My mom has always told me, do what you love and the money will follow. I never believed her...because it never happened. It never happened, until a few months ago.I have had so many jobs over the years. A ton. I have taught at several colleges, I've worked in factories, I've been a bartender, barista, cartoon character mascot (for real). I've worked in a deli, I've done ad sales, I was the activities coordinator in a group home, I was a customer service representative (telemarketer, basically). I've been a babysitter, I've worked in two fitness facilities, I've done retail...I have to stop there, even though there's more...but I'm exhausted.
I have always been a hard worker. I can't not work. I have to feel like I'm contributing somehow. And I'm throwing stay-at-home mom in that category, because I've also done that, and that's the hardest job in the world. But. You. Don't. Get. Paid.
As for some of the miserable jobs I have gotten paid for...I've had horrible bosses who were far less qualified than I was, bosses who micromanaged the heck out of every tiny detail without focusing on the real issues...bosses with Napoleon Complexes - inadequate leaders on power trips. Bosses who treated me terribly, who didn't even treat me like a person...it's always seemed to go back to who's in charge as far as bad jobs have gone for me. I am capable of doing a great job and having fun while doing pretty much anything. It depends on who's telling you what to do. Are they nice, understanding people? Or are they hurtful, mean-spirited individuals who make you feel like Big Brother is watching? I've seen it all. And studies show that workers are happiest when they're treated well. Happier than if they made more money. It all boils down to kindness and being a good person. There is a shortage of that in the workforce, in my opinion.
It always also comes back to money, though, doesn't it? We need money to get by. My dream job? A writer. I have always been a writer; it's what I love to do. Getting paid to write has been my lifelong goal. And it finally happened. Instead of dwelling on how it wasn't happening, instead of continuing to go to jobs I hated, I started writing one day. Not for money. Just for me, because it comes naturally and it's like breathing to me.
A funny thing happened one day. A man, Phil Atkins, contacted me and said he'd read some of the blog posts I had written for a couple of different web sites. I didn't get paid to write for the sites; I just did it because I felt I had something to say. I wrote because I love to. And this man now wanted me to do it and get paid.
I was over the moon. I still am. I feel like my dream has come true. I'm not done yet. I want to continue to write for more publications. I want to branch out and write as much as I can...but this initial job has opened doors for me, and the first door came from me simply doing what I love: writing.
I know how discouraging the job market is. I know, I know, I know. Believe me. Some days don't even seem worth getting out of bed. I've been there. Just start doing what you really love, as a hobby on the side. If you hate your job, as I have many times, instead of focusing on that, just try to get through it for now, put some energy into whatever it is you really love doing, and try to grasp onto that ever elusive entity that is capable of making dreams come true: faith. It happened for me, and I'd given up hope - almost. I held onto that tiny shred of faith that allowed me to believe in myself, and I'm so glad I did. It will happen to you, too. Just don't give up. Never give up on yourself. You are all you've got. And if you ever want to discuss sucky jobs with me, I'd be more than happy to sit down with you and a cup of coffee and let you vent away.
The best is yet to come.