Have you ever met someone online (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) and wondered who they really are? You know, who the real person is behind the carefully curated social media feeds?
If you’ve spent time hanging out with me on social media, then you know a few things about me. Like how much I love coffee and how much I love love love books. I’m one of those people who swears that a green juice a day keeps the doctor away; and I’m obsessed with travel (but let’s be real . . . who isn’t obsessed with travel?!).
Well, lately I’ve been getting questions like, “How did you get started as a photographer?” and “How did you know when you wanted to change careers?” and “What’s it like being an entrepreneur?”
I want so badly to reach through the questions to the heart of the matter and say: We all get lost sometimes. We all start down roads and then want to change directions. And, sometimes, we’re all scared deep down that we might not have what it takes to make our big dreams come true.
And, yes, I too once had mundane, boring jobs. But I believe deep down that all those corporate jobs helped shape me in important ways. Heck, because of those jobs, I got some amazing business training for free. And that business training gave me the tools I needed to launch my own business.
So today, I thought I would dig deeper into my own past and tell you more about me. You know, all the mundane life stuff. Like the crazy jobs I had as a teenager. And how sometimes you have to walk down the wrong road in order to find the right one. Trust me, my life is anything but linear and my string of jobs seems like an odd mixture of events. But they all prepared me in their unique way to become who I am truly meant to be: an international pre wedding photographer, wife, and business partner.
Over the years, I’ve been an ice-cream scooper at Baskin Robbins, a dishwasher, an assistant cook, a head cook, a property manager, a data-entry gal, a grant writer, a teacher, a tutor, a banker, and a loan-processor. All before the age of 30.
I credit most of this to my mother, who instilled in me the world’s greatest work ethic ever. When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and read Nancy Drew. But first I had to weed the garden, help my mother with the dishes, or fold (what was in my mind) an endless heap of laundry. No matter what job I was given, my mother never settled for sloppy and she never accepted an incomplete job from me.
As a kid, I hated it. But at 35, I deeply appreciate the work ethic my mother instilled in me. Without it, I would never have the ridiculous tenacity it takes to launch and sustain a business. But more importantly, without my mother, I never would have developed a belief that cannot be shaken: hard work plus persistence will always, always pay off.
All these different jobs I had through my teen years and my twenties built an incredible knowledge base that I now use in running my business. When I worked at the bank, I learned invaluable tools to manage and invest money. When I was a property manager, I learned how to read legal documents. When I was an ice-cream scooper, I learned how to say “Hi!” to customers and make them feel welcome. When I was a cook, I learned that there is no recipe I couldn’t master with time, patience, and practice. And when I was a teacher, I learned the most valuable lessons of my life: I learned how to slow down, hear the needs of others, and respond with love and grace – even to a delightfully mangy group of 10th – grade boys. It was this last job—teaching—that truly prepared me for life and gave me the opportunity to learn what it’s like to be the adult in the room.
So whoever you are and whatever your passions are, don’t be fooled by the job that feels beneath you right now. Even if your dreams are bigger than what you’re doing right now, know that everything you’re learning has a bigger meaning for your life. Each job imparts invaluable skills, incredible lessons, and a sense of accomplishment. Don’t be fooled by a sense of the mundane. Know that every ounce of energy you’re pouring into your job right now will reap a multitude of rewards down the road.
Just hone your intuition, open your mind, and see that where you are is exactly where you need to be right now. Because right now you’re accumulating all the lessons in life that you need in order to prepare for The Next Big Thing in your life.
And that next big thing? It’s going to be great.
Go forth and live life straight from the heart.
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Want to see more of my photography? I post about coffee, books,
and thoughts I’m having over on Instagram.
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How my corporate job helped me get where I am today