Caitlin Goetz on Changing Careers and Changing Her Mind about Being "Normal"

Photo by Anuli Akanegbu

Photo by Anuli Akanegbu

The headline for a post like this usually includes the subject's job title. I bet you're wondering who this Caitlin Goetz character is. Here's the thing: Caitlin Goetz cannot be labeled by any one job. She's lived many lives all before the age of 30. Caitlin has been a bartender, a nanny, a fashion model, a makeup artist, a strategic planner and I'm sure a bunch of other things too. 

I'd liken changing careers to mixing patterns. The most important thing to know when mixing patterns for an outfit is that it's key to have a unifying thread in color. When changing careers it's key to have a unifying thread in interest. Caitlin has always been fascinated by people. Without whittling herself down to fit the fashions of the day, she has pursued a life threaded by her interest in people that is outside of what she refers to as the "standard societal trajectory." 

Now we could go over all of Caitlin's jobs, past and present, but instead I'm only going to focus on these three: fashion model, makeup artist, and strategic planner. Together they best showcase Caitlin's journey to becoming the woman I sat across the table from on a ridiculously hot summer day during a lunch break. Yes, I said lunch break. Caitlin and I actually work together which goes to show you that your co-workers actually do have interesting lives outside of the office. Talk to 'em sometime. 

Caitlin grew up in Berkley, California where the sun shone as brightly as her eyeshadow. You see, in addition to an interest in people Caitlin has always been interested in make-up. Before beauty vloggers became household names, Caitlin was that girl in high school that was known for her bright makeup. It got to the point that her friends started asking her to do their makeup for parties and prom. Caitlin had every intention of pursuing a career as a makeup artist straight after high school, but that was all before someone made her an offer she couldn't refuse.

Okay, so it wasn't in anyway like the "Godfather," but she still didn't refuse the offer. When Caitlin was 17-years-old she was offered an all-expenses paid trip to compete in a spokesperson contest. "I had no interest in modeling, but I didn't want to pass up a free trip. All I had to do was walk down the runway twice," she noted. Ultimately, Caitlin didn't win the contest, but she did get approached by a couple of modeling agencies. After graduating high school she moved to New York to pursue modeling full-time. 

In her five years as a model, Caitlin traveled all over the globe modeling for activewear brands like Nike, Puma and Champion as well as high-fashion brands like Alexander McQueen, Caroline Herrera and Zac Posen. 

Caitlin Goetz in a print campaign for Champion. 

Caitlin Goetz in a print campaign for Champion. 

"I got into modeling to do makeup. While I was still modeling I started assisting makeup artists," she said. She eventually moved on to pursue makeup artistry full-time as a freelancer which allowed her to interact with people more. 

"When you're doing make-up you're talking to someone the whole time. You get personal because you're just so close to someone physically. In a way, it's almost like a therapy session," she said. 

Although Caitlin was finally doing what she loved she was itching for a bit of stability.

"Because I started supporting myself at such a young age and my work had always been freelance work, there were never paychecks guaranteed. For modeling, some months I would make a lot of money and some months I wouldn't make a lot of money," she explained. 

Eventually the pressure of not having a steady paycheck got to her and the hustle of the fast-paced yet alienating fashion industry wore her out. "One day I had this realization that I needed to go to college, so I applied to the Fashion Institute of Technology," she recalled. 

Caitlin started her freshman year of college at the age of 25 as an advertising major. As a model, Caitlin was always brought in towards the execution phase of the creative process. This time around, she decided that she didn't want to be in the advertisements, she wanted to help create them. Her fate was sealed after taking strategic planning classes at FIT. She know that she wanted to be a strategic planner.

I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Planning is the bridge between the business side and the creative side. It’s heavily involved in psychology. You’ve got to talk to people, you’ve got to observe people, you’ve got to learn why people do the things they do.
— Caitlin Goetz

Caitlin was accepted into Miami Ad School for planning after she graduated from FIT. "Planning is generally a senior position so it's really hard for entry level planners to get in. There's such an intuition and knowledge of human behavior that you need to have. Someone fresh out of college who is twenty-two isn't really going to have as much perspective. Miami Ad School helped me get into advertising as a junior planner," she explained.

Photo by Anuli Akanegbu

Photo by Anuli Akanegbu

Caitlin admits that a bit a fear contributed to her decision to start her college career at the age of twenty-five. 

"Now looking back it was almost self-sabotage. I feel like I was self-sabotaging because I had this amazing opportunity that I had worked really hard for and instead I just wanted to be normal," she said.

We talked about what she refers to as the "standard societal trajectory" of graduating from high school, going to college then getting a job. 

I had a lot of guilt about not following the trajectory. I think I was in this kind of fog and I couldn’t really see that what I was doing was unique and special and enjoyable.
— Caitlin Goetz

Right now, Caitlin has a "normal job" and works in an office, but that doesn't mean she wants to live a normal life anymore. 

"I don't want to be normal. I don't regret my decisions. I'm so grateful that I got a college education. I am so grateful that I've proven to myself that I can be normal and get a normal person's job. Not saying that everyone that works in an office is normal, just saying the idea of it and the lifestyle is. "

In addition to her normal job that she still loves, Caitlin is relaunching her freelance makeup artistry business, so she can continue to pursue a life threaded together in a style that's all her own.