Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do What You Love & Love What You Do

I know, I know, it's been awhile.  But cut me some slack...I've been busy getting a life!

It's time to share with you a little less creativity and a little more reality.......

I truly believe that once you have hit rock bottom in the job market, that is when you have no where else to go but UP.  I'm living proof of this statement.  After over 6 years doing a job I adored,  I was ready to move on to a position that would allow me to grow.  As much as I loved The Frame Depot, I knew I would never be seen as much more than the 17 year old kid who's grandma got her the job.  There was no growth potential there.  Although I was good at it and had a degree in design, in a company with only 3 employees, I would always be the low man on the totem pole.  So I left a world I was comfortable in to explore greener pastures.  Believe me, those pastures were more full of cow pies than green grass.  My "between" job was a glorified receptionist.  It was not only intellectually UNstimulating, but it was downright depressing.  For 6 months I faced the daily grind of having to actually drag myself out of bed every morning and psych myself up.  I became grumpy, irritable, and just plain mean to everyone in my personal life.  Although he never admitted it, I was beginning to not resemble the woman my fiance' had fallen in love with.

The benefits were spectacular - 2 weeks paid vacation, 12 personal/sick days, free medical and dental coverage - and the hours were perfect.  But at what point do you sacrifice your happiness for the "perks"?

I put in application after application to any job that looked somewhat interesting.  I had a few return emails (mostly asking me for my credit score before they could set up an interview).  And then nothing for a couple of months.  I got discouraged, finally accepting the fact that college meant nothing for me and my degree basically amounted to a wonderfully worded piece of paper in a fancy leatherbound folder that was currently in a box in the basement.

And then one week, I got a hit.  A gentleman called me from a company that I hadn't even remembered applying to.  We set up an interview and it had gone well.  It was for a carpet and flooring company that was currently seeking someone with a design degree (and preferably a woman) to offset the "salesman" personna that this kind of industry often received.  It seemed great and I was looking forward to hearing from him within a week as to whether I got the job. 

And then...I got another hit.  I had sent an impromptu application to an ad in the paper for a "personal assistant" having no idea what to expect.  A woman called me - one who talked a mile a minute and was full of "great ideas".  She went on and on about this clothing/interiors/furniture store she was opening up in a couple of months.  I was apparantly just the thing she was looking for.  She was going to hire me right away to help get the store set up and ready.  I would be responsible for in-store displays, window displays, interior design services, upholstery work, the whole nine yards.  She was even going to pay me extra so I could go and get my own health insurance policy until Dan and I got married.  Sounds perfect, right?  Well, I met with her business partner, we discussed details, but I was still uneasy.  This woman ran her life and her business at an incredibly fast pace and I was worried about getting lost in the fray.  I didn't want to tag along for this crazy lady's "fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants" business venture.

So when Carpet Guy called and told me the job was mine if I wanted it, I told him I needed a few days to think.  I went from zero prospects to two in just one week!

I weighed all the pros and cons of each offer and went back and forth trying to make my decision.  Carpet Guy actually called the next day, offering more hours, more money, and reminded me how interested in me they really were.  Needless to say, it felt good to be wanted!  Ultimately, I had decided to go with Crazy Lady's offer and would see where it took me.  It was the less reliable of the two, but it sounded the most glamorous.  Until the woman called and said she reviewed her budget, and realized she just wasn't ready to hire someone full-time yet.  Boy, did that let the wind outta my sails.  But the beauty?? I had another job offer on the table!

I immediately called Carpet Guy, graciously accepted the position, and started two weeks later.

It's been two weeks since I started this new adventure, and I am happy to report that this has been the best decision I've made (besides choosing to marry Dan, of course!).  I am in a position that is actually respected, my creativity is utilized every day, I have business cards with my name on them followed by the title "Interior Designer", and my diploma is framed and hanging above my desk.

So, my point, you ask?  At the risk of sounding like every sappy self-help guru out there preaching about living your dreams, I say LIVE YOUR DREAMS!!  I know it sounds cheesy, and I know for those of you still stuck in that terribly soul-crushing job it sounds as far away as the moon.  But after 6 years of a job going nowhere, 6 months of a job that left me in tears, and a million unreturned job applications, I finally get the opportunity to put my knowledge, instincts, creative prowess, and college education to good use.  I'm happy, successful, and respected.  And really, who could ask for more??

Check out my new career at the company website (and note the giant yellow banner on the homepage!)

And here is a image of the store window I got to design the first week on the job (the medium is discarded carpet tubes and flowers made from carpet company fliers)

And the coveted business cards that were waiting for me on my first day (I've given them out like candy!)

Until next time, I will be living the dream and changing the world one flooring sample at a time :)

1 comment:

  1. So proud of you Jess for believing in yourself and sticking to your dreams. I was very inspired by Joseph Campbell - thought I'd send you a little of his philosophy...


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