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From Badges to Boardroom: An Unexpected Career Path

From Badges to Boardroom: An Unexpected Career Path

by Hailey Hunt

8 months ago


A career journey is seldom a straight path; it is an intricate tapestry woven from experiences, challenges, triumphs, and setbacks. Each thread represents a choice, a chance, or a change, contributing to the vibrant and ever-evolving story of professional growth and personal development. A career is rarely straightforward or predictable–mine surely was not.

Picture this: a 20-year-old, blonde, blue-eyed sorority girl is graduating college in Atlanta, Georgia, clueless about what she wants to do with her life. The only certainty is her mountain of student debt and her desire to make a difference in people's lives—a pretty common dilemma, right? Acting rationally, she enrolls in the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. After months of grueling physical training in the Atlanta office, her time finally comes to attend Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. However, the experience is nothing like she expected. Despite sleep deprivation, starvation, and endless physical exhaustion, she perseveres. But after four weeks of intense training, a knee injury forces her to leave, medically released from the Marine Corps, and she returns home for surgery.

Now back in Atlanta, post-knee surgery, with no career prospects and the same mountain of student debt, she still dreams of making a difference. So, logically, she applies for a police officer position with her local police department—and gets the job. She endures months of relentless physical and mental training, surviving the 13 weeks of the police academy, despite constant self-doubt. But in week 12, she fails the emergency driving test, rendering her ineligible to graduate. Undeterred, she retakes the entire 13-week course and passes, ready to face the world as a police officer. However, reality quickly sets in.

She had envisioned a welcoming force, mutual respect, and camaraderie. While her colleagues were cordial, they did not see her as their equal, doubting her physical and mental toughness. She faced skepticism from both the public and her coworkers, realizing that her team, who were supposed to have her back, did not trust her. Left with no other option, she chose to fight back. She trained harder than her peers, took martial arts classes, sprinted on treadmills wearing weighted vests, lifted weights, and even earned a master’s degree. Her improved performance in responding to 911 calls, handling situations with ease, and achieving higher performance statistics than her counterparts slowly earned her the respect and camaraderie she had craved. However, her success was short-lived; a competitive mud run resulted in a broken hip.

Now physically unable to continue her career in law enforcement and facing multiple surgeries, she was at a crossroads, with bills to pay and only a background in law enforcement. Fortuitously, a neighbor who worked as a hiring manager for a large recruiting company took a chance on her, marking the start of her civilian career. She was a complete novice but eager to learn and succeed. This new world was vastly different from what she was used to, with different interactions, work ethics, and ambiguous hierarchies. She felt lost, like a failure struggling to adapt, and handicapped by her crutches. However, she decided to fight, just as she had done before.

She made hundreds of calls a day, navigated warehouses on crutches, sent thousands of emails, and spoke with as many warehouse workers as possible, filling entry-level manufacturing jobs until she eventually progressed to call center recruiting. Maintaining her high performance and growth, she moved into account management and then sales, slowly adapting, building relationships, and developing her own processes.

By now, you’ve probably realized that the blue-eyed sorority girl is me. Eight years later and I’m still here with all the scars, memories, and lessons learned along the way. My career journey has been a whirlwind of confusion, sleepless nights, physical and mental challenges, and perpetual self-doubt. As Vince Lombardi Jr. put it, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” I have been beaten-down, doubted, abandoned, confused, and frightened for the future. I’ve felt like a failure when the rug was repeatedly pulled out from under me and my meticulously outlined life plans were blown to smithereens. It has been a journey of redirection, self-reflection, and constant questioning of the heavens. Yet, I remain grateful for it all.

College is supposed to be a time to choose a career path that defines your future. In reality, only 46% of workers stay in their college major-related career. To the lucky 46%, I salute you. To the other 54%, brace yourselves for a wild ride. I’m the first to admit: I don’t like change. However, change is a constant in the career field, even for those who stay on their chosen path. How do we navigate change and find happiness in our outcomes? For me, it meant continually asking myself what would make me happy, how I could excel in my current situation, and what steps I could take to not only succeed but exceed expectations and set new standards. How could I push myself even when I thought I had nothing left to give? Rocky Balboa’s words have always resonated with me: “Going in one more round when you don’t think you can. That’s what makes all the difference in your life.”

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Hailey Hunt is an accomplished professional, boasting a diverse career trajectory that cuts across various industries. Hailey ventured into the law enforcement sector, interning at the Atlanta Police Department Reserve Inc. within the Criminal Investigative Division. Hailey's dedication and aptitude led them to a role as a Police Officer with the Sandy Springs Police in 2017, a position they held until 2019.

Transitioning to a new industry in 2019, Hailey joined Randstad USA, a global HR services firm. Serving as an RIS Site Manager I, she showcased her versatility and leadership skills until 2021. Subsequently, Hailey took on the role of Account Executive at Adecco, further solidifying their expertise in the HR field.

In 2022, Hailey embarked on a new professional chapter with Humans Doing, stepping into the role of Account Executive. Hailey's role highlights her ability to adapt and thrive in diverse professional settings.

Hailey Hunt's multifaceted career, spanning public relations, law enforcement, and corporate roles, speaks volumes about their adaptability and resourcefulness in any professional landscape. 

9 comments


  • What a WONDERUL role model. She has truly been on a roller coaster since her adulthood started. She hit brick walls but found a way to break thru. She was knocked down but she got up and kept going. She was tripped but didn’t fall. To me… she reminds me ROCKY! Life is an obstacle course and she is leading the pack! Keep it up Hailey!

    George McEarchern on

  • AN AWESOME ARTICLE WRITTEN BY AN AWESOME WOMAN, YOUR GRANDMOTHER RIGHTFULLY HAS A LOT TO BE PROUD OF !

    Don Evans on

  • You have overcome much more than what you have written. I love your intelligence, your heart and your beauty (both inside and out). Carry on, strong woman! ❤️

    Patricia Tichardson on

  • Just a glimpse of how she overcame obstacles and challenges. I’m sure the day in and day out was/is much more grueling than one can write or read, which makes the outcome even more rewarding. Thank you for sharing your story Hailey! I know there is more success to come :)

    Kate McCarty on

  • I always say that anyone can do anything they want, just takes the will!
    I too ended in a totally different career than in what I began.

    Mark Hicks (vroc) on

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