That Place in Life's Patterns
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
It's been a while since I moved away from San Francisco to live here in Greece - 6 whole months and 3 days, to be exact.
Since late February, I've had thoughts about where my life is heading as I launch my new online course - my first product launch in my own business - and divest further from the corporate world I thought I was destined for. The pattern I've noticed in the past 4 years of my life (a.k.a. life after grad school) is pretty clear...
I got to work for a well-known hotel right after graduation, a company that I could foresee myself working for since the age of twelve. By the time I had worked there for 90 days, I was told that I asked too many simple questions and wasn't a good fit, according to HR. They told me to go home and turn in my badge. I felt like I was being broken up with by a partner in which I had so much faith would last long-term. I fell into a form of depression after that...
Then, I kept working on my own wedding planning business and began managing a co-living house of 45+ millennials in the Mission District of San Francisco. By the time the fall season came around, I was hired to manage private events at a food truck park and ended up as the new venue manager by the spring time the following year. I helped interview, hire & train new staff members, and at that time, I had asked for a raise.
I never did get a raise, even though the staff I trained to do my job was making more than I was. I was told that the company couldn't afford to give me a raise, and that the new staff wouldn't have accepted the job if they were hired for anything less than what they asked. By this time, the presidential election was in full swing, and I planned a watch party for over a thousand guests who witnessed the plot twist and fell silent as Trump won the office.
I didn't know why I stayed even though I wasn't given the treatment I thought I deserved. But I did. Until I realized I was never going to get that raise... so I left. I continued running my wedding planning business, and I continued to manage the co-living space - both of which filled my life in the city with happiness & joy.
By February, I started working as a contractor for a startup, which I loved dearly. The relationship I had with that company was easily ten or twenty times as good as I originally imagined the hotel would be. Six months or so was all the time it took to get a raise - much faster than it took to achieve my first raise at the food truck park. One whole year was all it took to be promoted to Project Coordinator on the Salesforce implementation.
If you read the previous blog post, then you'll get to know the details about why I left, but the short of the long of it is, the company was simply unwilling to hire me full-time. It was heartbreaking to be a contractor striving to become a full-time employee for at least 9 months and being told, repeatedly, "just wait, once the project is done/once the launch is over/once Dreamforce ends/once the holidays pass/once we make it a couple of weeks into the new year, we'll talk about bringing you on full-time."
I couldn't sit on my hands anymore, especially after my compensation was docked down after Dreamforce. I couldn't afford to rent a place in the most expensive city in the U.S. + live without inclusive health insurance + not be paid what I'm worth + be told to wait... wait until when? Only when I said, "I've gotta leave this unsustainable situation," was I told, "what if we offered you a job today then?" What am I worth? I asked myself.
The pattern I noticed was that I was living and working at the convenience of others. Worse, I was creating my own path yet still let others take the wheel. I was waiting to be told or shown that I was worthy. I got tired of living that way. I've felt free ever since I've broken away from that, except for the bitterness that stuck around because I chose to believe them, that they would hire me back in 3 months when I promised to move back to the city after becoming more financially stable, living with parents & becoming capable of paying more on my student loans...
The dumbest thing I did was continue to pay on my student loans even without a job (because I thought it was the responsible thing to do). I was never hired back in SF. In fact, the recruiter who spoke with me asked me questions about her job, the operations department, the other department, etc. before she ever asked me about the positions I was interested in filling full-time. It was a huge red flag. But I got to see that the corporate world still wasn't recognizing what I'm actually worth.
If there's one way I can see myself failing to make my parents proud, it's that I won't be striving for the 9-5 job. I won't be doing "whatever it takes" to be hired by a company that offers healthcare or a 401k because I know now that "whatever it takes" may waste my precious time, money & energy - which I found out the hard way is worth more to me than serving "the man" at the corporate world's convenience yet at the expense of my true worth.
I'm unwilling to dock my worth like my previous employers did. I'm unwilling to take a company for their word (life lesson: get any company's promise in writing, otherwise they can be all talk, no matter how much it says it cares about you). Still bitter? Maybe. But I'm definitely happier creating my own path and steering my own life's journey. That freedom is worth everything to me. I won't let that old pattern continue.
When you disrupt your life with a new direction, you open doors you would've never thought possible before. Now, I'm in the final round for an acting gig in China (all expenses paid); and being an independent travel agent allows me to travel at the best rates I've ever seen. Still bitter? Well, not really. The journey has been worth the new destination, which I'm coming to find is... all over the globe. Here's a powerful article that effectively sums up my frustrations and motivation to do something about it.