“Give me the most expensive, sugar-saturated, caffeine-stuffed jug of delicious garbage you have.”
Okay, I didn’t actually say that when I got to the head of the line at Starbucks, but that was my intention when I ordered the venti quadruple mocha frappawhatever.
I regularly take stock of my life, to see where I can optimize it
And during the time in my life when it felt like I was slogging waist-deep through a dark river of shit … when I felt trapped in the invisible current… I pushed forward with every* idea I had, to escape.
Giving away money?
Working on my business?
Taking on client jobs and investing the income back into my business?
Constantly educating myself?
Imagining the life I wanted to create?
Meditating multiple times per day?
Working as hard as I could during my day-jobs and learning as best I could from every experience?
Expressing gratitude for my situation?
Around the time I switched from loading trucks to sorting clothes for my job, I realized I was leaving something out:
Giving myself a taste of luxury so I could soak up the feeling and vibration in the present moment.
So I began doing that… literally
Before my weekend walk in the hills, I stopped by Starbucks to get the largest, most expensive coffee/sugar/chocolate combination available. Then I sipped on it, while driving west.
It was almost spiritual. Like dipping my toe in the water of an exciting, decadent, abundant life… and putting all my focus on that little toe.
I found the perfect groove. First the drink… then walking in the hills. Followed by a couple days of working on my business… and then back to four days of absolute misery.
Could I keep running this financial race?
I didn’t know.
To make the idiotic transfer in the first place, I took a pay cut to $11 per hour. Something had to give, and I was hell-bent on seeing what would break first.
My training for the order-pulling position began. And, it shocked me to realize… I really did have to memorize the locations of clothes hanging on rack after rack, on two different floors of the warehouse. Soon, I was sprinting from row to row, ducking and dodging metal fixtures, dragging along dozens of hangers full of clothes.
My new trainer was a very nice, patient woman. And for the first couple weeks, I vowed to master the new job. Sure, it felt impossible.
But, damnit, I could do it, get my numbers back up… and have a prayer of transferring back
The order-pulling shift usually ended a bit after the load team showed up for work. While staggering around the second floor of the warehouse, sorting through endless racks of clothes, I glanced over to see trucks backing into the bays. As the team began unloading them, I hung my head. How could I have been so stupid as to leave?
I missed that job.
Sometimes during my workshifts, I found a tiny, cracked-open window and squinted my eyes to see the mountain peaks in the distance, and felt the hot breeze from outside. Whenever I came nearby to hang up clothes, I grabbed a few moments to hover my face in the wind, and do my best to pause time.
One of the worst moments was when I spent an entire morning getting yelled at for my screw-ups, and then finally nabbed a chance to check my voicemail during break-time. Earlier, I’d seen someone call me. I wondered if it was a reply to a job application I’d filled out the day before.
As I listened to the angry growling, I realized it was a pissed-off customer of mine, fuming about something
Damn. So I began my lunch break by calling my customer-service team, so they could respond. It turned out fine… but I was still stuck. Why the heck wasn’t I getting any responses to my job applications?
One afternoon, after driving home and shuffling back to my condo, I grabbed my head into my hands and shook with fear and outrage.
“I can quit any time I want! I can quit and get a job bagging groceries tomorrow!” I screamed to an empty room.
A few days later, I’d test that hypothesis, and find out it was wrong
*In hindsight, I was leaving plenty more out. Perhaps my biggest mistake was a lack of networking. If I had made the simple effort to schmooze with fellow business owners, entrepreneurs, and self-employed folks in the Denver area via free meetup groups… well… it almost makes me shudder to think of how different my life would have been. I’m grateful for the amazing journey I went on. But it’s very reasonable to assume that, if I had done the networking thing at least once a week after beginning my sign-spinning job… I would have landed enough gigs to never work a day job again. This reminds me of something I’ve observed about the changes in our economy. There’s little doubt in my mind that the gap is growing between men and women who earn a hefty income, versus the clear majority enduring shrinking wages. I bet this gap will yawn wider over the years, and the old model of submitting resumes to companies will continue to die. This is getting replaced more and more by connections and referrals between people. If you want to profit from this shift, then build your network. How? You’re on the internet right now. Figure it out.