Monday, January 10, 2011

Goal Getter Gurl!

Yep! I've now branched out into 3G – Goal Getter Gurl!

Recently, I spent some time creating a 'goal board'. When I have discussed this with people, many have asked me, "What is a goal board?!" A goal board is many things. To me, it is a tangible piece of foam board with magazine clippings haphazardly pasted to it displaying, in visual form, the goals that I am aspiring to accomplish. To others, it is created on a computer, a cell phone, lists, and I'm sure there are a billion other forms of this so-called goal board. I am writing this blog to document my new quest to fulfill the goals that I have set for myself. My hope is that in writing this blog, I will be able to look back on it and view the goals I have accomplished, inspire people to make change in their own lives, and create conversation and mutual encouragement amongst others sacrificing and working hard to achieve their goals! 

This project didn't just begin with a goal board, so let's rewind to the beginning. In 2006, I finished my masters degree in interpreting and translation. I had high hopes for becoming a legendary translator/interpreter/subtitler. Then...reality hit. Upon returning home, I discovered that interpreters were easily taken advantage of by agencies who charged a lot and paid interpreters little. Hospitals wanted you to work "casually" (aka: up to full time) spending your time amongst the ill and yet offered no benefits. Additionally I realized that, at that time, I didn't have near the amount of connections necessary to be a freelance interpreter and translator.

Fast forward to 2008. I began a new career working in worker's compensation for a small company providing rehabilitation services. The pay was great (which I desperately needed at the time as I was up to my ears in debt), it offered me the ability to utilize my language skills, and frankly, it was a job! I began working, diving right in and learning as I went. I also learned a few other things: 1) It doesn't matter how good the pay is, dreading going to work every night is miserable. 2) Small companies have their advantages but also realize that your boss IS human resources. You better like him or her. They can make or break the job. 3) Stress is no fun.

Now to the present. After two and half years of hard work and paying off debt, I had enough. One Sunday night, while suffering the usual dread of thinking of returning to work in the morning, I happened across a Facebook link to a blog called, “Zero Dean.” It was about a seemingly cool guy who made a drastic move to change the direction of his life. (Check out his blog at Frequently, in my own life, I had days where all I thought about was leaving and going to the airport to grab the next flight to anywhere. This along with many other events, really got me thinking about where I also was heading in life. Was I going to become complacent like so many other people I had met? Complacent about my OWN life?! I have the fortune of not being tied down to anyone or what was stopping me?

So, I took the leap of faith. I had many days of crying (having to do with the mental debate of what to do, despite the answer being quite clear) and discussions with close friends and family prior to jumping. My sister reminded me that God did not put me on this earth to feel miserable and that He wanted me to use my talents. My close friend, Mary, told me that if I jumped, God would have a safety net there for me.

Guess what? They were right!

Prior to the leap, I went home one night to have the difficult discussion with my parents about leaving my job as I was too emotionally stressed, overburdened and felt that I was putting my goals and passions behind for a job that was ultimately making me unhappy. I asked to do what every 28 year old dreads, "Mom and Dad, can I move back home?" I feared seeing the looks of disappointment on their faces. I didn't want them to think that I was a 28 year old screw up who was bailing out of adult responsibilities. I was well aware of the generation that they came from: the baby boomers. The generation where even the prospect of leaving a job without having another was, quite simply, something you just didn't do.

I didn't get that returned look of disappointment. The response was of love and concern. Yes, they were concerned that I didn't have another job but they also realized that my emotional well-being was more important. I was blessed with the words that every child longs to hear, "You will always have a home here." We had a discussion that perhaps I would never find a job that makes me happy, that some people never find that job. The conclusion was made however, that I would be supported to pursue something new and start over.

I still debated for a couple of weeks. My wheels were already turning about my future plans. Financially, I had paid off most of my debt. My car was paid off, almost all of my credit cards were paid off and what was left to pay, could be paid by selling my belongings and vacation pay.

Slowly, I began to craft my letter of resignation. The day came to turn it in. My boss was not an easy man to deal with and invoked fear in the toughest of individuals. Feared and loathed by many, and unfortunately for him, I think loved by few. Did I hate him? No. I felt sorry for him. Sorry that someone leads such a lonely existence. Sorry that someone takes his misery out on substance abuse. Sorry that due to the work environment he created, he would be losing a valuable employee: me. I handed in my resignation letter...and yes, needed some urging from coworkers. I had a short discussion with my boss about the events to come and it was easier than I thought it would be.

I felt reborn. A new piece of clay ready to be shaped into whatever the artist intended.

I finished my month of work, tying up all the loose ends. During that time, my personal life began it's new transition. I gave up my lease for the first apartment I ever had on my own, sold many of my belongings which paid off my last debt, moved home and began a job hunt. Thus began the shaping of my new piece of clay. A new piece of work where I pursue my passions and dreams and hopefully accomplish them.

I began working, just a few hours a week, for a most generous employer that I was introduced to by my friend. I was having interview after interview, but nothing was resulting. Out of the blue, I received a call from an old employer. They wanted me back! I began to work part time with them. Later, I was offered more work hours.

Now, I am working 4 days a week with this employer; a non-profit where I get to help those that are less fortunate, have time to pursue my other passions (including a business) and am blessed to have a wonderful boss and coworkers!

Safety net in place, I could now work towards my passions and goals. I recently found a tiny hole-in-the-wall apartment that even with its slanted floors and awkwardly inclined ceilings, I happen to love. The moment I stepped foot in the door, I envisioned its potential. It is exactly what and where I needed to be to pursue my new life goals.

I just moved into my tiny piece of the world this week. 'Construction' is currently under way. As such, my plans to pursue these life improvements can begin.

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