This summer, I had a big break on social media. I didn’t post anything for about 1.5 months, out of blue, without giving any notice. I was in New York and suddenly, I became so tired of everything that I couldn’t even bother to look at my phone. Posting on Instagram seemed pointless. I was enjoying my “offline life” so much that I thought I would never even come back.
Eventually, I did. After all, I’m a social media marketer. But during the time I was away, I took a step back from my day-to-day life and I could clearly see that what I was doing simply wasn’t working.
Prior to my trip to New York and San Francisco, I published my first children’s book, The Girl Who Wanted to Catch a Cloud in a Marmalade Jar. The publishing process was a journey itself, for which I put myself into a debt for the first time of my life. It was a breakthrough and a scary thing at the same time. I was willing to do anything to get the book out. I knew that if I didn’t, it would never become real. At that time, I had a great support of a friend from the Leadership course I took a year back, Matt, who stood by me to make that happen. I didn’t want to disappoint him, but most importantly, I didn’t want to disappoint myself. The truth was I was trying to write and publish the book for seven years until it became real.
In mid-May, a month after I published the book, I travelled back home to Slovakia and organised my hen’s party as well as made preparations for the wedding. I was getting ready for the first book reading in London while teaching courses at university and working with my clients. I had the busiest schedule. On top of that, unknowingly, I filled out one form for the university wrong, and I wasn’t getting paid. I was on the very edge with my finances due to the book and the wedding.
Needless to say, I suffered from anxiety attacks soon after I came back to London. I have been dealing with anxiety probably since I’ve been thirteen without ever knowing I had any anxiety. When I looked at the meaning of the word anxiety, I found out the meaning was “a worry or fear about unpredictable future”. It made complete sense. I saw that the way my work and finances were set up was completely unpredictable and I was going crazy. Perhaps, I thought, I knew it was time for something new in my life.
I realised that working from home and spending so much time alone wasn’t doing me any good. I realised that what I was working hard on was pretending that I was doing some work. I kept saying to myself that working for someone else is a waste of time. I said to myself, not only will I get paid an hourly rate (which is much worse than my own hourly rate) but I will also never get to fulfil on my own dreams!
A Millenial Who Gets A Job (A Joke In A Title)
However, two anxiety attacks later, I started to think that my worse fear could possibly be my rescue. I realised that serving coffee and talking to people all day long was exactly what I needed. And if someone paid me for that, even better. I couldn’t care less about any hourly rate. I knew this would bring at least some stability – predictability in my work and finances. And I didn’t need more than that.
I had to give up a lot of pride to get a job. Getting a part-time job in a shop is a thing worthy when you’re a teenager or studying at university – or at least, that was my idea. Plus, my family and friends back home consider this kind of job a worst-case scenario. If you have an expertise, you don’t work in a shop. You’re working on your career – you’re too good to do a job like this.
Shut Up & Be Humble
Being “too good” was a big thing. Even at an interview two weeks later, the recruiter looked at my CV and showed some suspicion and doubt whether I was qualified to be a shop assistant. I was underqualified and overqualified at the same time. I was teaching courses at the university, consulting with clients, and running a small business. But I never worked in a shop, or as a waitress, even as a teenager. Heck, I never worked for someone else in my whole life!
Ironically, I had my “too good” attitude not just regarding working for somebody else. I had that same attitude towards my own clients. Whenever I was dealing with a breakdown with a client, I thought, “he’s an idiot and he’s not even paying me as much as I deserve – I’m so much better than he thinks!”. I was an arrogant prat – always thinking I was the best when something went wrong, blaming everyone else. Needless to say, this attitude was only causing me trouble and “hurt feelings”. I lacked humbleness, humility and generosity.
The New Beginning
Four days later after the first interview, I got hired at J.Crew as a sales assistant. Somehow, I know I couldn’t wish for a better environment. I’ve always loved J.Crew for their customer service and just the idea that I get to serve people whole day long by showing them cashmere sweaters excites me.
I always say that you should always do what you fear most. Seems like I was right.