I swear I didn't really WANT to start my own firm. I didn't have any ego issues egging me on to be THE BOSS.
Editor's note: This is part two of a three part series
Never heard of it, never had any exposure to the ins and outs of marketing much less marketing research, but my visionary boss, Loretta Adams, picked me to be her first full time employee over people with more experience, because she thought it would be easier to teach someone research than to teach them Hispanic language and culture.
She sent me to a series of professional training programs (the Burke Institute) so I learned from the best. It turns out Loretta was right, but what she could not have known was how all of my quirks, manias and obsessions fell right into place.
In this field attention to detail, punctuality, writing skills, abhorrence of typos, an innate appreciation for and general understanding of statistics (I used to think I was terrible at math, but I would get the process right and screw up the arithmetic this was before calculators, so after portable calculators, the process was the issue). I loved research, and it loved me.
So I was at this firm in San Diego for seven years, finally leaving for a whole host of personal reasons.
BTW, while I was working full time in San Diego, I went back to school for my MBA at a school for working adults called National University.
The best aspect of the program was that the classes were one month long and you only took one class at a time. It was intense, but survivable while my wife and I were both working full time with a small child and working on a fixer house.
Aside from the actual instruction and learning, more than anything else I was working on my fear and self-doubts.
Sticking to It
I didnt see it that way at the time, but my next big break came when my personal life obliged me to move to LA to follow my son after our divorce.
It took a couple of months to find a job, but in the interim I was made a very tempting offer to take a job at an advertising agency, but my gut was to stick with research, as un-sexy as it might be, because I loved it.
I knew it, was good at it and it felt better to keep a sense of continuity with what to me was a career, not a series of jobs, rather than pursue a bright shiny object that might not suit me as well.
Next- I eventually found a good job that saw the need for a Hispanic specialist
About the author
Carlos E. Garcia, born to Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in East Los Angeles and attended Pomona College, UC Berkeley and National University (BA, MA and MBA respectively). He has over thirty years of experience in the field of US Hispanic consumer research, twenty one years at the helm of his own company, Garcia Research. Most recently SVP at GfK: Knowledge Networks, where he headed up their Hispanic research efforts. He's gone full circle and now back at the helm of Garcia Research, a Hispanic market and Multicultural-focused research firm.Website