About a week ago, I found myself at a crossroad. I had just started a brand new job and was already asking myself, "Should I stay or should I go"?
Credit Image: wickenden on Flickr
So let's just say you've been job hunting on the daily. You get up, fix your coffee and start your full-time job, hunting a part-time job. It sounds a little strange, but we've all been there. Well, that's just what I did, every day for about a month. Luckily, it wasn't long before I started getting replies in response to my resume submissions. I would hope so! I literally went through every single job site I could find to locate a decent job in my surrounding area, based on my skill set. I'm sure I'm not the only one out here who has a lot of different skill sets and is well rounded. I'm everything from an administrative assistant, child care worker, a singer-songwriter, professional dancer/choreographer, hobby farmer, and a soon-to-be small business owner. I'm kind of the queen of side jobs. Unfortunately these side jobs don't always render enough money to keep my bills paid and move me up the financial ladder of success. There's probably an exception to this scenario, but it hasn't been my experience so far.
When I became sick around nine years ago, my whole world began to change, and along with it, my perspective. After my initial hospitalization in April of 2011, I realized I wasn't really living my life. I had these ideas of how I wanted to live my life, but I wasn't really living it. So little by little I started to make those changes. All I had was time to recover and think about how my world had been flipped upside down.
The interesting thing about it was all of a sudden I was beginning to take my passions in life seriously. I launched a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise the money I needed to print the CD I had previously recorded, co-written and co-produced with my guitarist and good friend. My family and friends rallied around me and wanted to see me succeed, and I did.
Unfortunately, there were still those people and friends who expected me just to get back to my old self and support their every endeavor. Well, this new gal had realized that I had already spent most of my lifetime catering to what others wanted, and it was time to listen to my own body and my own heart. I had always gotten along with most everyone, but, there were a few times that I had to tell some people off, in my polite way, and explain that it was time to focus on my health and my life for a change.
In 2013, I was finally diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis by Duke University, based in Raleigh, NC. Excited, I was finally on a medication that was bringing me into remission and off those steroids! Fast forward to this day, and I can say that I have been in remission for about a year. Now, this has not been without trials and without fighting for my health every single day. I will share all of that with you, but will save all of those details for another blog, another day, and another subject. But you will see how this story can apply to you, and in the work place.
So here I was, getting that call back for a job interview to work in an office of a local business. I was so excited to be getting this call! I wanted to get back to work in an office setting so I could help others and be that great customer service rep I know that I can be. I also needed that money to pay for my new health insurance I acquired through the government website, "MarketPlace." The job interview went without a hitch and the manager wanted to hire me on the spot. On the surface it was apparent we could be a great fit. We eagerly scheduled my first day, and off I was to mentally prepare for my new job!
I like to consider myself a positive and a loving person. I have a lot of tolerance and patience with people, especially in the work place. I figure that we are all working together for the good of others. Even when things don't go our way, in the work place or otherwise, I feel there is no reason to create a stressful environment for everyone around you. In my opinion, it is pointless and unhelpful to curse and take out your frustration on others in the office. I'm not perfect by any means, but when it comes to the professional environment I try to remain patient, kind, and understanding.
So this brings me to talk about my nine five-hour days in the work place. Everything seemed fine in the beginning, but I could tell I was dealing with someone who just might be the Jekyll and Hyde I feared working for. Every other job I've worked in the past, I've had very supportive co-workers and supervisors. All of a sudden I was already rethinking my decision and wondering if time could change the circumstance. Very quickly I realized that no amount of time, or morning meditation or prayer was going to turn this thing around. My decision of remaining in this environment was up to me and will always be up to me. Obviously, I needed and need a job to supplement my income so I can afford to move forward paying for my health insurance, my bills, and contributing to my household. My worries plagued me day and night. I was maybe getting 3-4 hours a sleep and the amount of stress I was taking on was beginning to make me physically ill. I was plagued by thoughts of "What would my family and friends think? What would my boyfriend think? How would this make me look?" I was already beginning to make myself sick all over again. During all of this I had news pour in of a family member who was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer and other family members with scary ailments that was adding to my existing worry. I also had three of my favorite chickens pass away within a week of each other and was trying to deal with that. So, I asked myself the dreaded question. "Although I have a brand-new job, do I stay or do I go?" Luckily, my boyfriend is a very talented corporate jet mechanic and has a solid corporate job. Although we pay our bills separately, I made the decision to go and get by "on a wing and a prayer" until I could find a job that suited me better. I have started back on my job search again, but I'm hopeful something will come along soon.
The reason I shared my story with you is because I want you to remember how important your health and your life truly are. We are not here to only work ourselves into the ground and pay our bills. We are not on this earth to be belittled and controlled. Life is so much more, and sometimes taking a risk or a leap of faith is just the thing we are here to do. Encourage others to follow their heart and intuition. Not everyone can afford to quit a job, but you can afford to entertain your dreams and desires, and work towards those goals every single day. Keep your fire burning, and don't lose yourself in your 9-5 job. One of my doctors gave me some really great advice ... He said "Laura, without your health, you have nothing." He said this because I was rambling on about my schedule and how I was too busy to go into the hospital. Before being hospitalized, I had worked a full 40-hour week, mowed my lawn, and played three shows out of town over the weekend. I was scheduled to play a one-year anniversary party of a business that very night and was fretting over what others would think of my cancelling!
So, I just want to leave you with these words. If you are overworked, unhappy, and so stressed that you can't even enjoy your life and take care of your health, maybe today is the day you write down your goals and "work" towards really living. I realized that I cannot remain healthy when working in what I believe to be a mentally unhealthy work environment. I also cannot do my best work when I begin dreading going into work each day. If you can relate to what I'm saying and find yourself at this crossroad, remember just how short our lives really are. Ask yourself, what is most important to you, seek it, and you shall find it. Remember to work for yourself a change, for your health, and your dreams. By taking a leap of faith, you could be opening up a world you never dreamed of. Take control of your life in this employers' economy, and stand up for what you believe in most. Know who you are and what you have to offer in life, and don't settle for anything less.
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