The story of a do-over — This post is in response to an ActiveRain contest, “Who says there are no do-overs?”
The rules are to share something in life that did not work out. Also, to indicate how we worked to fix it or do it differently the next time.
While mistakes are common in everyone’s life, including mine, this is not a post about a mistake per se, but about a do-over in life.
My first “real” job was at 16 when I started working at a department store while in my senior year of high school. I worked about 50 hours a week, and in thinking back, it was then I got addicted to the wonderful thing called a paycheck. I was able to purchase some items of my very own, as well as take care of the car my parents let me use. It was a great thing! As soon as high school was over, I took off for the city, lived with a friend in Staten Island, and worked for the next few years in several jobs in downtown NYC. Then it was back up to my home town where I worked at a furniture store for a year or so before getting hired at a major telecommunications company.
That was the start of a long career in the same industry. I did not have any particular affinity for the business, but was able to find something I liked about every single job I had. After a year or two, I would get bored with a specific position and would look for something within the company that was more challenging. A few years later, I was ready for a new assignment again.
Many of those job changes were promotions, and I worked my way from union positions to management, and from a team member to a team leader. I just moved along in various jobs until I stopped being able to find something I liked about my work. My team was constantly being reduced in size, while my workload and responsibilities continually were increased. As a result, I found myself becoming burned out. The money and benefits were great, but satisfaction with my career was not.
That was the sound of me deciding after a few years of thinking about it, that with thirty years of service with this one company it was prime time for a do-over. I had a 401K, a healthy savings account, and was anxious to try something else.
Of course, leaving a relatively secure job with a company where I had worked for three decades, making friends and becoming an expert with “the ropes,” was a difficult thing to do. I was scared, but I knew I would always regret it if I didn’t try something else. I was almost 50 and wanted to enjoy whatever I decided to do with my life going forward. As the only person responsible for my life, I knew I had to make a change.
So I left that company and spent a month or so investigating various work options. I soon decided to jump into real estate. Within four months of leaving my corporate job, I had a real estate agent license and was ready to go. And what a do-over this was. I alone am responsible for whether I succeed in this business or not. There is no paycheck waiting for me at the end of the week and no paid holidays or benefits. There’s no safety net. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. If I do work, I sometimes still don’t get paid. I only receive income when I get to the closing table or a lease signing. I’m the one who has to do all the marketing, accounting, product development, analysis, and so on for my company. It’s quite a responsibility!
So am I sorry I left? No! I am living my life the way I want to live it right now. I am meeting people, making new friends, and embracing a totally different type of business. Everyday is unique, as is every person I help. I love what I do, and while my income is nowhere near the levels I enjoyed while in a corporation, it is increasing year over year.
Do-overs can be scary and challenging, but for me, the scarier thing would be to not try. So I am thrilled with the decision I made six years ago. And who knows, perhaps sometime in the future, it will be time for yet another do-over. And I am sure I shall accept that challenge with gusto.