In August of this year I’ve had a major switch in my mindset and it’s time for a follow-up on that. I do understand this needs a bit of back story. So here goes: it was a month before my final graduation exam and I had no idea where my professional life has headed to. I have then just been laid off a not-the-best-ever job and it has left me a bit broken and badly clueless.
So what did I do? In short – I started exploring and reading about great people, their work, their influence, people they attract, knowledge they share. And because for the first time in a long time I had a ridiculous amount of spare time, I started spending more time on other people’s blogs and on Twitter, contributing to the discussions more and attending live networking events.
I can tell you with confidence that I am far from what I was even only a few months ago, and now I want to tell you what has exactly happened (and is still happening) – and why.
Why did I need a change?
I never EVER again want to do a sales job. This needs to be written down in case I ever think of doing that again. Let me make it clear: I don’t think salespeople are bad or that the sales jobs are in any way something that people shouldn’t do. The thing is – I don’t want to do that. Ever. Again.
Let’s face it (and you may disagree with me on this one, and that’s fine): sales jobs can be amazing, in amazing companies, when you’re selling a brilliant product, a piece of software or a life-changing experience, but to get there (if you want to), you first need to do some selling (a lot of, actually) for much less amazing companies, selling much less brilliant product, or even a shitty one. And to do that, you might need to lie to your customers and say it’s THE thing they need to solve whatever problem they have. Even though deep down you know it’s not. And I am just not that kind of person. My face and my voice are not those of a remarkable salesperson.
Another reason I don’t want to be in that job again: salespeople are usually very replaceable.
I started to fall apart. And this is not exaggerating. I wasn’t becoming depressed (or anything along those lines), but I was becoming short on reasons that motivate me to jump out of bed in the morning. I was waking up beside the person that means the world to me, but that was mostly it. I wasn’t passionate about anything, I didn’t look forward to anything particular in my day and my highlights were food shopping and Netflix. (Yes, this is quite personal, but if even one person can learn from it, it’s worth to sacrifice a few of my private struggles.) I was unhappy and it sucked.
I live for creative tasks. When I was about 12 years old, I told my parents that I want to learn a lot of languages and become a journalist someday. So 6 years later I found myself in college, studying journalism, loving it, but ending up doing uncreative student jobs to pay my bills. And I believed it’s okay, but I ended up doing such jobs for the next 4 years, feeling all cozy for having a relatively stable income and not really thinking about what happens afterward.
And after I left one of those uncreative jobs earlier this year, I thought to myself that it’s time to do something I really love, but I ended up in another cozy but boring job that pays the bills. I can’t and won’t go through that ever again, which is why a change (a pretty big one) needed to happen.
How did I make a change?
First of all, I have unconditional support. My fiancé, my parents, my brother and my closest friends are a true blessing. Even though I believe I’m able to do plenty on my own, I simply don’t want to. Even though we all fail to admit it quite often, having someone to back you up at all times is unbelievably important.
I am learning from scratch. I have already written about the ways I’m learning things on my own. Internet is the master source for self-learning. Let’s be real: most people find it easy to go to a classroom and learn from a teacher. On the other hand, most people find it horribly tough to switch their computer on, open a course website and take two or five or eight hours to study and take notes and learn things they’ve never learned in their life, completely on their own. I found it hard, too (I still do sometimes, actually). But the struggle is always the biggest at the beginning, so once you’re past that, you’re flying.
— Marijana Kostelac (@MarijanaKay) November 10, 2015
I do quite a bit of free work. Well, not all of it might be considered work as such (this blog, for example). But there are things I do that are either building up my confidence and experience, giving other people/companies some free workforce, or I volunteer at all kinds of events. My win out of it isn’t money (obviously), but I’ve literally met dozens of people that have in one way or another brought me new knowledge and/or new opportunities. The ideal outcome would be a full-time paid job, but I’m taking it one step at a time.
(Side note: You might be wondering what is the area I’ve moved to, that all of my learning and unpaid work is directed to – it’s digital and content marketing, which is a connection of my love for writing, journalism and all things online.)
I literally spend hours reading. When I have a few hours of nothing that needs to be done, I am looking for new people to learn from, new ways to get tips, new tools to power-up my work, new everything. I most often use Feedly to do so, where I have several feeds to browse through (I will write more on that in the future). And I never refrain from asking questions.
And lastly – I’ve learned the importance and value of sacrifice. Doing a non-paid job over the paid, shitty one means no income over a regular income. And that means less traveling and less cool (material) stuff, but more time and power to get where I want to be.
And that’s the purpose of it all, right?
Let me know if you went – or are going – through a similar change and if you have any tips you want to share!