Since I was thirteen, I have held a lot of jobs.
Baby-sitter, nursing home activities assistant, smoothie maker, magazine ad intern, admissions student intern, real estate development intern, big box store management intern, claims adjuster intern, customer service associate, retail assistant manager & public relations intern.
Lots of interning. Lots of learning.
What did all of these jobs have in common?
In the beginning I was all about them. A-ha! This will make me money! This will make me happy! This is a step in the right direction! And then after awhile, my days started to drag on and on. Of course, there were highlights. I loved the rush that came from accomplishing a big project, making a huge sale or speaking to a large group. But I didn't love that I was on someone else's clock. That the harder I worked, the more the company, not me, benefited from my labor. In a lot of my positions, it was beneficial to stretch out projects and look busy. And when I wasn't doing that, I was bored.
Not so good.
I have been working part time for myself for about three years. I have been working full time for myself for about five months. I have ups and downs. But I never have days where I would rather be sitting in on a conference call or punching a clock. I do not wish for the stability that comes with a "real job".
I do not make a lot of money. In fact, without Paul and our combined financial situation, this would probably not be a viable career yet. (Or maybe I would be working harder to make it one? Hmmm, interesting...) But what I do make has steadily increased as I learn better business practices and develop more ideas.
I have discovered a completely new rush from the work that I do. I get to apply what I know into something I love. I get to make stuff. I get to dream and sketch and meet interesting people. I get to be excited about emails. I get to enact marketing tools. I get to try different things depending on my current interest. I get to scratch things when they don't work. I make it happen for me.
I do not know if this is a path that I intentionally chose. I started this blog because my junior year of college I thought I had funny stories to tell. At that time, I was twenty. I wanted to work in an office. I wanted to wear heels to work. I was excited about a new ad sales internship. From this blog grew everything. I am so glad.
My senior year of college, I really struggled to make my career goals a reality. I interviewed with big company after big company. I studied their mission statements and organizational charts. I calculated what would be the best path to the top. I printed resumes, dressed up and answered questions. And over and over again I got rejected. When it became clear I wasn't going to get something I liked, I decided to move out to Maryland and take a chance on a future with Paul. I figured since all else had failed, I would work at a paper store.
As far as my self-employment path goes, that was the second step I had to take.
The paper store and slightly-better-than-minimum-wage was life changing. I learned about retail. And letterpress. And stationery. And customer service. It was a creative environment that sucked me in. It enabled me to build my own job and work for myself.
I am grateful for my past internships. I am grateful that so many corporate offices didn't think I was the right fit. And I am grateful for this space.
I have learned and grown so much while typing here.