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Monday, April 16, 2012

A Change of Perspective.

Growing up, I always said I wouldn't take or keep a job just for the benefits of income. I had this grand idea that life with a career would be perfect. In my version, it would include me sitting in an office with a breath taking view of New York city as a magazine editor, flipping through fashion designs, jet setting to runway shows, and stomping around my ultra chic space in red Christian Louboutin heels, but what's the reality? The reality is that those careers are far and few between. Every girl has the desire to be the editor-in-chief, fashion model, stylist, actress, and I'm sure you can fill in the blank with some aspirations of your own. My question to you is,

How do you react and function in a job you never wanted?
The all too common response from the peanut gallery is "Just be happy to have a job." Really? I'm not sure why they think that statement is in any way comforting. To them I say kick rocks. (My little sister's favorite phrase). After dreaming your entire life to become a __________ (you fill in the blank) the last thing you want to hear is the previous statement. It's like someone's ripped your heart out and shoved it into a garbage disposal. In short, they're saying get over your dreams and just be happy, "you'll get used to it."

I promise you won't.

How do I know? I'll tell you. My dreams of becoming a writer were shredded when I got stuck in teaching. (Now before I go any further, I love my students and still connect with them on a daily basis. The problem was, teaching becoming about politics and teaching to the test. I couldn't be a part of dumbing down our kids.) 

Back to the topic, I say stuck because that's exactly what happened, but I'll save that story for another time. Anyhow, waking up every morning was a nightmare. I would hold onto my pillow and ask God, "Why . . . why must you torture me?" and for me it truly was torture.

I woke up at the crack of dawn angry, guzzled coffee to get through the day, and by sixth period (like clock work) felt like I'd been hit by a semi-truck. My attitude sucked, my days at work sucked, and I found myself living everyday counting the hours until the weekend finally arrived.

Sound familiar? I hope not.

The best thing is that you're young, and with youth comes the opportunity to try new things, improve your life, and explore. Consequently, in order to do any of those things, the first step you will need to take will be to change your perspective.
Perspective . . . what a funny little word. When someone told me I needed to change my perspective I had to resist the urge of punching them in the face. They didn't know me, or my situation. They didn't have my job! My responsibilities! How dare they tell me to look at things in a different way. As far as I was concerned, I'd tried everything and yet I was still miserable.

Beatings aside, I decided to consider it and I'm happy that I did. Instead of getting up everyday and asking God why, I asked Him to give me strength to get through the day and to see what he wanted me to do while I was there. Day by day I started finding little ways to make my students feel loved; whether that was through high-fives, hugs, calling their name out in the hallway, or simply greeting them each by name when they walked into the classroom. My goal was to make them feel special and wanted; I'm pretty sure it worked, they're my biggest fans.

From simply changing my perspective, I got inspired to leave teaching and start a non-profit organization that would teach middle school aged-students leadership, etiquette skills, goal setting, and the importance of dreaming and being determined. So my challenge to you is to change your perspective and see how you can take what you're already doing and make it better. It could change your life.

Here are some practical ways to start right now:

1) Take a personal inventory:
-What are some of your dreams?
-If you could do anything, what would it be?
-What's stopping you from your dream? Can it be removed? (I'm not referring to your husband here ( : ) Can a compromise be reached? Is it something you can do part-time until you're able to do it full-time?
-Are you willing to make the investment? (Not just monetarily, but time and socially; success takes a lot and everyone may not be onboard with your ambitions).

2) Ask yourself how you ended up in your current situation.
 -Was it supposed to be temporary? If so, what's keeping you there?
-Was it someone else's idea/dream for your life? (It's okay to deviate from their plan. After all, it is your life isn't it?)

3) Now that you have that answer, I want you to look at your daily job, what are some positives? (Come on, there has to be something. For me, it was being able to talk to my students about the things that concerned them).

4) Building on the positives, what can you do to change your attitude while you're at work? (Maybe that includes staying away from your co-workers who complain about their job. Negativity is contagious).

5) Now that your attitude is changing, now it's time to plan.
-Sit down and really consider your options. Does what you really want to do require a degree, if so, are you willing to go back to school?
-Set a time-line with realistic goals. (Try setting it at three month increments, that way you can measure your results. A change in attitude only takes a week or two). : )
-Be flexible and patient. (If the first thing you try doesn't work out, be patient and try again. Do you think people like Oprah or Mark Zuckerberg became successful simply by trying one thing? Nope).
  -Try to keep your plan under wraps. (You can confide in a few people close to you, but what I find is that they sometimes are your worst critics. They may not see your vision and unintentionally crush it).

6) And finally, believe in yourself. (I mean if you don't, who will?)  


  1. Excellent post, Vonae! Excellent.

    I really like your blog. It's great! Would you like to follow each other?

    Simply follow me with GFC, and then comment on any of my posts to let me know that you’re following. After that, I’ll follow you back 100%.

    Keep up the good work! I hope to see you soon. =)

  2. What an empowering and inspiring post. It's so wonderful that after you changed your perspective you started the non profit school. That's so awesome. I hope you're really enjoying and relishing what you're doing. I know that you're making a difference in the kids that you see everyday. What a rewarding career. I too left a job where I was making pretty good money as an apartment manager. It was a very stressful job. I now work for a church as their video editor 4 days a week. I don't make as much, but I love it and it gives me the freedom to do other things that I love. like blogging. :) thanks for sharing part of your story. :)

  3. FANTASTIC Post Vonae. I couldn't agree more. I too feel, (felt) this way with my job. Doing administrative work for over 10 years was daunting, to say the least. When I lost my job in January...I was like WHY GOD? But why not? I was miserable and just the thought of going back sounds taxing. I prayed and this is what I got...and for that...I will follow His lead to whatever comes next, despite the obstacles. Currently I am getting enrolled in Photography classes, which is something I wanted to do for years and with my blog, I can finally write...

    Thanks for sharing. Did you get my email from the other day? Thanks again for the thoughts.


  4. This is a great post. I have been incredibly frustrated lately because I STILL have yet to be able to work in my dream job, and I've been "stuck" in this job that I absolutely HATE. Every single day I dread having to wake up and work, I count the minutes until I can be done working and scour job sites to find something else to do. I have tried on numerous occasions to find the positives in my job but honestly? I can't. Other than "I have a job". I guess that is going to have to be enough for now until someone sees the potential in me. Please, oh please, I hope that is soon. At this point I'd take anything in a creative position just so that I could feel alive and happy (professionally) again. I am very glad that you've been able to find a new perspective on your job though!

  5. As Drake would say, clap, clap, bravo! I am a number one supporter for anyone who is bold enough to just get up and go start living their dreams! These tips are awesome, I've done them plenty of times until I was brave enough to step out and go for what I wanted! It is so important to find gratitude in jobs we don't like if we hope to do the jobs we want to do. I think it's awesome that you started a non profit. Do you all do mentoring as well? As a young girl I would have LOVED to have a mentor to look to and show me that all jobs don't fit into the 9-5 frame and that you do what you love for a living! Great post!

    XO Kelley

  6. Amazing post Vonae! I love how you really dug deep and turned things around from negative to positive! Everyone has dreams but they don't really go after them! That is what I'm truly trying to to do as well! If you don't try it won't happen. Opportunities are sought they don't just fall into your lap! Love this post!


  7. Amazing! Great job and thank you!

  8. Great post dear, really love your blog !

  9. You have a lovely blog with so many inspiring posts! Thanks for sharing, would you like to follow each other?

  10. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading this. You are such a fabulous writer. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to hear people say "you'll get used to it." I am also a firm believer in doing what you love. Your performance will be stronger and in the end you'll be helping yourself and those around you way more. Great post, love. Very inspiring. xo

  11. cute!!!

  12. One of the things I love most about my job is that I get to do consulting for new businesses and I ask them all sorts of questions about their vision. I often describe my job as a "puzzle solver" I go through the list of things they tell me and I figure out new perspectives for them. It is amazing what can come out when verbalizing your thoughts and goals!

    And you, missy.... I love that you're doing a non-profit it sounds amazing... You should create a youth newsletter that offers guidance to teens who are going through really rough times. I have worked with low-income children in the past and not only are they confused about their bodies but about what is going around the world. I think leadership and responsibility is something that needs to be embedded to the newer generations. Write a newsletter, print a few copies, talk to your School District about distribution. If you have a 503(c) which is a non-profit org, then you qualify for discount printing prices and tax exemptions. If you get your district to approve, then you could digitize the newsletter and get sponsorships to post them nation-wide. There are tons of grants available for 503(c)s and monies that are given for these sorta' thing. :)

    Sorry, I got wordy but that's what happens in my meetings ha!