Today, on Forbes.com, there was a story listing quotes from the women of Old Hollywood. Really, they weren’t just quotes, but words of wisdom about careers, success & money. Of course, I have some favorites, but the one that spoke most to me today was by Hedy Lamarr:
“I know why most people never get rich. They put the money ahead of the job. If you just think of the job, the money will automatically follow. This never fails.”
For me, this is a hopeful nugget of advice, a yellow brick road to my Oz, an end for my means. In May, my mom passed away due to complications with her battle with alcoholism. She is free. I couldn’t be more relieved for her freedom. But, as with many major life events, I was faced with an unsettling combination of feelings, including fear and a sense of being completely lost. I also faced the ice-cold truth that I was unhappy in my job and the career path to follow it.
I left my job – a very comfortable, salaried position from one of the biggest employers in the Pittsburgh area. I took a look at my options, deciding that I’d rather make minimum wage facing customers, doing something I enjoyed, than make a salary, continuing to work in a suffocating, cubicle, data processing position. I knew it would be tough, but I had done it in the past. I mean, while I was an undergraduate, I was working up to 3 or 4 jobs at a time to make end’s meet while taking 18 credits per semester.
I could handle minimum wage while in grad school, right?
Wrong. See, when I was an undergrad, I hadn’t gotten used to making much more per hour than I made at those 3 to 4 odd jobs. Now, I was used to a salary. I was used to spending my money a certain way, living a certain lifestyle and worked my relationships around these truths. I had to re-learn how to budget, cook creatively and date my boyfriend cheaply. And, it hasn’t been easy.
Since I resigned from my salaried position, my Downtown cubicle with a view of the city, I have taken myself on a ride, trying to find my new path. Tonight, on New Years’ Eve before the first day of 2013, I can see that I’m finally coming into my new path. After various attempts to find my new path, including a stint working in retail again, being a full-time grad student, and then working as a barista, I find that my current path may not be a perfect fit, but it’s an excellent start.
Today, I have a full-time internship in marketing at a school, continue my studies in the part-time MBA program at University of Pittsburgh, and work one afternoon a weekend as a barista. It’s just enough to feel overwhelmed to scare me into accomplishing everything I need to on a daily basis. It’s diverse enough to keep my engaged. And, as always, I’m a jack-of-all-trades, wearing many colors on my colorful cloak.
Sounds great, right?
Well, unfortunately, I am barely making end’s meet. I’ve had to ask for financial help from our parents, and have had to depend on others to make it through each month. (Luckily, they can help and I am so thankful for them.) For the six days per week I work, the six hours of class time per week, the homework, and LIFE, I am not even making half of what I made at my last position. Gas money and groceries are sometimes provided by my piggy bank. My morning latte has been replaced with coffee made in my Mr. Coffee and a hot shower. I eat Cup of Noodles on the regular again for the first time since my dorm days. Instead of buying a refill for my toner, I’m digging through my old products for a suitable substitute. My boyfriend and I have changed our date night venues from some Pittsburgh favorites to Chipotle or places for which I’ve found coupons.
And you know what? I couldn’t be more thrilled.
This bump in the road is exactly what I needed to get back to me. I’ve always made these thrifty choices, and I’ve always been most inspired and driven by tough circumstances. It’s almost like I become stifled the second I get comfortable, or normal.
Ringing in 2013 is not just looking forward to what’s in store in the coming year for me, but it’s also slamming the door on what 2012 brought. I learned a lot about myself, my family and my future; I wouldn’t trade these lessons for the world. However, I couldn’t be more thrilled to see 2012 go. I’ve made many goals that I’ll share in coming posts, but I wanted to give you a glimpse into where I am today, on the Eve of the New Year. With that, I’m taking into account that I’m doing just what Ms. Lamarr suggested. I am focusing on the task at-hand, not the money. Let’s hope her story is true.
And if my fortune cookies from the past few months are any indication, I’d say it’s safe to say I have some green in my future–