I love writing. But until very recently something was keeping us apart.
That’s right, these three tiny letters were getting in the way of my passion, constantly driving a rift between the two of us leaving me unhappy, unfulfilled, and frustrated.
I was coping with a job I hated.
Sure, my job had its moments. There were times when I was at work, and thought, “Hmm this isn’t so bad.” But for the most part, I woke up at the crack of dawn cursing the fact that I had to get up and work for someone else.
Miserable at my current working situation, I quit.
As much as they begged on their hands and knees (asked politely) for me to stay, my mind was made up; I was ready to move on.
Now before you rush out and quit your job in pursuit (PRSUIT) of your passion, consider the following: I didn’t just up and leave.
I was fortunate enough to have suitable resources to make sure I would be financially stable for the near future. I also gave six weeks notice to help onboard and train my replacement. This effectively gave me a safety net for the near future should I need it.
This feels like the best decision I could have possibly made. That is… this has been the best decision I’ve made since my last major decision; which was joining the same company I just finished bitching about.
I know it sounds counter intuitive. I was just talking about how much I hated this job, so how could it have been a good idea to take the job in the first place?
Aside from networking with amazing people, accruing great professional experience for my résumé, and learning about an industry I might return to in some capacity one day, working in a role I hated did a lot for me personally.
Working a job I hated taught me three important life lessons that I might never have learned if I loved my first job in the first place.
First and before anything else, it taught me how to maximize my time.
For the better part of the last two years my daily routine looked like this:
07:30AM– Wake up
08:35AM-Arrive at work (5 minutes late because I needed to get coffee first- Duh)
6:30PM– Leave work. (One hour late with no overtime)
7:00PM-Arrive at the Gym. (Workout, shower, change etc.)
8:30-9PM-Arrive home (eat, cook, laundry, dishes etc.)
9-1130pm-Read and write
11:30ish PM– Lights out (need my beauty sleep)
As you can see, most days I could only carve out, at most, four hours for myself. This seemed like such a small sliver of time. To get the most out of it, I started to run a very tight schedule.
There was no more endless scrolling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There were no more (a lot less) Netflix binges and nights out carousing at the bar.
With a big chunk of my time gone to ‘The Man’, I quickly cut out the people and activities that weren’t inline with my goals, and started using my spare time on things I love.
Running a tight ship for two years was limiting socially, but it taught me the discipline I needed. It enabled me to increase my creative productivity, read a lot of amazing books, and meet a lot of people who had similar vision and beliefs as I do.
Living inside this restrictive schedule led me to realization number two:
I learned to appreciate a job I love.
Right before I quit my job, I was on vacation in Las Vegas. Sounds great right?
This should have been and amazing trip, but instead it was just OK.. I felt like I couldn’t enjoy one of the best party cities in the world, because all I could think about was work.
Thankfully, during this trip I had the epiphany that led me to quitting:
We’re expected to spend so much time at work, but if we aren’t happy in our job, there is little chance to be happy and passionate outside of work.
While in Vegas I realized that I needed a job I loved in order to be truly happy and passionate.
I became envious of those with jobs they loved or even liked. Before Vegas, all I thought about was the job I hated. Now I was starting to think about what it would be like to have a job I loved.
Using my time wisely and appreciating a great job, are both lessons I could have learned over time, but with my time spent at this job, I learned something else.
I learned who I really am.
I hated the idea of spending so much of MY time doing something I didn’t want to do. So, whenever I had time to myself I found myself choosing to do the things I loved.
I read books on my lunch break, spent entire weekends writing and re-writing essays and rough drafts. On Monday, my co-workers would ask “what did you do this weekend?”
At first I was shy telling people that I spent the weekend working on an essay or a short story. But fuck it, that’s who I am and that’s what I do.
I can say that without working this job, I wouldn’t have that same confidence.
When I was given the choice of how I wanted to spend my time, I was naturally drawn to the things that I loved, and I was no longer shy about it.
Passion can be anything. What’s important is that you learn to make time for it. I’m lucky enough now that I am able to do it every day. All because I spent so much time doing something I didn’t like. I’m not going to take anything for granted.
Passion can be in anything. How did you find yours? How did you carve out more time for it? Reach out to me on twitter @thenkel.