Hello, lovelies. I know it’s been a while since our last chat, but I’ve taken a much-needed hiatus after the craziness that came with graduation time. Now, I am onto my next phase of life as I transition out of high school and into college. This series I’m starting today will bring you along on this journey discovering this process of adulthood.
First topic for our series is about my first “real” job. Now, I’ve run my own business for a long time now, and I’ve had “odd jobs” here and there that have been contracting work. Primarily, I’ve been an assistant for a real estate agent, but that work is very inconsistent as she really just calls on me when she needs me.
Why did I decide to get a “real job”?
As summer approached, I was looking for some more consistent income. I wanted to save up some money for my transition into college, as I know I’ll need to buy things for the dorm, new clothes, etc. And, well, the inconsistency of my current employment isn’t really what I was looking for. And, scheduling-wise, I knew I’d operate better having a more consistent schedule for work.
I was fortunate to find this very opportunity as a receptionist for a marketing company called Vector Marketing. This job is a pretty typical entry-level job: minimum wage, part-time, making calls and scheduling interviews, etc.
What it’s taught me:
Having a “real”, consistent job has taught me a lot. First and foremost, it’s taught me that I do not want to work a job like that for the majority of my adulthood. I grew up with parents who worked normal, 9-5 kinds of jobs where they were working for someone else. While they generally liked what they were doing, I would hear them consistently complain about annoying bosses or pesky coworkers.
Now, I’ve had the unfortunate opportunity to be able to sympathize with those sentiments. My job is by no means bad, but I do have to deal with workplace politics, leadership that I don’t always agree with, and not having the freedom to do what I think is best for the company. This has reinforced that I don’t think I’m meant to work as a part of a company – I’m meant to work on a company.
That difference may not make sense to everyone. I think most typical workforce employees do the job they’re meant to do, and go home. But for me, I really struggle doing that. I feel the need to bring positive change to the company in a way that’s bigger than just doing my job and doing it right. I sort of subconsciously have been identifying weaknesses in the efficiency and productivity of the company, and want so bad to fix them. And while my boss is pretty approachable, it’s not really my place as a receptionist to come in, and less than a month into my job tell him how to run his office. That’s probably a good way to get fired.
But, I couldn’t just do nothing.
For a couple weeks in the position, I was feeling discontent. I didn’t particularly like what I was doing and the only way that it connected to my passion and goals was financially. But if I was going to enjoy my summer, I knew I had to do something to make Vector more relevant to me.
Last Monday, we went up to Phoenix for a Division Meeting. My boss had me tag along so I would understand the company better, even though the meeting wasn’t targeted toward receptionists. I noticed something interesting at this meeting. They had several successful people in the company talk and give advice, and, for the most part, it was all stuff I’ve heard before. The speakers spoke primarily about lifestyle changes – creating good routines, scheduling, positive habits – all the things I’ve been building expertise in for years.
Then, I had the epiphany.
A Vector Planner! Of course! This was the way I could make a positive impact on this business with the time that I have here. I started making sketches based on what I knew that our sales reps needed, and I approached my boss about it that very night. I also had the idea of running workshops for the team on time management and goal setting. I stayed in the office till around 8PM talking to my boss about the idea, and he was on board.
Now, I’ve made a prototype for the planner and have created an outline for the workshop. I am passionate about this. I know I can make a positive impact on Vector before I move out to the East Coast. I’m excited to see how many people on our team purchase the planner, and to see how it has the potential to grow to other offices throughout the country. This could actually become a good stream of income for me via ALT.
The moral of the story is this: with a little bit of ingenuity, you can create a positive impact anywhere you go using your own personal expertise.
I hope this story has inspired you to take a different view to your own 9-5 job. I could have complained about my job all summer and felt bad about myself for not finding something “better”, but instead I used my creativity to make it relevant to me.
Working a “real job” has also taught me valuable lessons about leadership (both what to do and what not to do), being a team player, and why I’m destined to work on the workforce, not in it.