When My Blog Became My Job

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Weather update: it snowed even more.



So as I sit here on my couch, trapped in my living room unable to leave because the wind is blowing icy snow everywhere and it's roughly 20 degrees, let's take a walk down memory lane.

Let's go back five years ago when it was 80 degrees on St. Patrick's Day. This really happened and to this day, no one in Chicago can get over it. It's still brought up every single year.

But I'm not going to talk about the weather, what I want to talk about is the job I had at this time. Or better yet, the job I was about to get fired from (the first and last time that ever happened.) I worked for a staffing agency and my job was to call on businesses and ask them if they could use staffing.

I worked in a small room, an arm's length away from my fellow female coworkers. It's worth noting that all of my coworkers were in fact women and under the age of 30- except for the male boss. I won't get into the details of the work environment too much, but let's just say it was odd. I knew at the wee age of 24 it probably wasn't the most normal thing to go out to lunch with your boss and coworkers and get hammered and then return to work, but five years later I look back on that time and am like NO. NOT OKAY.

Even worse, you know that outsider you have at the office who no one really likes? That was me. And I never could figure out why. It was my first time being on the outside and it felt terrible. It was also my first time working in such close quarters with other people, every single day, for eight hours a day. I think this was the first job that really made me realize I was a introvert. I didn't talk much, rarely chimed in on anything, but when I would decide to speak up my "humor" wasn't received well. So as I type this, it's making more and more sense to me why I was the "weird one" of the office...

Sure it was terrible at the time, but being in the position of "outsider" gave me good perspective and taught me to be less of an asshole going forward.

This was my first year living in Chicago and it was the hardest year I had; 99% because of this job. Having a job you hate makes it hard to love anything else.

And it wasn't just the social stuff that made this job terrible for me, it was the job itself. I hated cold-calling, sending blind-emails, doing the same thing, day after day after day. I'd had boring jobs before, but something about this one was different. I could just feel deep down it wasn't right. It was sucking my soul out of me, I went into work everyday feeling like I was a caged animal. I know that sounds dramatic, but I was really so unhappy that's how I felt.

I had breakdowns frequently when I would think, is this my life? Do I really have to go to this job I hate every single day forever? A job where I'm barely making enough to pay rent?

I know this is the story for a lot of people, but I wasn't going to let it be mine. I'm sure some would just label me a "whiny millennial" and that's probably true, but I also know that at this time in my life I could barely get out of bed in the morning, went to bed every night with an intense feeling of dread for the day ahead, and I just knew life could be better.

And don't even get me started on Harlow. Leaving him every day from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. broke my heart. He'd spent his first year by my side and then we moved to Chicago and I forced him into this new schedule of being alone all day. I paid a dog walker to come over twice a day but I knew that still wasn't cutting it.

So five years ago, during the middle of March, when I was fired from a job I hated on a random Tuesday, I cried tears of relief. I felt like I had been on the edge of a cliff and someone just pushed me over. And yes, I was going to hit some major low points on the way down, but eventually I'd stop falling and find something so much better to climb back up on.

Excuse my Hallmark moment there, I just let my words go and that came out. I guess you could say I get a little emotional when I think about that old job and how grateful I feel to be on my couch today, stuck in a snowstorm with Harlow on my lap.

As I rode the train home that day after getting fired in a Starbucks I took my notebook out and immediately started writing down goals and mantras.

This is the last time I'll let someone fire me. 
I WILL live the life I want. 
I will be my own boss.
I will make my own job.
I choose how I live my life.

Those are actual things I wrote that day (and every day) until they came true.

When I was forced into unemployment I had no other choice but to make this blog my job, something I'd been wanting to do for years, but was too scared/uncertain how to do. The next year would be hell as I worked odd jobs/scraped by with no money trying to get this thing going, and I'll talk more about that in post two, but eventually it happened.

I'm not trying to be Mary Motivational here because I know we're all in different situations and I can only speak for mine, but if you're currently in that job I mentioned above, know that I feel for you. And my unsolicited advice is that if you have any chance at all to get out, do it. Do whatever the hell you have to do, take whatever "odd/side job" you have to in the meantime to work toward that thing you can't stop thinking about, you owe it to yourself.

"Why spend your entire life working on a painting you don't want to look at?" -Warren Buffet

And now I have to go because writing a post like this motivates me, but also strikes just a little fear back into me reminding myself there's no room for slack. I can't go back to that cubicle life so I have no choice but to push harder today than I did yesterday.

24 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story! I am an introvert too and at almost every job I've worked, I've always been the sort of the outsider. I'm slowly learning to be less shy and get out of my shell, though!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

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  2. Great story! And look what a successful career you've parlayed out of this blog! I have a similar-ish story in that I was working at a job I HATED and was let go in the spring of 2012. With all my newfound free time I got really bored while job hunting, so that's when I started my blog. It's not for profit and I eventually found another job I love, but sometimes great things in life are disguised as shitty ones.

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  3. Loved reading this! I worked in a job I hated for waaay too long because I didn't know how to get out - or maybe was too scared to leave. But it was killing my soul just like you. In 2013 I was laid off and honestly it was one of the greatest blessings of my life! I scraped by for awhile too and that's when I started blogging (no longer do that) but I got into nannying and my life is so completely different and unrecognizable and BETTER now! I love reading other people's stories like this :)

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  4. Lucky! Drove white knuckle to work yesterday and today haha. I totally understand the feelings you had. I'm going through that right now. Although I really like my job, awful boss.

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  5. Love this! I hope to turn my blog into a business one day. Right now I'm learning and building it bit by bit!
    https://hotmesscoolday.wordpress.com

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  6. Couldn't have read this at a more fitting time - thank you! I actually just left a role in construction industry staffing for many reasons -- one being as you mentioned above being soul sucking and not a good feeling fit. Fast forward one week and no I have no clue what the hell is next, I've thought about starting to write - maybe into a blog if it turns into that but if nothing else I feel FREE and too am ready to be my own boss and own my day! Thank you for sharing - you rock girl.

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  7. I completely understand where you are coming from! I was in that exact spot ten years ago and I decided to leave my job without anything lined up. I wrote my resignation while on medical leave for a tonsillectomy and the relief I felt not going in that building every day over my recovery made me realize it was sucking my life away. I gave two weeks notice from the return of my leave and my lucky stars aligned and I got an interview the next day with the Agency I am with now. Things work out the way they are supposed to, it just takes us waking up and realizing we have to move a few things every now and then to get there.

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  8. I love this post. And I second leaving terrible jobs. I recommend it to everyone. I left mine just over 2 years ago, took a 79% pay cut, and made shit work until I got where I needed to be.

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  9. I have so been there. Leaving is so scary but such great relief.

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  10. My eldest daughter got fired last year from a job she had only a couple of months they told her she was terrible at it and shouldn't work with people,what the hell,Kathy is when working very much a people person, idiots. She is now a stay at home mum and for the most part loving it

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  11. That use to be me too, and I still get a little panicky and claustrophobic feeling when I think back on it. It sounds awful but I hated my life 8:30-5:30 and that just absolutely sucks to be that miserable, that much of your like. Even on weekends, especially Sunday, you can't even relax because all you can think is you have to go back the next day. Shudder. It's awful. So glad you got yourself out of that rut. I finally got out of mine and it feels so, so good to be free of that. <3

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  12. Thanks for sharing your story, I can definitely relate to being the introvert outsider in my last job. I now have the opportunity to take my blog to the next level and hopefully one day soon become a full time blogger.

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  13. This is so motivational. This speaks to me on a very deep level. I have a huge fear of being stuck in this sad cubical repetitive life. I've been very fortunate in the last few months, that I've got into this blog, and there have been so many opportunities that have been much more than a blessing to me. I have to say that I completely understand where you are coming from and I am so happy to hear that you are carving your way. You are making a difference not only in your life, but in others as well. I can definitely say that you've made a difference in mine. xxx

    Melina | www.ivefoundwaldo.com

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  14. Well shit, this just spoke to me...thanks for the slap in the face motivation!

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  15. So much love for this post! I'm reading How To Be A Badass right now, too, so I'm basically ready to burn "it" all down and take over the world.

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  16. This is something that I needed to read today. Thank you so much for your story! I have a fear of quitting and not having a back up but sometimes it's the right thing to do and you make it work! There is no reason that we shouldn't be happy!

    Jessica | www.jessicalefler.com

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  17. I quit my job almost two years ago to write full-time. I'm far from making a full-time income, but my husband earns enough money to support us both. I also do all the laundry, most of the dishes, half the cooking/shopping, all the dusting, and most of the bathroom-cleaning since he works full-time + commutes whereas I work about 25 hours per week. I also have a lot of health problems that take up my time/energy (like spending most of yesterday and today in pain), and not having a soul-sucking job allows me to focus on healing.

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  18. You can say you're a "whiny millennial" but you're the bread and butter of millennials, who whined that it wasn't enough and actually worked your butt off and are now doing what you love, an "unconventional" job and so you stood up and said "no this isn't good enough for me" and you CREATED something better. That's nothing to sneeze at.

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  19. This is how I feel everyday. I am doing what I have to do to work for myself. being miserable in a job is the worst. I am working to make things happen, but miserable, wishing I'd get fired. Sometimes being fired is the answer you've been looking for right?

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  20. This post spoke to me SO MUCH. I feel like I'm right there - where you were. I just moved to Chicago two months ago and I absolutely hate my job. I cry some Sundays knowing I have to drive 1.5ish hours to a place where I feel suffocated, lonely and unhappy. While I haven't been fired (yet), they've been consistently laying off hundreds of people each month and, to be honest, with the lack of work I have to do plus being an extreme outsider (first time for me ever ...) I wouldn't be surprised if it happens. However, I'd like to be ready for it if it does OR get out of there before 1) they get rid of me or 2) I go fricken nuts! I've always wanted to work for myself and help other female entrepreneurs and I really feel like this is the year it'll happen to me. I just need to kick myself in the butt and get a move on! Loved this post :)

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  21. Omg, THANK YOU so much for posting this! It reminds me of the job I had a few years ago - same feelings going into work and coming home, I worked my ass off, but ended up getting fired over things I had no control over. I remember thinking, prior to that experience, that people who get fired must just not being doing everything they can be and boy was I wrong! Now I'm in a great job with great people, benefits, some of my friends even describe it as a dream job, but it's not really what I want to do forever (8-5 desk job... sometimes I have to prop my eyelids open to stay awake!), so I'm trying to make this blog thing happen. We'll see! Either way, thanks for posting!

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  22. THANK YOU for this post. It really hits home. I've definitely been in that same spot before and it's a scary feeling, but so worth leaving something that doesn't bring you happiness.

    Allie | www.lunavidablog.com

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  23. Thanks for this post :) Pretty sure you have helped more than one person today! Office jobs/cubicle slavery SUCK big time! I can totally relate to what you have said. Some of my tales from my 'office years' (from sexual harassment to working with jealous post-menopausal harpys)are enough to make a grown man cry. SOOO happy I no longer have to do it, too! Love your posts :)

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  24. Sorry about the crappy job experience! I can't imagine getting drunk in the middle of the work day with my boss. That's crazy!

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