Growing up, most of us were told one of two things; “Follow your dreams and do whatever makes you happy” or “Get a good stable job and earn your living so you can retire as soon as you can”. I grew up in a home that told me both. So naturally, I TRIED both.
Right out of college I was lost. I had no clue what I wanted to do. So, I decided I would do what any other self-respecting adult would do and I moved to Florida to work at Disney World. Now, I don’t mean working for Disney Corporate. I mean the parks. (This is the dream chaser in me!) I spent 8 months in a Disney College Program where I worked as a lifeguard. It was basically an extension of college and I had the time of my life. But I was poor. Like, overdrew my bank account on wings and mimosas poor. While in the program, I had the opportunity to take classes from Disney Executives. It was incredible to learn from the higher ups in Disney an being surrounded by that made me want to grow up and get a big kid job. So here is where the “Get a good stable job, earn your living so you can retire” part of me came out. So off I went in search of a good stable job with benefits.
My search led me to a sales job selling copiers. I entered the corporate world as an innocent and naïve young 20 something. I remember one of my first appointments to sell a copier, I walked in to the C-level executive’s office with my pink shirt, pencil skirt and heels with my pink Douney & Burke tote. He humored me and started talking numbers, so naturally I pulled out my pink calculator and he began to chuckle. I got that sale, probably because I reminded him of his daughter or he felt sorry for the poor little girl about to be eaten alive.
That job lasted about 9 months before I just couldn’t take it anymore. I figured out very quickly that myself and corporate don’t mix. Luckily, I got recruited by a current client and their office seemed fun. Small, family run, and had a start-up feel to it with cats in the office and people walking around in their socks. THIS is a place I can hang!
This job was still sales but now phone sales instead of face to face. I liked the idea of no dress code, stable hours, a fun office, but now I had no room to advance. So, the search starts again. At this point I again was LOST. I tried the safe stable job. I tried the fun office. Now what?
Teaching of course! I mean, teaching is stable. Everyone always talks about how teachers have amazing retirements and I see all the fun things they do in their classrooms. It’s GOT to be the best job ever! Here is where I would insert and eye roll emoji. Yeah. NOT what I thought. No income advancements. No promotions. And a district that can’t pay out the pension.
So, what’s the point of my endless career search? The hope is that you won’t make the same mistakes as me. Looking back, I wish I had taken the time to get to know myself. I wish I knew what I really wanted, who I really was, and what sparked that fire in my belly. Because until you find that, NO job will be right for you unless you just happen to get lucky.
Take the focus OFF the money. OFF the benefits. OFF the promotion potential. If THOSE are the things you focus on. You will ONLY have a job for the rest of your life. Turn the focus on YOU. Who are you, what do you like, what is your passion. And whatever that might be, do that. THAT is what will bring you success, happiness, and a life you truly love. If you chase the money, you’ll get a job and paycheck. But if you chase your dreams you’ll get a life that YOU CREATED.
Stay hopeful. Stay positive. Stay you.