Writing a blog telling the story of my life has been therapeutic. By retelling the highlights (and lowlights) of my story, I can relinquish those memories and allow them to exist in the past. And more interesting than dredging up the past is telling the story of the life I live now. To this point, these last few months have been a wild ride.
The theme of this blog is personal revolution and living a purpose driven life. Writing a blog that promotes such notions requires me to practice what I preach lest I lose all credibility. Well, I’ve taken a few months off from writing this blog because I followed my own advice to the extreme back in February when I left a cushy job without having a definite gig lined up.
For a few years, I had the privilege of working with some fine folks at a collection agency. Sure, it’s not a prestigious position doing god’s work, but it pays handsomely and opportunities abound for people with less than impressive backgrounds (read my “I may be a Bill Collector, but you’re an Asshole” for a fun read).
Things were great for a few years; I came in and made a splash, getting promoted and earning really good commissions right out of the gate. Being someone who knew the industry well (I had managed a competing agency for many years before coming to work there), and being able to talk the money in the door, they gave me plenty of room to express my creative, quirky side.
But circumstances were such that I could only rise so high before I crashed into the ceiling. After many months of poking, prodding and pleading, that there was no room for advancement short of someone dying. At about this same time, the freedom of expression I had once enjoyed was now being curtailed.
If I was going to be true to the mission and purpose I preached in my blog, then it was high time that I made a change. For months I carefully prepared and sent resumes and went on interviews with no luck (read my post “Finding a Job on Monster is Like Finding a Wife on Tinder”). Frustrated with being stuck in what was now a dead-end job that no longer gave me joy, I decided that I had to do something drastic.
It may seem like lunacy to some people that I left a high-paying job with benefits without having another job confirmed and lined up beforehand…but it seemed insane to me that I would waste another minute of my life working a job that slowly destroyed my soul with each and every phone call.
There would be no more waiting around. I rolled the dice and gave my boss my two-week’s notice thinking that I would have to pound the pavement and get something lined up right away (like in less than two weeks…). But my boss had other plans; he told me to pack up my shit right then and there and leave without even having a chance to say goodbye to any of my co-workers.
Besides confirming that this was not a company that cared all that much about me (and that I had made the right decision in getting the hell out), this also forced me to accept responsibility for my decision. This decision would truly test my commitment to the Personal Revolution I claimed to be undertaking.
I immediately set myself to the task of getting to work doing something that inspired me and paid enough to cover my expenses. I wrote out a list of activities and hobbies I enjoy and found that most of them centered around carpentry and writing. I focused my search in these areas.
I began scouring job sites, employment agencies and any other place you might look to find work. I began a campaign of letter writing, emailing, phone calling and LinkedIn stalking for 2 weeks before the reality of my situation finally set in: rolling the dice involves risk and you have to be willing to hang in there through the doubt and negative self-talk to succeed.
My persistence paid off when I found a job with a construction contractor AND a marketing firm that needed ghost-writers on the same day- exactly two weeks after leaving my job at the collection agency. These two gigs would pay me more than what I was making at the collection agency AND I would be doing the work of my choosing.
Fast forward six months and I am happy to report that I couldn’t be happier working in construction as a superintendent. I get to manage crews, climb all over big stuff, shoot (nail) guns and perform dangerous, exciting work all day. The people I work with are great and the company is totally supportive of me as a person. They honor and respect my commitments to other activities in my life.
I’ve been able to take a break from the marketing firm in order to focus on the construction work and get back to writing and making movies. This is my first real post to the blog since beginning this new leg of my journey. In the time I’ve spent away from writing every day, I was able to discern the reason why I began writing (and being creative in general) in the first place; I enjoy doing it.
I don’t need to be paid in order to be fulfilled by doing it. I don’t need anyone’s approval or adulation in order to feel satisfied with the what I have created. I want to write and make movies and build things and learn and explore because that’s who I am as a person. If someday I can get paid to do that without having to change who I am or what I care to create, then that would be incredibly rewarding. If not, I will still be doing it.
While I have not published anything in a while, I have many articles in the hopper that I can’t wait to finish. To those folks that have been asking me when I was going to write something interesting again (namely you, Seth!), I am truly indebted to you for encouraging me to stay with it. If this is the first article of mine you have read, you should read some of my other pieces for more of my back story.
I would be interested to hear your story. Have you ever taken a flier on yourself? Have you been thinking about it?