I have always liked to be a part of the action; playing soccer or volleyball on a local recreational team, joining different clubs in college, raising awareness about elder abuse, fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, attending local festivals, or finding a new river to kayak down. Staying active and traveling is a part of who I am. These experiences allow me to meet a variety of people with diverse backgrounds, giving me insight on other perspectives and worldviews. It is a constant reminder of being alive and that everyone has their own story to tell. When I was younger, there was always something to do, somewhere to go, or someone new to meet. However, once I finished college and entered the workforce, I was faced with a new challenge: when am I going to find time to do the things I used to love?
I couldn’t go back to the grey cubicle. So, I quit.
Getting a job right out of college was a challenge itself. There is a preconceived notion that if you don’t find your dream job making a ton of money right away, that you’re doing something wrong or you’re unprepared. Finding a job is a long, repetitive process of filling out the same information again and again in hopes that maybe one word you said will stand out to the hiring manager enough on paper that they allow you to interview – if they even get to see your resume at all. No one tells you that it takes time and patience to find a job that you can turn into a career, so I took any job that would offer me a position. I started off as a professional recruiter, only to get laid off 6 months into the job along with 85% of the office. I shook that off thinking, “Well, good thing I got that out the way early in my career and not when I have a family and other mouths to feed.” After that, I moved back to my hometown where I worked in retail, home healthcare, and insurance. Yes, insurance. I finally understood why my parents were so tired after work, why adults so eagerly waited for the weekend, and why people said “Of course it’s not fun, its work. That is why it’s called work.” Every day I struggled to try and rationalize the feeling of dread when thinking about going to work. I would think it would get better, I would get used to it, or it’s just my life now. Instead, I became numb. The spark and zest for life and new experiences was nothing more than a flicker now. Trips became less and less because you must get vacation time approved. If there are eight other people ahead of you for a particular day, you may as well consider it an impossibility. After a year went by, I realized I couldn’t do this anymore. I needed to start having fun again. I needed a real work/life balance. I couldn’t go back to the grey cubicle. So, I quit. Did I know what I was going to do next? I had no idea, but I knew that anything would be better than my current day-to-day.
After many long hours of searching for jobs online, I found a post for a work-from-home job for a company called Aira. Being from Cleveland, OH, a work-from-home job would be a dream come true! I wouldn’t have to brave the harsh winters that besieged the city for a better part of four months every year. I had never heard of the company before, but it sounded interesting and offered a lot of freedom. After I did some research, I knew I needed to be a part of the team. I applied and then I waited. In the meantime, I applied to other jobs and went to interviews just to keep my skills sharp in case I heard back from my top pick. Then, about 45 days later, I heard back. My top pick, the work-from-home job, wanted to schedule an interview! I was beyond excited to say the least, but now was the time to dig in and not celebrate too early. I researched the company, the position, read featured articles, and came up with a list of 14 questions to ask my interviewers to prove how serious I was about getting this position. Interview day came and it went perfectly. I connected with them on a personal level, we laughed and joked, and talked about my past experiences and most importantly, the future of the company with me being a part of it. I received a job offer from my top pick! There was a lot of jumping and yelling and sore cheek muscles from nonstop smiling. I was about to begin a journey that left me in the driver seat of my destination.
Once I started, it was unlike any other job I had in the past. Working remotely allowed me to save money on gas, incorporate some of the activities I used to love, and opened my possibilities to travel whenever the opportunity arose. I was able to fit work around my life instead of trying to fit my life around work. After a few months, I noticed I was able to eat healthier because I could cook all my lunches and saved money by not buying lunch every day like I did previously. Working from home did provide a lot of benefits, but mainly, I was able to make a difference in someone’s life everyday through the work I was doing. I was able to describe Tokyo Disneyland, help a father complete a puzzle with his daughter, build Ikea furniture, assist with finding jobs, and ultimately provided a way for people to live their life on their terms. I have never felt more rewarded and in the right place.
This is my dream job; this is where I’m supposed to be.