Love Your Job…or Leave It!

I’ve had my share of shitty jobs. I’ve only recently begun a civilian career that I love. The first 22 years of my work life were trial and error. As a child,  I began to admire my mother for her hard work. I watched her go to work, day after day, and she even pursued and education at one point. She was a single mother, and I’ll always admire and respect her for working so hard for my three brothers and I. Watching her as I grew instilled in me a dedicated, loyal, hard-working spirit, and for that I am forever grateful.

I began my adventures in the workforce as a child, pulling weeds in my grandparents garden, hauling wood, and collecting blackberries to sell. The summers I spent at the farm working taught me more than a book ever could. I remember blowing my first big paycheck at the Dollar Store. It felt really good to get what I wanted, even if it meant getting a bit dirty in the process.

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I learned the value of back-breaking work when I became a housekeeper at a local hotel as a young teenager. Making beds, scrubbing showers, and cleaning toilets is hard labor. Not only that, but it is seriously undervalued by the customers that take advantage of it.I moved on to retail at one point and enjoyed the less labor intense vibe, and I really enjoyed things, so it was a good gig. I knew at one point though, I had to get a “real” job.

I joined the Army at 19 years old, turned 20 in Basic Training. It taught me valuable lessons about self-will, teamwork, and leadership. I still serve in the Reserves. I’m passionate about it, but admittedly with all the recent political stress, I just want to hang my hat up. I drive on though, knowing the retirement is what is best for my family, and knowing the Army needs me to do my job.

Now we get to the good stuff, my passion. I found my passion when I found myself in Recovery. When I became sober, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I found my purpose, helping others. The Army helped put me through college, and my husband was instrumental in ensuring I graduated. I’m currently working as a mental health provider for a local non-profit psych clinic. I help those who are suicidal, homicidal, or psychotic get the help they need. I just finished my MA in Human Services Counseling specializing in Addiction and Recovery. Where specifically it’s taking, me, I don’t know, but I know I’m on the right track. I hope blogging and writing becomes a full-time career, but for now it’s a hobby.

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How did I get here? How did someone who once scrubbed toilets and pulled weeds for a living get to live out my passion and dream job?

First,I realized that there is a purpose for even the shittiest of jobs. Pulling weeds and stacking wood created memories that I still cherish today. It installed in me a love and appreciation for the outdoors, and it helped me spend more time with my Grandpa (he didn’t live a real long life). Being a housekeeper at a hotel gave me a respect for those in the service industry, I will always leave a special tip and note for the housekeeper, because I know how special they are. Once when I was working retail, a little old lady presented to buy something, and ended up being a sign from God. Had I not worked there, I would have missed his message that day. Even the worst jobs have a purpose, God will use you where ever you are, best believe.

Second, I took risks. I got uncomfortable. Joining the Army was never part of my plans, but after nearly failing high school and being addicted to drugs, I knew that I had to get uncomfortable if I wanted to change. I knew I would have to go to war, so I did, and I survived because I have another purpose…to help others grow. Once I was settled into motherhood, the easy thing would have been to put off college until they are grown. I chose again to be uncomfortable, I took the risk of pursuing an education while they were little, and it paid off.

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Third, I found my passion. Not only did I find it, I had the courage to pursue it. “The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling” (Fabienne Fredrickson). If you’re not sure what you are passionate about, find what makes your heart race. What connects your soul to the planet? Do that. If you struggle with courage, work on that first.  Sometimes it takes decades to prepare yourself, sometimes it happens overnight. Not everyone is ready to take the plunge right away, which brings me to my next and final point.

Finally, if you choose to play it safe, you have to learn to appreciate the mundane of your choice. If you don’t make a change or a move because you’re comfortable, than appreciate that comfort! There’s something to be said for the loyal employee that does the same job for many years at a time. That’s commitment, and commitment is something you can be proud of too.

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If you’re thinking of switching it up or putting yourself out there, that’s great! There are a ton of resources available online for you to use. I recommend you do your research and start with the basics. Check on Google, Or better yet, check on Pinterest and build your own career or vision boards. Find reputable sites for the following: Resume Writing, Job Searches, Interviewing Tips, Skills and Gifts Tests, and Personality Tests. All theses things will help you move forward with confidence if you just can’t learn to love the job you have.

Until then, stay sober my friends!

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