to music and embarked on a new, unfamiliar path, keep reading:
Was It Difficult to Stop Pursuing a Career in Music? Did It Ever Feel Like You Were Abandoning Your Long-Time Dreams?
In the beginning, it was a bit difficult to change from music to broadcast media. I basically studied music from first grade until my third year of college in some capacity.
At times I do feel like I abandoned the thing I was most passionate about for the majority of my life. I go to quite a few concerts each year, and I always end up saying the same thing—I really miss singing, playing guitar, and writing. It was the time of my life where I was less stressed because I could write a song about every emotion I was feeling and feel better after it was done. I just never felt secure enough about making music a career, so I made a change.
What Was it About PR That Drew You In?
I’m a people person. I love listening to what people have to say. When I worked on the news desk, I would answer PR calls all day. I loved how passionate a representative would be about the story they were pitching and how excited they were about their clients’ ideas and success. I could see my personality fitting in that field and being successful at it.
I’m now at the point that I want a new career that’s going to let my creativity and passions emerge, and PR can do that for me.
And What Was it About Broadcast Media That You Didn’t Enjoy? When Did You Realize it Probably Wasn’t a Permanent Career Choice?
I didn’t enjoy the continuous storm coverage, working on Christmas, or the sad news. I started coming home from work more and more upset, and after five years, I knew that I needed a break.
I had quite a few moments within the last year that made me realize I should probably change careers. I missed quite a few family events, and, this time last year, I became a godmother. That was the moment that changed my mind about my career, and I knew that I didn’t want to miss any more family events.
How’s Your Current Job Search Going?
The current job search is a bit of a challenge considering most of the jobs I’m finding demand years of experience.
I’m not letting that stop me though! I'm completely open to an entry-level role (and less pay), really anything to get started in the new field would be great. When I was on the news desk, I learned so many skills—multitasking, editing, how to communicate with people from different backgrounds so they trust you right away.
That job taught me how to be even more organized and detail-oriented than I already am, and I know I can transfer some of those skills to the right role.
Do You Have Any Career Advice for Wannabe Career Changers?
Just do it if you’re not happy anymore! I was happy with my job for a very long time, and I learned so many things from it. You really need to sit back and evaluate what you know and what you’re familiar with before taking the next step.
You also need to understand that if you miss your old career after you start a new one, you can always go back. Keep your options open as well as your mind. It’s completely normal to desire new challenges.
I think that motivates us more and helps us along the way to success. Oh, and don’t forget to use all of your contacts from previous jobs to help you figure out where you might fit in a new career. Go back to your favorite professor from college or that one person you met at a work event. Pull out that stack of business cards and take advantage of the contacts you made to get to where you want to be.
What Would Your Dream Job Be Right Now?
I love the city I grew up in, Philadelphia, and I love where I got my BA, Temple University. Ultimately, I would love to work for the city or the school. Philadelphia started an amazing group called “VisitPhilly” a few years ago and it’s taken really taken off.
It promotes the positive aspects of the city and all it has to offer to our visitors and even residents. I also really, really value Temple University and would be thrilled to work for Temple PR one day and promote its greatness.