It was 2 years ago when I felt I had finally woke up. I had just turned 30, having a wife and child, making mediocre money, when I realized I hated my job. I was in a position I had been fighting to obtain for years, in a company I had spent a majority of my life in, and I was miserable. It was like I had suddenly become aware of my own brainwashing. Going through the motions that society told me to do, feeding off the propaganda that the corporation had been shoving down my throat.
“Work hard, move up, look at all your benefits, retire happy with a nice house and midlife crisis car! Be thankful that you’re no longer in the same position as the scum below you, barely scrapping by with their minimum wage jobs. Besides, you can never leave, you have no college degree, who will pay you what we pay you? No one!”.
I believed it, but I felt like I had fallen into a corporate trap. They paid me just enough to survive, but never enough to get ahead. I was doing 45–60 hours a week with an hour commute back and forth from work while gas was $3.99 a gallon, because I believed there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Still, the whole time I couldn’t get ahead because the money I was earning the company lined the pockets of old white men that I will never meet. They’re never satisfied either. You bust your ass and have a great year, making it rain on the shareholders, only to have them demand more the next year. “You did great, kid, now I want more!”. It all made sense though at the time, making them money is why I get paid! They had MY best interest in mind, it said so in my orientation manual.
“People first, because without them, who will pay for my wife’s boob job?”.
While I had realized the situation I was in, I had no clue what to actually do about it. It was probably one of the most depressing periods in my life. It was true, I had nothing better than a High School Diploma. There were no jobs outside my profession that would pay me what I was making, and I was the bread winner of the family. Taking a pay cut and making $8-$10 an hour with no guaranteed hours wasn’t an option. Even with my current pay I was still having a utility shut off, or an eviction notice on my door. I needed a long term solution, but was blinded by the belief that more money was the only answer. I began to see the world differently, even if I did make enough money to survive and get ahead in the world, ultimately, I still wasn’t happy with my career. Having more money didn’t take away the everyday stress of my job. It didn’t give me back the countless holidays that I worked, or the things in my child’s life that I was missing out on due to a work obligation. It didn’t change the fact that I came home everyday grumpy and tired. Lack of money was merely a distraction from what I was really losing out on, my time, my family, and my own happiness.
I wasn’t doing my life’s work.
The good news was, I had at least figured out that much, and if you’ve read this far into the article, and can remotely relate, maybe you’ve figured out that much too. The bad news was I had no clue what it was that would make me happy and keep my family fed.
Sadly, my first instinct was to check the internet.
“The internet will tell me I how I can make money playing video games, drink beer, and fart all day!”.
If I had a nickel for every time that thought crossed my mind…hell man, I just earned my ass another 5 cents.
The internet is great for posting selfies, watching Netflix, and fucking up celebrity Wikipedia’s (they’ll all get herpes eventually), but no matter how many Facebook quizzes you take, it will never be able to tell you what truly brings your soul peace.
Ideally, you’re lucky enough to know what your dream profession is, unfortunately, I wasn’t. I didn’t know what I would do if I ever had an opportunity to quit my job. Honestly, it took me months to really figure it out. Thankfully, I did it, because I was getting so desperate to quit my job, I honestly considered taking 10 cent surveys online for 17 hours a day to escape.
I finally learned that the one major skill I had outside of my profession was being a creator. I can write, I can draw, I enjoy making people laugh, and all that rolled out to the thing I felt could make me happy and potentially pay my bills while still having time for my family, being a cartoonist.
Having a dream in life for the first time was great, but the harsh reality is, there’s no such thing as an overnight success. I have no magic wand. However, having a dream, and attempting to make it a reality gives you goals, and goals give you motivation. My goal was now becoming self employed. The motivation from that goal is what drives me to this day.
Starting out in anything, the first idea is to learn from the people who have successfully done it before you. Turns out they don’t have a magic wand either, because any interview, or piece of advice regarding how any successful person got to where they are is: Work Hard and Practice.
Whether you want to be an artist, musician, doctor, dancer, designer, chef, actor, cage fighter, acrobat, programmer, blogger, or whatever, if you have a passion for something, do it! Find a way to make it happen! Just remember, that whole “work hard” saying isn’t just something successful people say to make them feel superior, it’s a reality. I try to lie to myself some weeks to try to convince myself I’ve put in a solid effort on my projects, but it still doesn’t change the fact that I’m not any closer to the deadlines I’ve set for myself. It’s hard at first to hold yourself accountable when you’re so used to blaming a guy in a suit for all your problems. Finding an excuse for yourself to not to go after what makes you happy is natural, and it’s not something that ever gets easier. When you’re trying to build your own business and achieve financial independence there will be days when you’re tired and just don’t wanna, or you have to miss a few episodes of your favorite show, or maybe skip a beer at the bar with friends, because you realize that the clock is ticking. No matter how passionate you are, you aren’t entitled to anything. Your passion should drive your work, and the quality and value of the product you deliver is what brings you success…that and patience!
As I’m writing this, I’m nobody special, and being special isn’t in the business plan. Even though I still work a day job, it’s not the same one I’ve whined about through this article. I took it upon myself to make a change. I do make less, but the money I make from the business I’m building helps occasionally make up the difference. Ultimately, the reason for me writing this is, I was once a guy looking for reassurance that I wasn’t alone with the things I was feeling. I lost a lot of time in misery, and if me writing this can give someone else in the same situation a little hope, a little motivation, or the encouragement to set themselves free, then I feel it was worth my time.
In this world, if no one will give you an opportunity, you have to create one.
Invest in yourself!