#DWIWtDWML: My Failed Attempt(s) to Start My Career via a Job

What my desk would look like, had I gotten the job I was looking for. | Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

As you probably already know, entrepreneurship wasn’t my number one choice of careers after graduating high school. The plan was to go to college and become an architect, but that’s not how things ended up. In fact, entrepreneurship is probably my last chance at building a career that will establish the impact I want to make in my life and legacy. I’m hoping you didn’t take that last statement to be dripping of melodrama or youthful ignorance and will allow me to explain the situation.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve experienced many failed attempts to begin my career with a job, but you’ve probably guessed that from the title.

Just making sure that you’re paying attention and not just skimming, although, there’s nothing entirely wrong with that. After becoming discouraged from the college experience, I explored alternative options, which, although they didn’t quite work as I’d imagine or planned, they did steer me in the right direction of what I wanted to do.

The alternative options I had to start and build my career outside of college.

So I couldn’t attend my dream school that I got accepted to, no big deal, but, of course, there were alternative routes to starting my career, even if it wasn’t in architecture, right? Not quite. One of the alternate options of starting and building my career involved internships. With an internship, I could build connections in an industry, learn from my peers and supervisors, and gain experience and credibility in an industry I could devote myself to. Easy right? Not so fast.

Most companies that are looking for interns, usually prefer them to be in college, studying either a related or unrelated major. Some pay and some don’t, though I’ve never done an unpaid internship (usually baby start-ups and small companies hire unpaid interns). Since I wasn’t too keen on going to college, nor could I afford to settle for unpaid internships; I passed up on lots of opportunities that would be a great fit, had I the resources to support myself without depending on income from an employing entity or was attending higher education.

I’ve worked about a handful of internships over the course of three years, including one of the top architectural firms in the country when I was fresh out of high school; I would’ve worked a lot more, had I not realized two things. One, working internships is usually a hit-or-miss; two, continuously working internships with whatever company that would accept me, would not grant my hope of achieving what I wanted to accomplish working internships for; you know, build connections in an industry, learn from my peers and supervisors, and gain experience and credibility in an industry I could devote myself to.

There were internship opportunities in my local city, from the youth branch of the career center, which I took, readily, in fact, 80% of my internship experiences were found by them, however, it came to a point, where they could no longer connect me with partners because I had so much to offer to a small business that the majority of their partners could not nurture and grow at a rate that was right for me because they were expecting to work with a high school student to do menial tasks, not groundbreaking projects.

Another alternative I had in building my career was to begin a job full-time as a receptionist, and either work my way up if a higher position didn’t trap me in a salary long-term or start my business as a side-hustle and make micro-investments and grow it until I can take over it full-time; whichever came first. There were two instances were these circumstances were perfectly in place, but for some reason or other, didn’t work out by inevitable, yet unpredictable occurrences.

It was inevitable that I figured out that a career in finance, just wasn’t for me and it was unpredictable that the perfect job offer for my circumstances could go poof because of another person’s inappropriate behavior.

The first instance was when I worked in finance part-time while working menial jobs on the side as an indoor saleswoman selling financial products; I did this for about a year and a half before quitting. It was a great environment to work, most of the agents at the office were encouraging and supportive, there’s a great support system of trainers, and a comprehensive sales funnel taught by some of the top experts in the company, and I loved that I was helping people get to build a better financial foundation and make some money on the side. But, I stopped because I didn’t want to build my career in finance, it was as simple as that; I didn’t want to waste anymore of my time doing something I wouldn’t throw myself into 100% or waste my coach’s time putting in their best effort to mentor me. It just wasn’t a fair exchange for the both of us.

The second instance was actually a full-time job offer as a receptionist, which initially was supposed to be an internship position arranged by the youth branch of my local career center, that I received from a private-owned realty company that recently became a public branch in Brockton, owned by a couple with 25 to 30 years of experience. It was a great opportunity, that unfortunately, I never became capable of taking advantage of. My first interview was with the wife, who loved my personality and resume in the first ten minutes and wanted me to be full-time in fifteen and we spoke for almost an hour. My second interview was with her husband, a more succinct one, which went splendid as well, at this point, it sounded like within a few months, I would become more than a receptionist in the company and become an apprentice in the business of real estate investments, sales, and more, something I am highly interested in getting into in the near future. I could almost picture my career here, this was it. Then, her husband tried to make a move on me, then passed it off like I could become a suitable wife for his sons. Which of course, left me feeling completely dejected about the offer (cringe). After speaking with a trusted staff member of the career center’s youth branch about the situation, I waited ten business days only to be notified from the wife, that they were rescinding the offer, due to “lack of preferred availability”, even though I had agreed to quit my part-time job to go full-time with them.

Bummer, but that was life. It was inevitable that I figured out that a career in finance, just wasn’t for me and it was unpredictable that the perfect job offer for my circumstances could go poof because of another person’s inappropriate behavior.

I absolutely loathe the idea of working a menial job and getting stuck there for 45 to 50 years.

So what’s the problem, Gene Al? Couldn’t you just go for a regular job (i.e. retail, grocery, etc) like the rest of the people your age?

Good question. I’ll try not to take it in offense, depending on your tone. That was an option I didn’t want to settle for. Seriously, I absolutely loathe the idea of working a menial job and getting stuck there for 45 to 50 years. I know, because I see it happen. In addition to my internship at that architectural firm, I also balanced my regular part-time job from high school at a grocery store as a bagger. Hated it 100%. Most of the customers that came to checkout were rude or condescending. You think people would need coaching on how to properly bag groceries, but trust me, they don’t. It’s a pretty simple concept and anyone that didn’t bag your groceries properly that one time, was most likely exhausted or not feeling physically well that day, so be kind to your checkout people next time you go shopping for groceries. Rant aside, the managers despised that I exuded independence and a roaring rogue spirit in a dismal place, and the female employees despised me, because they let their insecurities and internalized misogyny towards me get in the way of their work instead of minding their business like I did, no shade.

So it was a subtly hostile environment that I was working in, and by subtle, I mean, don’t let it get to you, because the toxic people there don’t pay your bills and you’ll probably be gone soon anyways if they don’t cut your hours drastically and permanently, first kind of subtle. While working there, I noticed the way I carried myself and the way other employees closer to my age carried themselves were world’s different from each other. I walked with purpose, communicated with others only when necessary, and focused on my work for personal goals in my downtime. My ex-coworkers my age, walked around like it was home, gossiped and joked with others, and didn’t seem to have anything else going on, except spreading rumors about each other and being on SnapChat. I’m not saying that I’m better than them or see myself superior to them (although they thought that at times), I just kept to myself and didn’t make plans to stay long because I had bigger dreams to chase.

People are usually scared of change and would love to remain comfortable, but because of what I’ve overcome, I needed change. I hate complacency. If I was complacent with my past living situations, I’d probably have died, literally.

I’ve worked other menial jobs, including retail and warehouse as a mere associate. Then, I soon realized something: I could easily get stuck here and never go anywhere in my life. And that scared the sh*t out of me. I’m not saying my ex-coworkers would stay at that grocery store or any other place I worked for the rest of their life, but I still see them working there when I run errands. Same mannerisms as always. Like they never changed. People are usually scared of change and would love to remain comfortable, but because of what I’ve overcome, I needed change. I hate complacency; if I was complacent with my past living situations, I’d probably have died, literally.

There a bunch more reasons why I decided to not put up with a regular part-time job such as a retail, grocery, warehouse, and food service, but if I haven’t made my point yet, the main point here would simply be the fact that because I wasn’t going to college and if I didn’t try to start and build my career and become the person I’ve always wanted to become since I was twelve, I would’ve amounted to only being just a bagger or just a sales associate or just a warehouse associate. My childhood was filled with broken promises and if I gave up then, I would be breaking a promise to my twelve-year-old self. Which may not mean much to you, but would you break a promise that important with a twelve-year-old child?

Alright then, so what’s the solution, Gene Al?

Obviously a rhetorical question because I mentioned the solution earlier, business. I’ve been interested in starting a business since I was eighteen, but I didn’t make the decision to finally do it and do it right, no turning back until I was close to twenty. I wanted to start one, but I was struggling to find my why, and slowly, bit by bit, it came to me, until I was finally thrown into making a decision when I lost my job earlier this year and my why finally hit me. I was simply unhappy with having menial job after menial job, when I knew I deserved better.

There’s gotta be something about your life that you’re so unhappy about that you have this dying desire to change. Do it for your children, if you don’t have children, do it for yourself. If you don’t know or you’re not sure why you should change your life for anyone for like I did a couple years ago, ask yourself this; you only have this life to remember, what are you going to accomplish in it?


Signing off.

P.S. Dear reader, it’s totally okay to stalk me on social media, I might get vocal about social issues or geek about music and design, there is no in-between. And hey, it was nice meeting you. Oh wait, read the first post of this series, here.