It was St. Patrick’s Day, 1999. Doesn’t that just sound like eons ago? And yet, I can remember it like it was yesterday.
It was my first day at a new job. I had been hired at an “up and coming” telecommunications company as a software developer. They had offered me a generous salary. And a pager (back then that was the bomb.com) and a little security card that I had to swipe to get into my department. I felt semi-important with my new hardware and my new salary and my cool cubicle.
And I wanted to be thrilled about my new job. I really tried to be, but I knew in my knower that I was faking it. I was NOT in the right job. Heck, I wasn’t even in the right industry. I had just worked for 5 years at night school to graduate Magma Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in a field that I could have cared less about…..Computer Based Info Systems.
My heart totally wasn’t in it. I had sold out on my passion (Interior Design) for a career where the $$$ was…. or so I thought. I even went so far as to tell my college counselor that I couldn’t make enough money at design work, so I had her put me in the computer field. What on earth was I thinking?
So, it’s my first day at this new job. And I found myself at lunch time watching the St. Patrick’s Day parade out the window of our high-rise building in downtown Kansas City. I will never, ever, ever forget how I felt that day. Everyone in my department had went out to lunch and because they were sweet….they had asked me to go. But I didn’t want to. These were all real life techie people who spoke a language that I just couldn’t even fake very well. I didn’t want to do lunch. I felt like I should have been happy, but I was miserable. I just watched the parade out the window and wondered what on earth had I gotten myself in to? I literally watched and cried and called my husband in tears. I thought perhaps I was just having “a moment”. But the truth was, I was 29 years old with a “great career” ahead of me and “a bright future” and I just could not convince my soul of it. I was in the wrong career and I knew it.
Fast forward about a year and that “up and coming” company had massive layoffs which eliminated my position.
And thank God.
Because my passion had never been in a cubicle with a Nextel. I wanted a paint brush and a business card. And I don’t know that I would have ever had the guts to quit and do what I loved had my hand not been forced. That layoff allowed me to start my dream full-time. And although I was scared out of my mind, that was my opportunity to see if I could make this “painting thing” work and make a living at it.
And that was almost 14 years ago. And what a career it has been. Today, I have a whole team of ladies who work with me. We have been on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” 3 times. We have traveled out-of-town to work in beautiful homes with more bathrooms than anyone will ever need. I have been on TV and radio and I just released a line of DIY e-videos training other people how to do what we do. It terrifies me now to think of how my soul would have just wasted away in that cubicle. I am so, so grateful for people who love their office jobs, but it just was never for me.
And so I pray for you. We all know when we are “faking it” for the sake of security and making the mortgage payment and trying to fulfill the expectations from others. And it’s a miserable place to be.
Many of us know what it feels like to sit on the sidelines and to watch “our own parade” go by. It’s just so miserable. And I never, ever, ever want you to get to the end of your life and wonder if you could have ever made it at a different career…. one that you daydreamed about and obsessed over and were meant to be in. Regret is a horrible thing my friends.
And so I pray that this week you will allow yourself to DREAM. Really DREEEEEEEAM about your future. I don’t care if you are 29 or 59…..you are gonna be that age anyway. You may as well grow older doing something you love. I encourage you this week to make little changes….. just itty bitty changes to walk in the direction of your TRUE calling in life. Maybe tell a friend your dream. Maybe pick a biz name. Maybe draw up a business plan. Maybe just begin to google things. Maybe pray God would open some doors and be open to Him closing some others one. Just do SOMETHING to stir your soul!
For there is no better parade than the one where you are right where you are supposed to be….. walking in your calling…..living out your dreams….. and blessing others in the process.
I wish you the luck of the Irish and God’s very best!!!
Spring does tend to inspire everyone with new thoughts, new ideas. I have been thinking of taking my business in a different direction for over a year now. This is going to be a now or never decision for me. Thank you Jennifer for continuing to encourage, motivate and inspire others.
You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. I feel like your story has been my story, but I am just starting my new adventure. Your words have been so uplifting at a time where I was starting to doubt my decision. I am so ready to start my day today with new hope. Thank you again.
I don’t know how I came across your facebook page, but I felt like there was a reason. I was just thinking this morning how awesome your energy level is, what a passion for life you have, and love how down to earth you are. Don’t know how you find time for us “peeps” in the cyber world, but glad that you do! I was shocked to find out you are in my hood! I live in Merriam, and work in city government and KNOW your St. Patty’s Day story like no other. It’s crushing my creative soul. I hope I can meet you some day, I would be doing cartwheels down the hall! You are such an inspiration, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your work!
YOU SPOKE TO MY SOUL! EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR!
Thanks for this post! May the Lord continue to bless you!