How I ended up with The Greatest Job In the World
Last week I wrote a post where I compared the results of motivation by fear and motivation by freedom. In the comments many of you asked me “so, how exactly did you end up with such an awesome job?” So I decided it was time I told you. I should warn you right now that the road that got me here was not so glamorous. While I a few of these could be thrown into the 8 failures the have led me to where I’m at, this is just a quick look back at the last year.
7 Fortunate Accidents
- No Job After Graduation: When I graduated from Pepperdine in the Spring of 2009, I didn’t have a single job offer. I was completely crushed because I thought getting an MBA was going to be one of the smartest things I did. I don’t regret it because I got to spend a semester in Brazil and experience things that might not have happened if I hadn’t gone back to school. Over the course of that last semester I only had a few interviews. One in particular was working in a rotational program from a utility company. When I got to the office I thought “I’d want to throw myself off a building if I worked here.” Fortunately they chose not to hire me. To top it off, so did every other job I had interviewed for by the time I had graduated.
- Running Completely Out of Money: This was one of the most eye opening moments of my life. Nothing will make you think about what you will do to get your money back then running completely out of it. I literally saw my bank account balance dwindle to zero. I couldn’t believe I was 31 and broke. When it happened, I thought “I’m such a fuck-up. This is not supposed to happen to people like me. After all I’m Indian and I have two degrees.” Needless to say it wasn’t one of the high points of this journey.
- Moving Back to my Parents: Running out of money meant moving back to my parents house. Truth be told I could have used that time more effectively and worked harder on The Skool of Life than I did. But that is more or less where all my blogging habits and daily routines formed. There isn’t a damn thing to do where my parents live and I don’t have any friends there. So every morning I would get up, make some coffee, and write for a few hours. I’d also read other blogs. Today that routine hasn’t changed much at all. I still get up and write first thing in the morning while I drink my coffee. It also gave me a chance to get to know my parents, which I don’t think many people get in adult life. Truth be told that was the earliest influence in everything I’ve done.
- 6 hours a day of surfing, for 8 months: Although I moved home to my parents house, I was fortunate enough to have a friend rent my apartment and in exchange for not paying a deposit, he said I could stay there whenever I wanted. So, my parents gave me $50.00 every other week and I would spend that week in LA, going to networking events, eating really cheap meals, and surfing. Usually my days at the beach involved a loaf of bread, peanut better and jelly, a few bananas, and a piece of shit surfboard that basically screams “I’m a beginner.” I was literally a beach bum. I also became about 18 shades darker and all of our Indian friends would see me and say “Wow, you’re so dark.” Sometime in July, something happened. I didn’t have a single interview for 5 days so I decided that I would spend as much time surfing as possible. That was the end of life as I knew it. By the end of day 5 all i could think about was waves (and that hasn’t changed). In a matter of 5 days something that had gone from a hobby to an outlet, went from being an obsession to an addiction. With that I was determined to be stoked for life and nothing was going to get in the way of that. When potential employers would call to schedule interviews and ask about my availability, I would check the surf report first and then let them know when I was free. I had a phone interview once that interfered with my schedule so I conducted it from the beach. When I went to San Diego for a job interview, I scheduled the interview at 4pm so I could spend the entire day surfing. To see a beach bum changing into a suit was always amusing to people. This is what kept me going through those 6 months and it’s still what keeps me going today.
- Walking away from a job that sucked: Making a decision about when to hold and when to fold was one of the toughest and easiest decisions of my entire life. 6 months into my search, I got an offer. Even though I knew in my gut, it wasn’t the job I wanted, I took it because I thought nothing better was around the corner. By the beginning of the second week I was hating life. The girl who worked there also told me “every single person in your role has left in two weeks.” That day changed my life forever. I called my parents and told them that I was going to be fired anyways and that my IBS has pretty much gone through the roof. I told them I’d move home if I had to and I’d be willing to spend another 6 months living at home. I guess my advice to those of you in a similar situation would be “be relentless when it comes to what you want.”
- A boss torn between two candidates: This is the part that most of you might not know about. When I had interviewed for my job at Flightster, my boss sent me an email about a week later saying that he was torn between two candidates because we had such different skill sets. He asked me if I would be open to working part time. I thought about how it might look in terms of lifestyle and everything else and I said yes. Fortunately so did my co-worker.
- Not Making a Decision Based on Money: Given that I was going to be working part time, my only concern was that I would make enough to cover my living expenses. I figured the rest would take care of itself in about 6 months because my side projects would give me some leverage. Shortly after I started my day job at Flightster, I got a consulting gig on a month to month basis. I also got several freelance design projects. I chose my job at Flightster over staying in the search for a typical 90k MBA job because I knew it would be an opportunity to do something I wouldn’t get anywhere else. Today I work with a team of highly creative designers, marketers and writers. While my role is technically “director of social media” working so closely with the design team has enabled me to also be a big part of product development. Unlike most bloggers I have no plans to quit my day job because I love it. If and when I chose to travel, I can actually write content for Flightster and tax deduct everything I do. Maybe when it becomes a $100 million dollar brand, I might think about something else. But, for now I’m loving life.
A year ago at this time I was sitting at my parents house thinking things wouldn’t change. So my advice to you is simple. One year of blogging could do wonders for your life if you take the right actions.
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