Monday, May 5, 2014

{What Do I Really Want to Do All Day?}

(In advance, this is a longer than usual post

So back in January I wrote this post about why I left blogging and why I came back - and all the happenings in between. Since that post, so much has happened - and in the same breath, so much remained the same. As you know back in December, I quit my job - without a plan, without knowing what was next, without much money in the bank as backup - I quit. It was one of the most stimulating and scary things I've ever done, and the day I turned in my notice I promised I would never allow myself to be in that sort of stressful and depressing situation again. So I took a few weeks off to regroup and to try to get back to some sort of normalcy and out of the blue an opportunity landed on my lap. This opportunity came from an ex co-worker, and came at a time when I didn't think that I was ready to go back to work, but I agreed to meet for coffee to hear about it, knowing ahead of time I was going to probably politely decline and "thank them for thinking of me and to keep me in mind in the future". But once I heard that it was a work from home contract opportunity (something that I always thought I wanted to do), the company was headquartered in Chicago (the city I've always wanted to move to), and my hours would be flexible (flexible hours for real?) - I was all in! 

The first couple of months were gravy. I was working from home, building great relationships with my team and my clients, flying back and forth to Chicago, my boss loved me, I couldn't have asked for more. But then something changed - drastically. The great relationship that I had with my boss started to become strained (for no justified reason) - one day I was told what an amazing job I was doing and how happy my clients were and how they wanted me to come onboard full time, and wanted me to name my price - to 2 hours later receiving an email that contradicted every (and only) positive things I was ever told. Since that email (oh how I wish I could share it with you) I started to really question if this was the job I wanted and many of the same feelings I had back at my old job started to come back. On top of that, I never knew what box my boss was going to come out of on any given day, and it left me very confused and stressed. And then on top of that - I started to hate working from home. I used to daydream about working from home, but I missed the people, I missed the office dynamics, I missed being able to stop by someone's office to bounce an idea off them vs. having to wait for an email reply or schedule a conference call. I realized that the grass definitely wasn't greener on the other side....but I decided to stay and to continue to try to make this situation work.

Then one day my gut said NO MORE. Because I'm still learning how to listen and hear God's voice, I decided to pray about it and asked for Him to plainly show me what I should do. Two days later I received another "uncalled for" email from "my boss" (I use quotations here because I no longer respected this person as a leader). After replying back to the email and having to explain myself yet again, I knew this was the answer I needed. How could I work for someone like this? Someone who doesn't trust or value their employee's. Someone who would send these crazy emails that were not warranted AT ALL. Someone that once I responded to the email and asked if we could talk live about these concerns moving forward instead of exchanging emails, would never respond back to me. Would never call me back. Someone who would throw another team member under the bus in front of a client. Someone who would speak so unkindly to and about their employees. There, plainly, was my answer. I couldn't.

Last Monday I had a conversation with the person who got this job for me, to ensure that our relationship would not be damaged based on me leaving the company. After I was assured that, on Wednesday, I resigned. It felt GREAT, but then the doubt came in and I immediately thought, it me? Am I the problem? Who quits 2 jobs in a matter 4 months? Without a plan of whats next? Yes, clearly, it had to be me. But then I remembered who was in charge. That God told me this was not for me, that He has something better planned for me and that I should trust in that. I can't say that its not scary - because it is. But its also exciting because this may be the time where I finally get to rewrite my story. The other day I told a good friend that for almost half of my life I've done things that I really don't enjoy doing. For the last half + some years, I plan to do the complete opposite. So here I go again on my own (having a Whitesnake moment) - no plan, no job, no millions in the bank. But I have faith......and that's all I need.

In a nutshell - the lesson learned here is LISTEN TO YOUR GUT - YOUR INTUITION, and know when to say NO! I by no means recommend you quitting your job without a real plan - but I do recommend that when your gut is telling you NO, and when you feel that you are in a situation that just doesn't feel right - listen to that and start making a plan to modify your situation.

Look back over your life. Was there ever a time where your intuition was speaking to you and you didn’t listen to it? You heard it but you chose to ignore it. As you look back now don’t you wish you would have listened? LISTEN TO YOUR GUT!
I recently read an article in Oprah's magazine about 20 questions you should ask yourself. Based on my current situation I really connected with question 5 which was What Do I Really Want to Do All Day. Below is the conversation Oprah had with Silicon Valley career coach Maureen Taylor, who works with top leaders in the tech industry and believes that you've know the answer to that question since elementary school. 

Q: How do you choose the right career?
A: Think back to who you were in second grade. Some psychologists believe it's around that age - the first period of time many of us can remember - when we become individuals, when we fully grasp the meaning of right and wrong. It's also when we tended to gravitate toward what made us happy. In second grade, were you an athlete, a bookworm, an artist? You're still the same person. If you loved to solve puzzles, maybe you'd like being a project manager, putting together pieces to form a whole. If you were the outgoing girl on the playground, maybe you'd like sales or marketing. If you were painting rocks, building houses for your dolls, and rearranging your bedroom all the time (like me) then maybe you'd like being an artist or an interior designer.

Q: And how do you know if you're in the wrong career?
A: You're not only stressed out - which is normal - you're drained. When people are in the wrong position, they're tired all the time.

Q: But we can't all make a living painting watercolors?
A: Sometimes you just need a modification. I have a client who had an important position in a large organization, but she was exhausted. When I took her back to second grade, she remembered that she loved helping people. She's now transferring to the nonprofit are of her company.

Q: What if your job isn't flexible?
A: There are probably ways to bring your essential self into your current situation. My grandmother was a janitor at the Empire State Building, but she wanted to be a manager. In second grade, she was the bossy kid on the playground. So at work she did the best she could, took initiative, showed leadership, and rose to become  head custodian of the whole building for 22 years. Even when the option are not abounding, just knowing what you like can help start your journey. 

If by chance you are unhappy with what you do all day, think about what it was that you loved to do back in second grade. While starting a new career is not easy, AT ALL, with a little reflecting, and a lot of planning, start thinking of ways you can modify what you do to be more aligned with what you love. 

Lots to think about!


  1. In 2nd grade, I was the center of attention. I was singing in front people at the mall while Mom & Dad shopped for you, Tara & Kendra. I was chatty Kathy, ALWAYS talking people's ears off. And I'm not doing ANY of that right now. Makes me think that my dream of doing public speaking or getting out in front of people again is really where my heart is at. Thanks for this, you already know how helpful it is! :)

    1. You know exactly what it is that you are supposed to be doing - and you are actually doing it with PFW. Just make your voice bigger and louder so the public can hear you. You did it in the 2nd grade - do it now!!! Love you!

  2. Jessica, thanks for taking the time to share your own personal journey. You were so brave--and you should be commended for it. I'm really sorry that you found yourself in a difficult position while working from home but I am more happy that you found God's voice throughout this journey. At the end of the day, I do think that hearing from God is one of the most important guides in life. He offers the perfect peace where there aren't jobs, millions, or plans. I know he will work with you through this journey. Keep us updated. We are rooting for you because God is made perfect in our weakness. HUGS from TX!

    1. Thank you so much for those encouraging words - knowing that I have my own cheering section sprinkled over the country. It really does keep me going! xoxo


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