To add insult to injury, the relationship of the single person I knew upon moving here was beginning to change for the worse. I had started dating prematurely in an effort to meet new people and get out of the apartment but that didn’t work out either (that’s a whole other post, LOL). I was spiraling into depression. Just then, the pastor called in response to the note I had placed in his hand. My note had nothing, nothing, nothing to do with my financial or professional situation but somehow the conversation we had went there. Now I was a very private person, everything was a secret with me. For some reason with this conversation I just let it rip. I laid it all out there for the wind to carry it.
By the end of the conversation to my delightful surprise, he had offered me a job and I accepted. What started off as a secretarial position quickly grew into me using what God allowed me to learn, in Marketing and Management, to build a Communications department. I went from being the secretary to creating marketing plans to marketing deliverables for print, radio and TV; to meetings with the Mayor; representing the church at varies government meetings; to composing and winning $20,000 in grant money; to coordinating events for International dignitaries.
I still was not happy, if anything I was even more depressed. I felt like there was still something missing. There was a lot of negative energy around me and I didn’t know how to properly silence them. I began to have panic attacks and I never got any sleep. The weight gain followed and it only stressed an already broken self esteem. I was in bad shape.
I started to feel resentful of all the things I had done at the church because I was still struggling financially. Technically I was still the secretary and I was compensated as such. In addition to that we were, still are, in one of the toughest financial recessions since the Great Depression. Jobs were few and far between. I interviewed a lot but was always told I was “over qualified”. I wasn’t so happy about my MBA now. My depression was causing me to gain weight, I never got any sleep, my health was suffering, I had my son to look after and I was losing this battle. Convinced that I needed to leave Florida, I accepted an interview in Rhode Island for a position that would require me to travel A LOT. It meant I would have to leave my son with his grandparents for a while. I didn’t want the position, I saw no future in it but it paid well and had great benefits. It would allow me to get on my feet again and clear up some of my school loan debt. Yeah I wasn’t really feeling my MBA at this point either! This was my opportunity for a big change; a chance to regain normalcy and a chance at happiness. Because everyone knows that money, success, being debt free and having a prestigious job makes you happy. Right!!! I didn’t get the position. I was crushed. At this point in the movie I’m the crazy suburban wife that just threw all the dishes against the wall, overturned the solid wood kitchen table, reached for the hidden 22 and shot holes in the walls and ceilings then sat on the antique sofa that I just sliced with a butcher knife, smoking a cigarette. I was totally enraged and burned out at the same time. Something had to give.
After about 11 years of living on my own and two years at the church, I resigned from my position and moved back home with my parents. What… Wait… I don’t understand… can you please repeat that. NO JOB, NO MONEY, NO FUTURE! Not again.
Just in case you got lost follow the evolution with me if you will please: Graduated college, got a good job with good pay (happily employed), started feeling unfilled, wanted to be an entrepreneur (unhappily employed), moved to a new city, promised a job then didn’t get it, accepted a job then got laid off, worked for the church as a director on a secretary’s salary (under employed), my depression got the best of me, I left the church and moved AGAIN! (Unemployed).
Returning home gave me something that I had been missing all these years, the love and support of family. I do consider my closest friends family but nothing compares to the love of your mother and father. I was on the road to recovery but not quite there yet. Still questioning my career decisions and outlook, I returned to school to earn a degree in nursing. My rational was it’s a 2-3 year program and I’m guaranteed a career somewhere. After a full Summer and Fall semester of courses I quit. My heart wasn’t in it just like it wasn’t in it when I first started college. I was determined to figure out what my God given purpose was and what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I spent the next year reading, researching and creating a plan that would answer this question.
I sought out small to medium sized local businesses and provided them with marketing solutions as a source of income. I referred to my 1996 goal sheet and all the others leading up to the present. I looked for the similarities and grouped certain things together that had not changed through the years and there was my answer all along. I noticed that not too much had changed from what I wanted out of life and what I wanted to contribute to my life. I just have to go about a few things differently but the end game is still intact. I used that as a platform to change my thought process and my outlook on my future.
So where am I now?
I have two areas that I am passionate about, Management and Marketing (Branding). That has not changed. I love to manage and build/teach people, processes, policy and procedures. So the only logical thing that made sense to me is to fully devote myself to this area and become an expert in this field. Now as for marketing it’s my vibrant side, my shake in my caboose! LOL. I realized that having a career in marketing does not fit my personality well. Marketing has less job security and it can be very trendy at times. One thing this recession has showed me was marketing and advertising departments are usually the first one to be cut from the budgets and laid off. In some instances you find your job description rewritten to be more sales orientated less marketing. You always have to be on the verge of what’s going to be the hottest new things and how it relates to your employer. There is less rhyme and reason and more guts and glory and sometimes I lived for that. Marketing is not always that cut and dry. For a person like me that is always questioning what’s going to happen next? It could be an emotional and professional roller coaster. Thus, I fulfill my appetite for marketing by working closely with my church on varies projects and events they sponsor. It is a great and fantastic feeling. Not only am I giving back in a big way I am able to use the talent and gifts God gave me to spiritually touch another person. That is AWESOME and really brings me true joy and happiness.
Lastly, I have you guys. TakeMyFoolishAdvice was birth from the process of trying to discover what to do professionally with my life. Part of my goals in life is to be an author. I always thought that it would be in the form of a poetry, which still may happen, or a text book I forced my students to read during the semester. For now it’s this blog and my upcoming book series. Through this medium I am able to share a lot of myself with you. How can I expect for someone else to believe what God has done and is doing in for me if I don’t talk about it? This is a bit of my testimony and if you’re interested in hearing more about the obstacles and dark places God lead me out of, just leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to put up a posting in regards to it. The experience that I just shared with you happened over roughly a ten year period. There were other factors that contribute to my decision making and we’ll discuss those in future postings as well.
So where does this leave you?
I used a number of ways to determine what I wanted to do with my life professionally. One of the ways that worked well is drafting an ongoing goal sheet in increments of 1 year (immediate and obtainable goals), 5 years (half way to my long term goals), 10 years (long term, life changing goals) and then life goals (goals that can’t be contained by time but rather only by experience). By looking over the list from when I first started it it helped me determine the consistency and examine how to explore those in different way to still reach my ultimate goal.
The second way or exercise that helped me was completing The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose created by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood. I happen to come across this test through the November 2011 Discover Your Passion! issue of “O Magazine”. I took the test and I was very pleased with the fact finding and discovery process that I uncovered. You can find the parts of the article and test here. Please leave a comment for the full version to be emailed to you.
#takemyfoolishadvice there is no shame in not knowing what professional move to make next. The key is to make the most informed decision after you’ve sought council from God. Don’t be scared to reach out for help or even take a break. We have our whole lives, slow down some times. The world won’t but we can watch it race to nowhere. Someone once told me that “It’s not who finishes first but those who can endure to the end.”
Go back to Pt. 1 here