Learning from My Mistakes

Two weeks ago this Friday was the last official day of work at my “big boy” job. Am a moving to a new one? Well…I was.

See, what happened is an immediate result of one of my biggest flaws: indecision. I am the type of person who has eclectic interests; I like so many things that sometimes it inhibits my ability to stay dedicated to one particular thing.

While my current job had great pay, and I got to work with great people, I got tired of sitting at a desk for seven to eight hours a day. Even though it was only a month into my employment, I was looking for something where I got to be up and moving and working with clients and customers. That’s when I found this:

Ad I found on Craigslist. Note the compensation.

So with the promise of better pay and customer service, I sought this opportunity, had a couple interviews, and got hired. I realized it was door to door sales, and didn’t have too much of a problem with that. But it wasn’t until the day after I signed my paperwork that I started to have questions. Through my curiosity I asked my “team leader” what my base pay would be, and never got a direct answer; just more talk about commission and bonuses that I had heard several times already. That’s when I realized the nature of this business: sales jobs like this contains some level of deception and gimmick, and that’s exactly what happened to me with this employer. So I made the conscious decision to back out…

…but this came after I had already resigned at my current job. When I told my boss I wanted to continue to work, he said he already hired somebody to replace me.

Needless to say, I was distraught. I was–and still am–left without a full time, “big boy” job. Let’s just say, I’m really glad I picked up a second job waiting tables last semester and held on to it.

Yet here I am back at square one. While I may not have an established full-time job, I am no longer upset or scared. Rather, I see this as an opportunity to do something new. Now that I’ve had a desk job, I now have a better idea of what I want to do with my life. I want to work with people, meet strangers, provide them with high quality service that I am confident I can provide. Even if it means going into retail or waiting tables more often, I know that it is a job that I am going to be happy doing.

One of the biggest qualities I learned from my mother was perseverance. No matter what may be troubling you at the present point in time will eventually be resolved if it doesn’t kill you. Rather than wallowing over the consequences of my stupid and clumsy mistakes, I see them merely as lessons learned. Rather than seeing it as losing a job, I see it as gaining an opportunity for reinvention.

Maybe I’ll continue looking for a full-time job.
Maybe I’ll go back to school for my Master’s.
Maybe I’ll finally start up my own business.
Maybe I will finally start on that book I’ve been wanting to write.
Or maybe I will just continue waiting tables in the evening and enjoying the fact that I’m 22, an age where I can still have fun and be a little crazy sometimes.

All in all, I am very happy right now. Nothing is going to drag me down, even if it causes me some temporary stress. Losing my job hasn’t killed me, so I have no choice but to continue down my own path, whistling and enjoying the view.

And, because I want to share my lessons learned with the younger folks who follow me, take this into consideration: Avoid answering ads on job sites or Craigslist about entry level sales and marketing. There are a lot of companies in St. Louis who do this that expect you to do 100% commission based work for 10 hours a day, but won’t tell you that from the start. It is a legitimate industry, but is strenuous and often gimmicky work. Just be careful when job searching. The more you know…


Why I Blame Technology for Ignorant People

Okay, this is a quick post, as most of my opinions on this subject are expressed in the video below.

Since I started my new job here in St. Louis, the Central West End in particular, I have dealt with some of the most ridiculous drivers. Now, I will say it’s not nearly as bad as driving through Jackson, Mississippi, but those people were just crazy. What I’m talking about is ignorant drivers, which seem to breed on the streets of St. Louis. Every morning I see other drivers swerving or driving really slowly and, when I finally get next to them, they’re texting while driving.

I will admit that I was once one of those people. Until I got a new phone with swipe texting, which requires full attention on the phone. So I no longer do it.

So on top of that, I am also tired of seeing people on their phones during concerts. Why do people do this? I don’t want to remember watching one of my favorite artists through a lens, but rather through my own eyes. Plus, with my camera or phone up in the air to capture the moment, how am I supposed to dance and have fun? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

A few semesters ago, I made this video for my Intro to Interactive Media course, in which we had to write an essay and create a video on a topic of our choice. I did mine on how ignorant people are when it comes to using their mobile technology. Hope you enjoy it!

Warning: this is me at my snarkiest.

Edit: Just found this article. A movie theater in Austin, Texas, threw a customer out for texting after she was warned twice. She left the theater a voicemail, which they now use as part of a PSA.


Check it out here.

Forgiveness, Vengeance, and Karma

Let me start you off with a quote:

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Gandhi

I think I can speak for everybody when I tell my story. I have lived a life full of challenges where the odds have been against me in so many ways, which you can read about from my last post. But in addition to my circumstantial challenges, I have also met a lot of people who have hurt me, double-crossed me, and stabbed me in the back. Some of the insecurities and moments of doubt I have about myself can be attributed to a certain few people who seriously did, or tried really hard to, ruin my life.

Yet, in the face of all these hurdles, I have still learned to forgive those people.

I will honestly say, as an agnostic, I do not fully understand religion of any kind. Though I was brought to a few different types of churches as a child, there were a lot of things that I didn’t, and probably won’t ever, understand. But one of the messages I took away from going to church as a kid was who Jesus really was.

I’m not talking about who different people identify him as, I am talking about who Jesus was solely as a person. Jesus forgave. Plain and simple. Even in the face adversity, having to deal with literally thousands of people who thought he was a raving lunatic, he never held a grudge. Even as he had nails plunged through his palms and feet, he still was forgiving.

Now, for a country that boasts that more than 75% of its citizens identify as Christian, I fail to see the message of forgiveness actually being carried out among our society. Instead, I’ve seen it more in the way that I approached history classes as a kid. I sat through class, listened to the lectures, took notes and memorized all the important parts. But when it came to using it in real life, I couldn’t spout out a thing because I didn’t feel it was important enough.

When Osama bin Laden was killed last month, I saw exactly what I’m talking about played out. I witnessed comments on articles and posts on Facebook, all rejoicing in the death of a human being. I realized that we are living in a society not of forgiveness, but of vengeance. Whether on the national level, or down to the individual level, we live among people who condone celebration on behalf of someone else’s death.

Now, do I believe bin Laden had it coming? Absolutely. But not for the same reasons as so many other people.

One of the many lessons my mother taught me was what goes around, comes around. It’s called karma, and whether or not you believe in this concept, it is something you should take into consideration when going about your daily life. The concept is simple: if you do good for someone, good will come back to you. If you do bad against someone, that will also come back to you, sometimes worse. This is the philosophy around which I have based my life and everything I do.

We cannot continue to live in a society of vengeance, because no good will come of it. Sure, vengeance feels good, but at what cost? Most of the time, vengeance requires us to go out of our way to go “return the favor.” In the time that it takes for us to get back at our adversaries, we could have spent that time doing good things for other people, and generating good karma.

Bin Laden’s death at the hands of our military was his karmic return. For the pain and suffering he caused not only for Americans, but for people all over the world, he got his. If the United States hadn’t done it, someone or something else would have done it. We waited nearly ten years for it to happen, but it eventually did. We just needed to be patient, as we do with our individual lives. By simply letting go the people who have crossed us, they will eventually get theirs for the pain they cause us. It might not be immediate; we cannot expect karma to work immediately. We must be patient and have faith that those individuals with cruel intentions will see the error in the suffering they cause.

This is why I am encouraging everyone to consider their karmic contribution to our world. It doesn’t matter who you are or what religion you claim, your words and actions have an effect on the rest of the world and yourself. If Mohandas Gandhi, a follower of Hinduism, and Jesus Christ can agree on the same concept of forgiveness and nonviolence, then so can the rest of us.

It’s time to take this seriously. We are losing our sense of other-ness and it is ruining our society. Vengeance has only ever cause the need for more vengeance.

It’s time to forgive.