In the Land of Opportunity

For those of you following, you may know that I recently quit my job at the bank. While it paid me a pretty penny and offered me hours that complimented my schooling, I found that I was just not happy. At the end of the day, the money and stability was just not enough. I needed to pursue something where I could help people, and quite frankly, I felt that I was often making people’s lives worse. In the heat of an argument with my boss, I up and quit. Probably not a very smart move, but what can I say, I tend to let my emotions get the best of me at times. I tried to reconcile the situation, but unfortunately I was too late. I had resigned and they had accepted. Then, I got to thinking; was it actually unfortunate?

The following shift I worked (which was my last) my boss pulled me aside to ask me if I would be interested in working as a caregiver for her close friend’s daughter. She assured me that she carried no resentment or hard feelings for how I had left things the previous day and actually supported my decision in leaving. She could see that I was unhappy with my job due to my inability to feel that I was helping others. I was lacking in helping others. Her acknowledgment towards my reasons for leaving led her to feel that I would be the perfect person to fill the much needed positon her friend was seeking. I happily accepted her offer and made arrangements to interview with the family. Long story short, I got the job and could not be happier!

Now, let me back up a bit to the part where I let my emotions get the best of me and I quit my job with little thought associated. I went home that afternoon and felt like I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I had just walked away from a very nice salary and now faced no future income as far as I could see. After accepting that a re-hire was out of the question, I faced the harsh reality that I had woken up that morning with a job, and was now going to be ending the day without one. At that moment, I realized I had one of two options. I could either sit and wallow in the decision I had made and hate myself for it, or I could find the bright side and quickly figure out what my next move was.

It wasn’t long until it came to me like a flash of light igniting in my mind. The last time I found myself facing a similar situation, I took a huge risk and succeeded. I decided that it was time I do the same thing. As you obviously know, I am a writer. My dream is to be a full time writer and make a living do exactly what I am sitting here doing today. Unfortunately, dreams don’t always mix with reality. However, in that very moment I suddenly thought to myself, “Say’s who?”

At this point, I was officially unemployed. I could either hop on the computer or start turning in applications left and right in order to find another 9-5 type corporate job, or, I could take this opportunity to follow my dream.

I started looking up websites which I could get paid to blog. I researched all the different ways to be a successful freelance writer. What I found was incredible! I discovered that if I set my mind to it, I could achieve it.

Of course, there was the situation with bills. Those simply do not just go away. So, I did some more thinking and self-exploration. You see, there is a reason why the bank was the 12th company I had worked for. Every job I have ever had, I have quit within a year. I don’t exactly have a very good track record for holding down a job. This is not because I can’t keep a job, but more because somewhere in my subconscious, when I reach a point where I feel that my life has no purpose at the place where I clock in and out of every day, I decide I no longer will allow myself to stay. While it has never been a conscious decision, it was clear what was happening. There was always a valid reason for leaving, but there was also never a good reason for me to stay either. What exactly did I expect to suddenly change now?

When I started working at the bank, I saw myself staying there for at least 4 years. It would get me through college and potentially even help me while I started my career as a writer. Clearly, that didn’t work out. I didn’t want to continue this vicious cycle of bouncing from one job to another. It was clear that the reasons I had left all my previous employers was not because of something they did, but because of me. I was not feeling like I had a purpose. I felt no passion associated to the work I was doing, and therefore, there was just no reason for me to stay.

I have come to understand that I am not the type of person to stay with a job solely based on the stability. I must believe in what I am doing, and if I don’t then it just simply won’t last. Writing is something that I believe in. It is one of the very few things that has ever kept me grounded and often times the only reason I would last as long at a job as I did. You see, every time I had a bad day at work, I would remind myself that one day I would be making a living doing exactly what you are reading right now. Now that I had no job however, I thought to myself, why wait?

I am fortunate that the career I have chosen does not require a college degree, although it is highly recommended. I can still begin pursuing my dream even before my schooling is complete. (Don’t worry, I am going to finish school). By allowing myself to fully dive into my writing and establish myself as a freelance writer, I could finally get a head start on my career. Within days I had a site up and running and was already beginning my new career as a writer. While the pay isn’t exactly substantial, it is a start.

Now we are back to the bills. Having come to the conclusion that the “normal” type of job isn’t for me, I decided it was time I begin looking into other ways I could make money doing things that I would actually enjoy. I decided that I would finally start doing what I had always thought to do but could never find the time for, and start buying and restoring collectables to sell for profit. I also considered babysitting and helping elders with house cleaning and chores. Basically, if I wasn’t doing something creative, I wanted to be doing something that would involve helping others.

My prayers were answered, and I was presented with the amazing opportunity to be a caregiver for a beautiful girl born with a disability. Having met the family and beginning my job, I found that for the first time in my life, I was working without feeling like I was at work. I was getting paid to do something that I would do for free, just like writing.

While I’m not advising anyone who is unhappy with their job to just up and quit because it doesn’t satisfy them, I do want to remind you all that money and stability do not create happiness. I leave you with these last few thoughts; if you could do anything in the world and get paid to do it, what would it be? Now, ask yourself why you aren’t doing it already. Whatever your reasons may be, you must not forget, the only thing standing in the way between your dream job and you actually pursing it is your own fear of failure. No matter what the circumstance are or how many odds are against you, you have a chance at true happiness. You just have to take the risk of going for it, and believing that you will succeed.

 

 

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The Gift of Misfortune

Stress induced writers block. That is always how it begins. First, I have a bad day at work and instead of going home and doing what would be healthy and write, I let myself become consumed in my frustration only preventing my art to be the release I need. Soon enough, the writing withdraw sets in and now I am left with a feeling of emptiness and stress. Stress builds and it soon takes the ugly form of letting the mess in my mind pour out into my life. I feel like nothing is going right. I hate my job. I hate my hair. I hate my friends. I hate my wardrobe. I hate everything. Poor me. How pathetic…

Then, I wallow in a moment of self-pity that soon turns to guilt because while I am sitting here complaining about my job, there are people praying for a job. While I’m fussing over my hair, there are cancer patients who have just lost theirs. At the moment that I feel unhappy with my social life, someone has left a note behind to their family explaining why bullying and lack of friends has led them to death by their own hand. As I look through my closet in disgust and question my fashion sense, a poor family riffles through bins at a local Goodwill looking for the most discounted pair of socks they can afford. “Poor me?” I ask myself again. “How selfish am I”?

I can’t hate myself for having a bad day and feeling sorry for myself in a moment of PMS meltdown. However, I can pull myself together and realize that everything I think I have to be sorry about, I actually have to be grateful for. You see, I may not always love my job with a burning passion, but never the less, it is exactly that, a job. It is a steady source of income that prevents me from sleeping on the streets and supplies me with food to nourish my body. Not only that, but because I have a job, I am privileged enough to purchase hair care products and buy nice clothes that I wear out to events with my friends. I have so many things to be grateful for, and instead, I find myself hating it all at times. How pathetic is that?

There was a time when I called Los Angeles my home and was literally living off of canned goods and top ramen. When presented with an extra twenty dollars on a pay check, I was thrilled! That meant that I could actually buy bread that wasn’t on the day old rack this week and possibly even purchase meat to barbecue rather than eating bologna like a fillet. Now, being fortunate enough to have a roof over my head and a fairly decent paying job, Starbucks has gone from a once in a while absolute treat to a nearly every day expense that is just factored into my normal budget. I have to remember that I wasn’t always as fortunate as I am today, and while I still appreciate my coffee, I do sometimes take the luxury for granted. I often take a lot of the things in my life for granted.

A few months back, I decided that for everything I found to complain about in my life, I must find a positive to that negative. I don’t want to ever allow myself to become so shallow and high on a pedestal that I forget what a gift it is to have a car instead of hating the one I have and wishing for a Mercedes. Yes, I have my days where things don’t go the way I want them to. Yes, I will admit that the little girl inside of me will throw a tantrum that I refuse to let the world see. Then, I have to remember that the tantrum I am throwing on the inside is simply that, a tantrum. A ridiculous reaction and over dramatized version of how an adult should be responding to what I might consider a “tragedy.” Exactly what is a tragedy though?

My car breaking down is not a tragedy, it is an inconvenience. My family being savagely murdered on the other hand is indeed a tragedy. Failing a midterm that I studied for all week is not a calamity, it is a disappointment. Living in the Middle East where my home has become over run by ISIS is a tragedy.

It’s sad yet true how much in our lives we have such little appreciation for. Do you think Bill Gates gets excited if he receives a $1,000.00 check in the mail? Probably not. Would you? Absolutely! Just because something may not be a lot in comparison to what you currently have should not diminish the value it holds.

I challenge you all to this next statement. Wake up every morning with a thank you to God for giving you another day. Appreciate the things that to you may seem little, because to someone else, they may be huge. Cherish the life you have, the day you were given, and the misfortunes you encounter, because what may be a “tragedy” to you could be a blessing to someone else.