Have you ever looked at people who have it all? Their lives seem to be so easy, right? They have a fab job they love, or maybe a beautiful house with that cool swing hanging from a tree in their front yard, or they have a fancy hybrid that lets them save tons on gas, or they are married to like, the perfect guy who makes them oatmeal pancakes with apple chunks for breakfast on Sundays and does all the cleaning…
But then you look at the things that you love in your own life, and realize that they took years of sweat and hustling to achieve, right?
Right now, I’m proud to say that I finally got a job offer for an awesome permanent job with benefits!!! And it’s at a really great place to work, where I think that I can really make a difference.
Having said this, I’ve noticed a few friends were telling me how lucky I am (in the way that sounded like they thought I got the job through dumb luck or by accident), or wondering if I was qualified for the role. Well, you don’t have that specific experience, do you? Some of the things that some people already said to me make it sound as if the job just landed on my lap wasn’t a result of hard work and perseverance. Or that it was through connections.
So today, I wanted to address how we achieve the things we really want, and if there’s ever an easy route towards them.
In my opinion, there isn’t an easy route. Unless you’re the son of a prince and will be forever royal, most things in life have to be earned and can be easily taken away. Even the progeny of billionaires or well-connected political families have to fight for respect or to be taken seriously. Sure, connections might help, but in the end you have to do the work hard to prove who you are because no amount of wealth or connections is limitless. If you blow your chances enough, none of these will matter.
Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to get what I wanted the easy way. I know that I will always truly appreciate having a stable job, or not worrying about benefits, or working a 9-5 job instead of 5am to 8pm six to seven days a week. Or not feeling guilty taking Thanksgiving Day off because I know that I’ll end up losing money by not working on a holiday. And that’s because I know how hard it was not to have those things, and how long it took me to get there.
In my case, finally finding my dream job took a ton of perseverance – i.e. I applied to somewhere between two and three thousand jobs over three long years. I wanted to give up a lot, especially when many job applications took at least five to ten hours of my time, and I often heard not a single word back. Not one.
I can’t count how many times I worked a twelve to fourteen hour day, only to come home to stay up til midnight for the third night in a row to finish up one job application.
And it wasn’t just the amount of time I spent searching for jobs, or applying for them. It’s also the sheer misery, panic and fear I faced every morning, never knowing if today would be the day that they let us all go, that the project would end, that the whole work pool would dry up for a few months, that I’d work with really, truly horrible people, that I’d work in a really disorganized place where they’d put us on hold for half the week where we were technically still attached to the project, but not allowed to work as the employer hadn’t gotten their act together to get the work ready for us.
Before entering the temporary workforce, I had never encountered bitter or cruel people in my day-to-day life. Sure, I had met mean people, but I never had to see them for ten hours every day, and I sure as hell didn’t have to sit across from them for a year. I had never been gossiped about, or harassed. This was all new to me. And I think these things are all possible for anyone at any job. But I believe that there is something about a temporary job that says “All bets are off!” and allows people to let out their worst characteristics because they feel that there is nothing to lose.
Don’t get me wrong, for every miserable jerk I encountered, there were three really fantastic people that showed me kindness and compassion. But call me sensitive, or call me human, but when you deal with nasty people on a day-to-day basis, this can really color your outlook on life.
So for me, knowing that I’ll be in a positive work environment is something I know that I sought out. I realized that as much as I needed a full-time job with benefits, it wouldn’t be worth it if I wasn’t also working with really nice people. So that was another requirement I placed on my internal checklist for my next job. I told myself I wouldn’t settle for less.
At the same time, I had to be less restrictive in other fields. I realized that there were countless jobs that would use my legal skills, but did not require me to be an attorney. So I expanded my search to other professional positions that were not specifically for attorneys.
The biggest thing was to let go of any predispositions of where I wanted to end up. Geography became a lot less important to me. If I wanted to work with good people, and have a stable career, I realized that I’d have to be flexible on where I would end up. And so, I also had to give up a lot in terms of proximity to family and friends for my dreams to come true.
As you’ve noticed, at least in my case, I had to work my tail off to get where I am, I had to go through some pretty miserable circumstances, and I had to be willing to give up my preconceived notions of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to end up. So you might agree with me that it’s a bit offensive when friends assume that a job fell into my lap, or when someone thinks that I might not be qualified for something. I was very thoughtful in developing my career, but at the same time had to give up a lot of things I thought I wanted in order to get down to my core values.
So no, for me, there wasn’t an easy route, and I don’t believe that there is an easy route for things that are worth it. There will be growing pains. There will be concessions. There will be a moment where you step out on a limb by yourself and pray that it all works out. But if you really want something, then you have to fight for it! And don’t let anyone doubt that you deserve your dreams, or that you didn’t earn it or want it enough. Only you know, and can ever know, just how much you wanted something, just how hard you worked for it, just how much you gave up to be there! So fight on, and be proud of where you are!
What are/were your dreams, and what steps have you taken towards achieving them? Do you think that anything worthwhile comes easily to others – if so, has anything come effortlessly to you? In what way do you think we should support our friends, whether or not they’ve achieved their dreams?
Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!
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