The experience of building a business while working full time has changed me a great deal and yet what has remained true throughout this journey is why I continue it. I wanted freedom. More specifically I had lost hope in corporate America as the forum where I could be me, thrive, secure my livelihood and protect my future. I felt betrayed, let down, burned out and used and I knew there had to be a better way. There just had to be. The answer to living was not work for the majority of my adult life being miserable waiting for the next shoe to drop that messed with my life. I wanted to be free of it. Plain, simple, basic.
Maybe we all just get to this point where looking forward to retirement as the gateway to freedom is the only answer. We pray and pray we can make it through each week and count it off as one more week closer to when we can walk away from this tiring experience. I don’t mind working at all and always considered myself a hard worker that excelled at most tasks but something in me just didn’t care anymore. I needed a change. 30 years working in healthcare will do that to you I think. From listening to many friends 30 years anywhere in any industry will do that do you. It wasn’t the industry as I still strongly believe in the work and know how it can truly mean the world to someone. Rather it was the changes I saw in how corporations in this industry treated those of us in it. I always thought healthcare would provide job security and I guess at a big picture level it has but not without a lot of turmoil and drama. The changes have impacted my life several times and left me feeling at the losing end of a situation where I was giving more than I was getting back. It has been an experience that has both been rewarding and devastating.
At a point in my career I did try other things but eventually came back to healthcare. It was what I knew and where I excelled. Having endured layoffs, restructuring, top of the line asshole bosses and more I was tired now. Burned out was more appropriate of a diagnosis but I knew I still had to work and wasn’t near retirement so I underplayed it by saying I was just tired. I shut up, gave up and got in line for what was next. Like most working adults, there is a point in your work career you realize it simply isn’t worth fighting the tide anymore. We start counting the years until retirement and finding things outside work that fulfill our creative spirits and inspirational souls. We give up thinking we can climb the ladder or that it is worth climbing at all. I promise you it is not as glamourous as it looks at the top. Oh sure there are perks but there is also a lot more political bullshit than you can ever imagine.
The reality is all companies, even the best of them, have this going on; some have more of it than others but it is always there. There is always the subjectivity applied to your worth and contribution when it comes to raises and bonuses. There is always some behind the scenes backroom dealings focused on the bottom line over employees. We all just try to hang on and avoid being caught in the latest result of it all, like little goldfish swimming in the big tank trying to avoid the net. We do our best to get on the good teams where we think the manager will have our backs and protect us. We try to form connections and networks of people who will help us when we need it. We make the best of what we have because we deeply depend on these jobs yet knowing inside it’s not at all how we dreamed we’d be spending our adult lives. I don’t know many that have had the dream to work in a gray half-walled cubicle surrounded by thousands of other cubicles.
The glimmer of hope for me came when I felt at one of the lowest, most stressed out points I had in my career. I was going through yet another job change and about to start traveling again. I had on my brave face and positive intention attitude that this time it was all going to work out and I’d be alright. This time. In my heart I knew it would be another scenario like the ones before it but we can’t think that way. We have to give it our all and do it anyway. Yet this time I was taking with me the small idea that I could start my own business alongside working this new job. It was crazy I know. When was I going to have the time? How was I going to be successful at two things that demanded a lot of time? I clearly was delusional that this had a wild goose chance of happening well. That was strategy though. I was going to build a second stream of income that could eventually replace what I made in my corporate job. This was my answer to basic freedom.
When I tell new people what I’m doing some thing I am truly insane. Who has that kind of energy and time? Trust me, my life is just as busy as yours with a family, full time career and now a thriving small business. It hasn’t always been easy and there have been times when one of the areas of my life needed more attention and I had to focus there. There are times I’m tired. There are reminders all the time why I need to do this and that’s what keeps me going. I literally fill the nooks and crannies of my day switching gears to focus on my small business. I make phone calls to potential clients and existing customers on my drives to and from errands. I write blogs and create social media posts at 6am before work. I teach classes and providing coaching and mentoring in my evenings every other week. I make it work because it matters.