I got a call the other day from my old boss asking how I’ve been doing. I explained that I’ve been doing well and enjoying this new chapter in my life. He told me about some new automation that’s been brought into the facility and said that I should stop by to check it out and to say hey and catch up with him and the rest of the guys. That’s what I did today and it was great to see my old coworkers and friends that I had worked with for so many years.
It’s crazy that just over a month ago I said goodbye to everyone and clocked out for the last time. I spent nearly six years at this job and obviously was able to develop a lot of strong relationships. I was asked by multiple people today if I missed it. The answer was easy, no I did not. There are people that I genuinely missed, but when it comes to missing the job, that’s a no. I worked a very high stress production job. The owner of the company was an extremely smart man who excelled in acquiring business. Because of the constant influx of new business the facility became a 24/7 operation. We were constantly short handed, you had a better shot at catching a unicorn than you did getting a day off. Employees were getting burnt out and although the leash on employees was long, turnover was significant. People can only hang on for so long when they are required to work their lives away without ever feeling the grace of there being a light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s disheartening to tell a buddy that wants to have a game night over the weekend that you can’t come because you’ve got to work. They might say, “That’s cool, we’ll just do it next weekend.” “Sorry man, I work next weekend too.” It’s depressing when you leave the grocery store or get off the phone with someone and they offer up one of the classics, like “I’m so glad its Friday!” or “Have a great weekend!” At least I didn’t struggle with the Monday blues, when everyday is Monday coming back to work after the “weekend” was just another day. What’s devastating however, is having my son look me in the eyes and ask when he can sleep with me. Having to tell him so many times, “Sorry, maybe next weekend buddy.” Missing out on those weekend trips to the beach or spending a Saturday at the ballpark.
I know that I took a risk in stepping away from a well paying job in the pursuit of my dreams, and honestly, there is no certainty that this will work out for me. I’ve maintained saying that I know it will work out because I have a high level of belief in myself, but at the end of the day only time will tell. (it will work out) I do know however, that I am no longer a slave to my job. Believe me that I work hard and spend time everyday devoting myself to my writing, but I make my own rules now and answer to no one but myself, and my girlfriend sometimes….. I no longer have to miss out on a weekend trip with a friend because of a smothering job, and no longer have to prioritize packaging vegetables over creating a memory with my family.
Driving home today after my visit I was able to reflect. I gave six years of my life to a job that went in a different direction from my passion. I had known where my passions lied for quite sometime, but until just shortly ago wasn’t able to take the leap. Working a day job that doesn’t satisfy you emotionally is normal. Getting up, swiping your time card, taking the punches, and going home, it’s all normal, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know what you want out of this life to hell with what’s normal, go get it. Do whatever it is that you need to do to align yourself with your dreams. Now I know it’s hard to put what’s normal on the back burner. I have sacrificed so much on a gamble that I can net my dreams, but do you know what’s just as hard taking the leap and going all in, settling
It’s funny to me how simplistic of a thought that is, but really you can apply that logic to just about anything. “It’s hard to work out and be in shape!” Have you ever tried being fat? I’ve been there and when you’re overweight and struggle to do simple things, that’s hard too. Simply put, life is hard. You can take the easy route and end up with a negative outcome, or you could take the difficult path that has a shiny trophy filled with pride and self-fulfillment at the end.
If things don’t work out for me and the money runs out before I’m able to capture my dreams at least I’ll have come out of this with an enlightened realization as to what’s really important. I won’t ever choose again to make more money at the expense of time with my family. Who cares how big your house is if you’re not in it over the weekend. Who cares how nice of a car you drive if it’s parked at work on a Saturday and not at the middle school where your son has his Tball games.
I want to make sure that it’s known how grateful I am for the job that I had. There’s so much that I was able to learn. I was developed and shaped into a better and more mature employee as well as man. I was able to buy a home for my son because of the money that I made working so many hours and days. So really, none of this would be possible at this time if I didn’t work that job so hard for so long. Without me selling my home to allow myself some financial stability, I couldn’t have put myself in this situation now. I’m grateful for what that job afforded me, I’m thankful that after leaving I was given the perspective of prioritizing happiness and family over a paycheck. And i’m determined now to give everything I’ve got to making my dreams come true.