The hardest decisions you have to make in life often are met with not much support. As far as the old school mentality goes if our parents and grandparents were to have it their way we would all work 9am-5pm jobs whether we liked them or not, be married in our 20’s and have children at our earliest convenience.
I have always been a very independent thinker, I don’t like treading the roads that have been tread that many times before me. If I don’t like the situation I’m in I’ll make the decisions necessary to change that situation. I like to take risks because from previous experiences I have never regretted the outcome of taking a risk.
Going against the norm isn’t always easy. In 2008 I got a job that I had for the next 5 years and it got me through University. I applied, heard back from the recruiter within 10 minutes and 15 minutes after that I was getting trained up. 1 hour after that I was running practice questions on their server making money online.
Sounds crazy right? It was the job every student dreamed of, being able to work from home, the hours I wanted and making more money than what my friends were making at their retail and customer service jobs. If I needed extra cash one week I knew it was just a matter of jumping online and working till I had the money I needed.
The company I worked for was 199Buddy, I was an internet researcher and it involved answering any question that came in via text message within 2 minutes. Over the years I was answering a question every 45second-1minute and getting paid pro-rata. I paid my way through University from this job and it came to me at the right time and I never looked back.
It wasn’t like that from the beginning though. When I first started I told my parents I had got a new job and I started training in 15 minutes so I needed to use the computer. The reactions were along the lines of “what are you talking about?” and it sounded completely crazy to them at the time.
After the hour it took for me to finish training I was mentally drained. It was like starting in any new position; you are taking in a lot of new information and trying to implement it. In my case the company was in its infancy and I was thrown straight into the deep end.
I still remember my Dad thinking I was getting involved in an online scam and that I was wasting my time. But I stuck at it, what was the worst thing that could happen? I would have lost out on some of my time, so really I didn’t have a lot to lose at all. My first week I was so slow at answering the questions, in fact I think one shift I was making around $5 an hour as we got paid pro-rata. I was close to giving up after that first week but again I decided to stick at it.
Pay fortnight came around; this was the moment of truth. All those hours I had worked online, often to ridicule would either pay off or be proven to be a complete waste of time. It came through, my first pay check straight into my bank account for the sum of $616 and that was the start of a 5 year job in online internet research from the comfort of my own couch.
This was not the only time I went against what everyone else was telling me and I followed my gut. After spending 4 years at University studying a Health Science Degree in Clinical Myotherapy I worked in the field for 6 months before I realised it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t an easy decision to pack up and quit and many people closest to me couldn’t understand why I would leave a job after studying for so long.
I was in the clinic one staring at the clock and I had no patients for the rest of the day but I still had an hour and half of my shift to go before I had finished for the day. The thoughts came into my mind “what am I doing with my life”, “There has got to be more to life than this” it wasn’t long after I made the decision to quit all 3 of my jobs and go traveling overseas on the Camp America cultural exchange. In hindsight it was the best decision of my life and a decision I made for me and for no-one else.
Very recently before this blog even started I was sitting a family dinner and I was talking about starting a blog and my smart ass brother popped up and said “what it’s called? Entrepreneurship and going no-where?” he was laughing so hard at his own joke that it bought him to tears. In fact everyone at the table had a laugh.
But those little cheap shots are something that all people with entrepreneurial tendencies would have experienced at some point. They push me more than anything because that anger just fuels me to prove people wrong. It is one of the biggest motivators. People can doubt you are capable of reaching the heights you see for yourself because they are unable to do it themselves. If someone tells me I can’t do something and it’s something I am passionate about, my response to them is “watch me”
When people say you can't do something, your reply should be "watch me"
I was asked by a family member if I was free on Wednesday, to which I said no I have a Skype meeting with my accountability buddy. Again I was met with ridicule. It starts to get frustrating after a while. Just because someone else doesn’t prioritize something the same ways you do don’t let them devalue your schedule or make you think that what you’re doing isn’t important.
Currently I am at a crossroad in my life, the possibilities are endless and I want to take the right road. In my gut I know the right path but there a lot of things holding me back and I wrote this blog for clarity more than anything and to help other people going through the same situation. I feel like everything I want to do is made that much harder because I am dedicating 8 hours of my day 5 days a week to being in an office and frankly that time which is a third of my day is worth more to me than the dollar value any employer could put on it.
I try to discuss this with people close to me at the possibility of reducing my workload and I am met with straight up questions “well what are you going to do then?” as if I’d be taking a day off to sleep on the couch or watch TV. I almost feel like turning around and saying “well what I won’t be doing is conforming to the social norms that are expected as it eats away at my soul leaving me unfulfilled and unhappy.”
What to do if you are in this situation?
Step 1: Set yourself a deadline to make a change and put everything in place you need to make that decision an easy transition
Step 2: Make it work! If anything doesn’t work out it’s because you either didn’t work hard enough or smart enough.
Step 3: Put a value on your time. You only get one shot at this life, spend it doing the things that make you happy.
Step 4: Don’t surround yourself with people that expect you to follow that socially accepted norm. Surround yourself with people that will challenge you.
Are you going through something similar? I would love to hear from you.