Running uphill

It didn’t happen all at once, and maybe that’s why I didn’t notice it creeping in. I was tired, constantly thinking of money and how I would pay my next bill, and feeling lonely because my schedule rarely synced up with anyone else’s. I thought I was happy, and I really believe I was for a while, but the happiness faded quickly and was replaced with worry and concern.

Whenever I feel like I’m in trouble I call on a friend, and this situation required the person I look up to the most – my mentor. Joe is my biggest cheerleader (next to my mother) and has always seen more potential in me than I see. He constantly reminds me I’m smarter than I give myself credit for and to trust my gut.

I called Joe for help and we weighed the pros and cons of leaving versus staying, the questions the looped on repeat endlessly in my head, and the worries I had that kept me paralyzed from making a decision. He listened to my concerns of my future, options that had appeared, fears of missing something big by making the wrong decision, and feelings of abandoning new friends.

“I know you’re tired, but you have to run up the hill one more time,” he wisely said. The decision was made: It was time to search for a full-time job and stop barely scraping by. I love this analogy he gave because that’s exactly how it felt. I was working what felt like 3 jobs and going almost nowhere. I was metaphorically running with asthma up a steep hill, doubting if I was making progress or just not falling backwards.

Between an unsteady part-time schedule and dog sitting for a week at a time, I spent a full straight week applying to no less than 8 jobs per day. For the sake of my energy, my health, and my sanity, I needed to find a new full-time job and I gave it my all to do so.

Each rejection email made it harder to continue applying and my excitement quickly waned. Maybe I just needed to work mornings at Panera and evenings at Starbucks. There are so many people living paycheck to paycheck, maybe I was destined to be yet another uninsured statistic praying I never got sick because I faithfully drank a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every morning.

This was my life.

I was exhausted from an erratic work schedule, not sleeping in my own bed, waking up at 4:30 am and 6 am for potty breaks, and trying to sleep through the sounds of dogs whining for their owners’ return. I was living paycheck to prayer to paycheck, eating all the free food I could, and saved money by not going anywhere but a dog sitting job or work.

And yet, I kept pushing forward, knowing if I could get to the top of the hill I would find rest and a new view. My lifestyle was no longer sustainable and I had 2 choices: roll down the hill or run up the hill one more time. I was just hoping that this time wouldn’t end up the same way as the last time.

It didn’t.

I have a new job and I start Monday.

I will be an account manager for Aduro, which is a startup company in the health & wellness sector. I am joining a team that did not exist 6 months ago, and I get to be a part of strategically improving customer relations. My new boss is a combination of Joe and my last boss at Adventures, two of my favorite people in the world. There’s a lot to learn, and even that I’m excited about.

While I am sad to say goodbye to my team at Starbucks – the people who have been in the trenches with me and who gave me strength, humor, and sanity, I am more excited for this next job. I can honestly say the struggle uphill was worth it because of the view from the top.

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