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Episode 198: How One Brave Email Led to a Six-Figure Job After a Career Break, with Koseli Cummings

Koseli Cummings headshot

Episode Description

Koseli Cummings is a self-taught content strategist and copywriter. She returned to the workforce full-time after seven years of being a stay at home mom by sending “one brave email" to almost every woman she knows. That email turned into a six figure job that altered the course of her career. Now she’s passionate about helping other women get brave and send that one scary email that could change everything. We discuss the details of Koseli’s career path, her career break, her famous email, her blog post about her relaunch, and where she is today. Shoutout to Sheila Marcelo at at 39:07.

Links to Episode Content

Link to Koseli’s blog post with the email

Read Transcript

Carol Fishman Cohen: Welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch, the podcast where we discuss strategies, advice, and success stories about returning to work after a career break. I'm Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO, and co-founder of iRelaunch and your host. Today, we welcome Koseli Cummings. Koseli is a self-taught content strategist and copywriter based in Seoul, South Korea by way of New York City, San Francisco and Salt Lake City.

She's a self-proclaimed generalist who loves reading young adult fiction, going on long walks, and watching The Bachelor. Like many moms she's navigating parenting and her professional goals and returned to the workforce full-time after seven years of being a stay at home mom by sending one brave email to almost every woman she knows. That email turned into a six figure job that altered the course of her career.

Now she's passionate about helping other women get brave and send that one scary email that could change everything. We are going to talk about the details of Koseli's career path, career break, her famous email, her blog post about her relaunch and where she is today. Koseli, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Koseli Cummings: Thanks so much for having me Carol. I'm happy to be here.

Carol Fishman Cohen: It's great to be talking to you and I'm noting that you're in Seoul and I'm here in Boston, and so it's night for me and morning for you. It's just fun to be having this conversation, knowing that you are half a world away. So we became aware of you and your relaunch when we saw this incredible article that you posted called,The Email That Got Me a Six Figure Job After Seven Years as a Stay at Home Mom, and we're going to get into the details of that article in a few minutes. But first, could we start by asking you to give our listeners an overview of your career path leading up to your career break?

Koseli Cummings: Sure. Thank you so much. So a little bit about me, I was an English major and I never knew what copywriting was until I was quite a bit older. So I fell into it in a lot of ways, but I've always been business minded and really interested in marketing. I also really wanted to work in book publishing. So when my husband and I moved to New York City, that was the ultimate goal, I wanted to be an editor at one of the publishing houses. I did end up working at a large publishing house for a while, but not in an editorial role and quickly found that it would take years for me to work up that ladder. And I knew that I wanted several children and I knew that we wouldn't be in New York forever, we wanted to be closer to family back west.

So it wasn't going to be a route that was going to work out for me. And that was really hard. That was something I worked for through college and had always planned on. But someone at this large publishing house saw something in me and said, "Hey, if you do leave, we have copywriting freelance for you. You can write a book jacket copy for my imprint." And that was enough for me, I left my job just on a wing and a prayer, hoping that I would have a little bit of work. And so I started working for this publishing house writing book jacket copy.

And I also, and this kind of rolled into something much bigger, but my husband is a graphic designer turned product designer, now like a design director. But at the time we lived in Brooklyn, New York, and we had a lot of friends who were also designers and they knew I liked to write and read, but I didn't do it formally. I had done a little bit here or there for my husband for projects he would freelance for, and they were asking me all the time to do work for them. And so once I left my full-time job, I thought, I could just start doing this. “I think I can get paid to do this work that these designers don't want to do. They don't want to write, they need someone to do the copy.” I actually had a lot of work from that.

It was always word of mouth, I never advertised. My husband helped me build a website, he can code, so we built that together. And then I started doing these side projects too, to get my name out there. So one of the first projects I did was called ‘Inadvertent Haiku.’ And the idea behind the blog was that I would write a haiku about the top daily news, and then it would be illustrated or designed by a designer that we knew, or a friend of a friend, that kind of thing. So I did this for a few months and it got picked up by TRENDHUNTER and a few different outlets. It was just a really fun way to network and, to be honest, just to hold myself accountable for doing something creative every day.

Having a project, you know if you're not getting as much work that you want, I always say it's good to just make your own things and put them out there. And if there's a kind of work that you want to be doing and you don't have a paid version of that, just do it for free and put it out there. And I was at a place where we didn't have kids and it was, "I can do this." So I freelanced. And then, within a couple of years, I had my children really close. I have four sons and I had them all within six years.

So we had two in New York City and then two later in California. I don't want to skip over what the weight of having children is, it's a huge adjustment, and my husband went through a couple of career transformations working for a very small startup. We took a lot of really big risks early on, like him leaving his job, a full-time job with benefits two weeks after we had our first son, to basically start a startup with someone he had just met. And so I think we were on this path of, "Okay, we're investing a lot now," but we weren't willing to wait. We knew we wanted to have children young and thought, “Let's do it, we're just going to go for this.” So there was a lot of anxiety and stress around building up that foundation of both of our careers, but for me, I really wanted to be home with our son. And I also really felt like deep inside me that I wanted to be there at home, holding the home base because my husband was working all the time, we're talking ninety, a hundred hours a week. I wasn't seeing him for days on end. And, so we had to balance each other out. There was no way I was going to be working full-time and be super ambitious. So I pulled back. At the same time with the internet, like so many women at home, it was like, my son naps, I do have this time where I want to be creatively filled and I want to make money and need to be making money.

So blogging was a huge thing for me. I had my own personal blog, but I started blogging for larger blogs, like Design Mom. Gabrielle Blair, Design Mom, truly altered the course of my life by offering me the position as her discovery editor. It changed everything for me. I had a byline and so I was getting emails left and right asking people to feature things on her blog. And she just really mentored me and helped me understand the space a lot more. And I had been really involved in the mom, you call it mom blogging, but obviously it's so much more than mom blogging, design blogging, the children and family, and that trendsetter, early... When did I start, it was 2008, 2009, 2010. That's when it was really starting to pick up. So it was a part of that. And it was really huge for me to be able to learn from her and to be a part of that community. I think working for her and then having my name on there created lots of different opportunities with my own blog.

Then I had our second son in New York, we moved to California, and my career was very much on the back burner. We had two small children and then we moved to California for my husband's career. He was the breadwinner. And I think in the back of my mind, and I think a lot of women who are ambitious feel this, it's hard sometimes, it's hard not to be in that role. You love being home with your kids. I felt so passionate about being there with them and being the person who was seeing all of their firsts. And I had a lot of fun too, I had a lot of fun stay-at-home moms that I was able to spend time with during the day and in the evening when the kids were in bed and my husband was home, and that kind of thing. But it was so lonely sometimes and so hard. And I felt I grew up in a faith culture where marriage and family were really valued. I felt like I was raised with a lot of the skills that would make me a good homemaker and a fantastic partner.

And when it came down to it, I often felt resentful because I was like, “Is this what it is? Is this what everyone's doing and no one's telling each other, this is actually what it is?” It's moving inside every evening at 6:30, never seeing the sun, never being out in the evening, and just having so little time to myself and very little room to develop my own talents and to be a little bit more than a mom. And I think when they're so young, that can be really difficult. But when we moved to California, I matured a little bit and I also, I don't know if you want to ask me about this more later, but I do feel like it's really pivotal in my career actually is my mental health.

It was me returning to work and knowing that I needed to work was, it was me listening to my inner voice. I think I'd been silencing it and not prioritizing myself. And I knew that for me working, me making money, me writing, and being ambitious with what I wanted, and letting myself being seen outside of my home was intrinsic to me feeling full.

And so I really struggled with my mental health when my children were small. Being with other people really helped. But when we moved from New York to California, it was a huge transition, and I left a strong support network back in New York with friends and some family, and at the bottom really dropped out.

It was, "I can't do this." I had two small kids and my husband got home very late and we didn't see him very much, long commute, a lot of what people experience. It was just like, "I can't do this."

I finally got some help from a psychiatrist and started taking care of my mental health and realized I had had severe postpartum depression that had never been managed. I had tried to manage on my own, but really I needed something more and I needed more support, but at that point, I think it was still uphill from there for a while. And we had more children.

But finally realizing that I needed help, and it wasn't just getting a job, but it was the actual literal mental health, that I needed a break and I needed more support on the ground, was huge for me. And it was a step in the direct direction of me being able to communicate what I wanted, which ultimately led to me being able to return to work full-time and prioritize me, just because I wanted to do that. Even if it meant sacrifices for our family. Because I wanted it, it was enough.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yeah. Wow. Thank you for walking through that. There were so many things that you talked about that I related to directly, and this whole idea about having ambition that you have to put on the back burner and feeling like you're the enabler for everyone else to reach their goals in your family and other people, except for yourself.

And then figuring out what exactly it is that needs to change in order for things to feel like they're in the right place for you. And that's a journey for sure. It takes time and it's an evolution. So thank you for being so frank about that and really walking us through. I know our listeners are going to be really relating directly and identifying with this.

Let me just ask you one clarification with the Design Mom role, did you fall into that or did you volunteer for it? Like how did you actually get mentored by her?

Koseli Cummings: Sure. She listed a job posting. She was hiring a discovery editor and it was a remote position. I think at the time she was based in France and she's in France again, lives there again, but at the time she was abroad. And I had followed her blog for years, I was like a super fan. And the fact that I was like, "I know this, I know her audience. I know I can write. I know I can write it for her. I know I can do a really good job." So I applied, and a hundred other or more other women were going to be applying too, because it was absolutely an ideal position, it was remote. And that was so rare, a part-time remote kind of thing to work for this blog you already love. So I asked five women who were somewhat in the internet space who had blogs or otherwise. I asked them to write emails for me to recommend to me. And, she didn't know me from anyone else, and I think that made a difference.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's great. You were doing this part-time remote role. And all that time, did you consider yourself still on career break during that time because it was intermittent? And then you were working, and then did you stop doing that for a while, or what happened there?

Koseli Cummings: Yeah, it was intermittent, and it depended on how pregnant I was and how sick I was and how much we could afford part-time babysitting, or if I could get my kids into a preschool. There's so many elements to how much you can work at any given time. And, like I said, we had children very close together, so there were times of extreme, big intensity. But I always tried, I remember someone, it was in some Facebook group years ago, and I've heard this other places, but I remember it just hitting me between the eyes. It was maybe ten years ago, it was someone who was in their fifties, a woman in this group, I think she was maybe a lawyer, successful or something, and she was saying, "Whatever you do, just keep a toe in. Just keep a toe in the water, if you can, sometimes you can't. Just keep a toe in the water."

I don't know, but I feel like there were just times where I just felt like my toe was getting pulled, and I was like, "That's the one thing I still have." And it had a lot of things I loved and people that I loved, but I just felt like the one thing I still had was that I would keep my toe in. I would write for a blog here or there. I would pick up a freelance assignment here or there, and there were times where it was quite busy and I was making good money and landing clients. I was working with AirBNB or Penguin, Random House or Johnson & Johnson, these clients. I always felt like an imposter, I was like, "If they knew I was at home in my pajamas with two little boys sleeping in the other room..." I never felt like I could tell people who I really was, that they wouldn't take me seriously. I was twenty-eight and had two little kids. I couldn't do this. But the reality is I could. And I was doing just as good a job as anyone else. I just needed that flexibility if people were willing to give it to me.

But, I think as I got a little bit older and even when I was just thirty, which I'm only thirty-five, when I hit thirty, I had a really big, I call it like a spiritual, a bit of a personal breakthrough, realizing I didn't need to care what other people thought, and that I was valid and damn good at what I did. And I didn't need to hide that I had all these beautiful little boys at home and that there was nothing wrong with me wanting to be with them, but also wanting to do this other thing and needing a little more flexibility with my life and that I didn't need to apologize for my family.

And I didn't need to apologize for wanting what I wanted.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wow. I mean, there's a lot there and I understand it's emotional. It was emotional to be in it at the moment, it's emotional to look back and think through what was going on during that time. So let's fast forward a little bit to when you were thinking about a job search and really thinking about how to get that full-time job. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you approached it, and were you looking for an extended period unsuccessfully before ultimately writing the email that you wrote?

Koseli Cummings: Yeah, that's a really good question. I hadn't been actively looking. But I'll admit that for eight, whatever, ten years, I would always casually look on LinkedIn and play with "Oh, I'm open to opportunities." What if the most amazing opportunity came through, then I really was able to pay for putting three small children into childcare, that kind of thing where maybe I'd be so excited about the work that I would feel okay about going back to work or whatever. So I always wanted in a way to keep myself open to that, but I was never actively searching. However before we moved from California I got really serious about it. There were about three years where I actually got offered a full-time job each year.

So I would look for a job, I would decide, I'm going to find a job. I would look for a job. I would interview, and I happened to get it each time. And something about getting offered that, and then being able to have the chance to decide for myself, "Yes, I'm going to do this" or "No, I'm not going to do this," and reaffirm to myself having that option. I just needed to always have the option so that I knew for myself that I'm deciding my life. So for three years, every year I was offered a job. The last few years in California and the last one really helped me feel like, "Oh, I think I could do this."

I think just based on the skills I had developed, it's more recent that there's a role called the content strategist. Over time, I've moved from copywriting to content strategy and then I've taken a few courses on UX writing, and the value companies place on content strategy and UX writing is often significantly more than copywriting. There was a period where there just weren't very many writers who could do that. Anyway, people were willing to train people who were apt at writing at these large tech companies in California, in San Francisco. And so I was at this key place where they were very interested in me.

But anyway, I just decided not to do it. But that really gave me the confidence to say, "Hey, if we want to stay in California, I think I could find something. I think we'd both have to work full time, we probably wouldn't be able to see our kids as much as we'd like, but we could make it work."

To your question, prior to sending that specific email to look for something, I hadn't been actively looking. I had been actively avoiding to be honest. I think I tossed around the idea of sending that email for about, no kidding, like eight months in the back of my head. I kept thinking, "Oh no, " just getting so embarrassed, " I can't send an email to people asking this."

Carol Fishman Cohen: And so you're saying that you got offered a job three different years in row, but you said "no" at the end of the day, because you realized, "Actually, maybe I'm not ready yet," or, "Now that I know that I actually have this option, I'm not going to do it"?

Koseli Cummings: Yeah. There's always other things that go into that equation, such as the long, hour commute each way, that's probably something I wasn't willing to do unless I had to. And the other thing was, sometimes those jobs don't always have the budget to do full-time with benefits. So it would be a solid rate, but it was, "I can't do this." I wanted the security of knowing I had the full-time role if I was going to do the full-time forty hours a week, plus the commute kind of thing.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yeah. Makes sense. Oh, and just a note for our audience, UX is user experience. So some people might not know what that is, so I just wanted to make it clear. Also, you said you thought in your mind for about eight months, you envisioned writing this letter. When you were writing about it in your article, you said before you wrote it, you took the step where you were writing down all the possible contacts that you might send it to.

And I was really intrigued by this because in our book, Back on the Career Track and in our current Roadmap product, we have a whole section on networking and we look at networking in terms of contact pools. And the way we look at it is, we break them into people from the past, people from your present, and then people from your future. Which means you create organizations that don't exist yet, but we'll skip that part right now.

So I just wanted to know when you start... oh, and one of the things we also say is when people start making these lists, don't censor yourself and don't worry like "I have no idea where that person is," or "that person's never going to remember me," or "they'll be mad if I get in touch, I haven't been in touch."

So I just want to know, what were your criteria for putting people on the list? Did you look at your computer? How did you even think about who to put on the list, and did you censor yourself in any way?

Koseli Cummings: That's a really good question. I keep a running Google doc, it's not current, I haven't updated it for about a year, but I keep a Google doc that lists anyone I've met or worked with.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wow. That's pretty amazing that you do that.

Koseli Cummings: I think I'm just obsessed with Google docs. I just list things there. I think it helps relax me to know that I somehow have organization in Google docs, but to be honest, it's a mess in there. But this document is very organized.

So I just tried to list anyone I could remember that I've had lunches with, or worked with, freelanced or met at conferences or met at church, and they've been interested in that kind of thing, anywhere. And over the years I've developed, there's quite a list there from living, I think we've been lucky living on both coasts and just having really strong networks, both in California and New York and meeting a lot of really interesting people doing wild things, just really unusual things.

People are always moving to different places and moving back home or moving to other coasts or out of the country. I've just been lucky to have this long list, but I tried not to censor myself. I didn't keep it to other women that I knew worked. There were lots of women who hadn't worked for ten or fifteen years I put on the list, because we all know, just because you have a full-time job, it doesn't mean that you're connected, you know what I'm saying? You never know who knows who, and you should never censor yourself.

So I tried to just tell myself anyone who might care about me, that might be invested in seeing someone like me, someone might see themselves in me or someone who was even really good friends with my husband, or had worked with my husband, and I had met briefly. There were friends that were teachers at a local high school. It was not anything related even to my industry. But there were mostly women. There were a few men, but it was mostly women, because I just felt like if I was going to send this kind of email, women would talk. And I felt like this is a slightly vulnerable email to send, the way I'm going about this. So I just felt like I'm going to need women on the other side of this. I think it would be more well-received.

Carol Fishman Cohen: I'm just hoping that everyone is listening really carefully because you are illustrating exactly what you should do. People from your church, people through your husband, people who you know in all these different ways, and that was a really smart way to think that through. So we'll talk about how you sent the email out, in a minute, to a lot of people. But just to get into the content of it a little bit, just so our listeners know we're going to be posting in the podcast notes, a link to the article that Koseli wrote about this whole journey and the letter and the email that she sent out, so you actually get to see the email itself. But Koseli, I just want to ask you, when you were thinking about the email itself, one of the first things you did in the email, because I'm just going to mention this to highlight it for people, is that you were very specific in terms of what you were interested in doing.

You said that you said, "Copywriter or content strategist with experience working in beauty, family, or kid brands." And you put this right up front in the first paragraph, and then you included a link to a portfolio of writing samples maybe. But is that because you knew right from the beginning that you were on exactly the right career path to begin with, copywriting and content strategy? Or, how did you figure out that was still what you wanted to do?

Koseli Cummings: That's a really good question. I've written a lot of sales emails and just a lot of onboarding emails, so I think some of my email has to do with that. But I honestly didn't spend very much time on the actual email itself. But I just knew right away I needed it to be specific. The more specific you are, the more upfront, the better. People are busy, they don't want to read the entire email. They want to know right up front if you're asking them for something and they want to know exactly where they can click to find out more. So right away it was like, "I'm just going to set the stage and then hit you right at the beginning to let you know this specifically." I wasn't going to go work for, I just knew the majority of my experience has been working for lifestyle brands, or in the mom or kids space, and I've loved doing that, or in the beauty space. So I love doing that.

Let's see how specific I can get. If I don't get any response then I know I need to broaden and I need to be a little more open to things. But I had worked for long enough that I knew. And then I knew that I wanted to try to be picky about the companies that I would want to work with and not just work for anybody.

My husband always says, I don't know, he just often says the right thing at the right time. His idea of my career always helps me reflect back what I'm feeling, but he's like, "It's more about your story. It's the story you can tell to others about what the journey has been. I do that myself, what it was for me going to a design firm, to a startup, to a tech company, to an international company. And for you, it's: you did full-time, you reversed courses, you became a freelancer and then a self-taught freelancer, then you developed your client list and then took a little step back as you had kids and then kept growing your client list and trying to define your story of what type of companies you worked for: design, lifestyle brands and any other kind of companies that are more developed startups that have a strong design sense."

That's typically the type of companies that I work with. So I think in sending this, that was what I was leading to, and then that's why I included a link to my portfolio, which is actually a Google slideshow. It's Google slides. I've had the paper portfolio, I've had the PDF. I can do it in a PDF. I think the Google slides have been so great. People are always like, "Oh, I love that you just have a Google doc." Basically, they just open a Google doc. It's so easy and it's easy for me, because I can add stuff any time or edit, and I can control who sees it.

It's really awesome. I don't know why I didn't do that sooner. I just did that in the last couple of years.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yeah, definitely. That's a good tip. Everyone should make a note of that one.

Koseli Cummings: And you can have links there. So people will click on your website, and I have a website too, but I don't keep my current work on there, I keep that in Google.

Carol Fishman Cohen: And then you also talked in your letter very specifically about not being ready for full-time work, but preferring some kind of contract or freelance arrangement. And did that take you a long time to think through? Because, I think you ended up going back full time. Tell us a little more about the evolution of that thinking.

Koseli Cummings: So in the email I said I'm only available for, was it a freelance or consulting part-time position? I had one child we were putting in childcare, and then one at home who was very young, nine months old, and then two that were in school. And we had just moved to this new house in Utah. Anyway, I think it was a way for me to protect myself a little bit, to keep my expectations minimal. But also I think in the back of my mind, I was hoping, "Gosh, if something really great comes along that's full-time," but it was always in my own head. No one else around me was telling me, "you shouldn't work full time, you shouldn't work full time." I think in my head, I was just thinking, "No. There's no way I can do that. Everyone needs me too much," or whatever. You have all the different scripts you run in your head and sometimes they’re true and sometimes they’re not.

But if you don't mind me telling the story of why I went from writing this email where it says I'm only available for part-time to full-time. So I feel like it was meant to be. The response I got from that email, when I went to bed, I was so embarrassed. You know how when you do something so...

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wait, how many people did you send it to?

Koseli Cummings: So I had to send it in three or four different emails because Google doesn't allow you to copy and paste that many emails. I didn't send it to anyone I didn't know. And I would just give that, never send this kind of email to anyone you don't know. These are all people I knew either really well, or had spent time with them or had associated with them. So this was three or four different emails and I can't remember how many email addresses you can take or paste into the "To" field, but quite a few. I just sent them in groups and then literally went to bed. And I think I cried a little bit.

I felt a little slightly horrified and then woke up in the morning and remembered I had sent it and felt a drop in my stomach. Oh my gosh. And then checking my email. And I had just a bunch of responses. I screenshot them in the article and it didn't include very many. But I got so many, a lot of them are just friends or friends of friends saying, "I wish I had sent this email. This is genius." And people were saying things like, "Not only did you send this email, like a hundred percent, if I hear of something, I'll let you know, let me send a couple of DMS to people," "I saw something posted on Instagram, someone hiring," "Oh, my brother just started at this company and he's the director of content and were, let me get ahold of him."

It's bananas how if people know what you want and need, they will absolutely go to bat for you. People didn't know I was looking for a job. You assume people know, that the people around you know what you want or whatever, but until you send it, apparently until you send it in an embarrassing email, people don't know.

But from this email, I got a couple responses that were just immediately, "Let's get on a call." "Let's get on a call. I would love to hire you." And so there were a couple of calls within the next few days, and one of those was a design director at a large tech company in San Francisco, who my husband had worked for, and who I'd talked to in the past that had mentored me a bit and referred me to positions at this company.

And she said, "You won't believe it. But I did yoga with my neighbor this morning and we were literally leaving yoga and sweating, and she said, 'I need to hire a like content person, or I think they call it like a content strategist, just let me know if...'" And then this woman goes into work and checks her email. And she has my email from the night before. And she emails me right away. She's like, "This is crazy." She was like, "Let me know how it goes, but I'll introduce you." And then this was the job. She introduced me to this woman who was the CEO of this company. And within a week, a week and a half, I started the job.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wow.

Koseli Cummings: It was so serendipitous and it also just felt like, this is a little hippy dippy, but it was if you just put it out there. I think a lot of times, and I think it's just people like going to work for you and you do the same for them, but putting it out there, it really is powerful.

Carol Fishman Cohen: It's such a good message for people. It's okay to put this out there. You were very thoughtful about it. You knew who you were sending it to and you wrote it in a certain way. I know you had that moment of being mortified, but then you found out that this actually turned into something.

Actually, you ended up in a full-time job. And so how did you, once that got offered to you, did you think, "Okay. Oh, wait a minute. It's full-time. How am I going to manage this?" Or did things just fall into place?

Koseli Cummings: It absolutely just fell into place.

Carol Fishman Cohen: It's an interesting thing, because we hear relaunchers, just like you're saying, you think, "There's too much going on in my life, I can't actually be in a full-time job." And then some people will try to get that really substantive part-time job. They just can't find it. So they think, "Okay, fine. I'm gonna look for full-time jobs." And then they get one and then, "Oh, I actually can do this."

Koseli Cummings: Yeah. There's something about the mental energy or something also with the part-time that sometimes I think I was scaring myself off, but yeah, it very much fell into place. I think I said "yes" and signed the offer letter at the end of the week. I hadn't even found childcare for our youngest. My husband and I, it was a little bit crazy, but he was like, "We can find something." And I just bought a membership for, I was like, "I have to find someone this weekend." And in two days we had met a few people and then I hired one. I'd never had a nanny before, that was also just a really amazing experience. Because I think that for years I'd said, "I could never have a nanny." I mean, I couldn't afford a nanny, but I actually wanted one. Having one was incredible. Like, "I have people in the corner with me, is this what people have been talking about? This is really amazing." So it did really fall into place. Of course there was some bumpiness, but overall it was just an overall, very positive thing. And I hadn't been that happy waking up, just so excited to get dressed. It was all remote, so I just have a home office. I just did it from a desk in our bedroom. Actually I'm off to the side, but it was just so exciting. It was like, "This is real, it's weird. I'm doing it from my bedroom, but this is a real job."

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yes, really exciting. I'm glad you did the shout out to I just did a session on Clubhouse with Sheila Marcello, who's the founder of, and she's a really amazing person.

So, love that you used

Koseli Cummings: I was a little skeptical, but I had a fantastic experience.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's great. So were there any conversations at home with your husband, with your kids when you were taking this job on? Now, the idea that it was remote and you had some control there and was no commute, that's really a big deal. But, still you're taking on a full-time job. Were there any discussions about, did things have to shift at all at home or was having the au pair, sort of that missing link that kept everything going smoothly?

Koseli Cummings: So I was nursing, and I actually weaned him. I think we were both ready. So it was pretty quick. Like over the next week I actually weaned my son because I knew it would just be too hard for me. I wouldn't be able to do it. So we did that, and that was fine actually. And then of course my husband and I had lots of conversations, but it was a lot of him being pretty relaxed, and he was excited.

Like he was just like, "This is great. I can't believe you did this. This is so awesome." And there was a lot of, "it'll be fine." He wasn't worried about it at all. I thought for me, and maybe, I don't know, I just felt "Maybe you don't understand," I kept telling him, "I don't think you understand how much I do because I'm going to start working and a lot of things are going to fall." Like the balls are going to start dropping and I don't think he realized how much I actually was doing. And I don't mean that in a cruel way, but I think there's a lot that we keep in our brains and we manage that the partner doesn't always realize. And he does a lot of that too, but, when you're the full-time stay-at-home parent and a lot of balls did drop, but then I really quickly realized that a lot of them didn't matter. Really. They were fine. There was nothing of long-term importance. So that was fine.

And then with my kids, I was like, "Guys, I got a job. I'm going to work." And we made a little apple juice toast together. They're like, "You've got a job." And then it was fun to be able to explain to them what I was going to be doing. And then they didn't care.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's great.

Koseli we're actually really running out of time now. And I love having this conversation with you, but I want to skip to our final question, which is the one we ask all of our podcast guests, and that is, what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something we've already talked about today?

Koseli Cummings: I would say, listen to yourself. Once I got out of my own way and let myself hear myself, then I was able to speak up, speak up and communicate more what I needed and wanted. And that made all the difference.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's a great message for people. Just as we're winding down now, can you just tell people the website where they can see the email that you posted and your story about it?

Koseli Cummings: Yeah, it's on and I believe it's at So Koseli is spelled K O S E L I and then C U M M I N G S . medium . com. And I have a few other things on there as well, but the article is linked there.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Great. All right. Koseli, thank you so much for joining us today.

Koseli Cummings: Oh, you're welcome. Thank you so much, Carol, it was really fun to talk.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Great to talk. And thanks for listening to 3,2,1 iRelaunch, the podcast where we discuss strategies, advice, and success stories about returning to work after a career break. I'm Carol Fishman Cohen, the CEO and co-founder of iRelaunch and your host. For more information on iRelaunch conferences and events, to sign up for our job board and access our return to work tools and resources, go to

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