… “We have to let you go.”
A phrase heard not only once, but twice in one year. Two separate jobs – both seemingly good candidates for long-term options taken away at the drop of a hat. It really makes you wonder about job security these days and if people are truly that expendable. Let’s start from the beginning….
In my teenage years where people would normally start looking for a job to get extra money for extracurricular activities – I stayed inside. Playing video games was my escape from reality. This led to a lifestyle on a very short budget and not feeling the need to work. Unfortunately it continued on for longer than it should have and when I finally did get my first job at the age of 17, I had no concept of a dollar. Impulse purchases became my new lifestyle. The concept of saving and planning a future had absolutely no factor when I could have something immediately. Moving on from job to job and barely getting through high school led to what would become many years of catching up later on. The problem is that when you have so little growing up that when the opportunity to finally have something comes along, it’s not really something you pass up.
Through years of building up debt from making bad choices and acting on impulse decisions, I was put in a situation where I didn’t really have a choice; I had to get my life under control. After going through a bunch of dead-end jobs, I started working for a big box electronics store and spent a year paying off debt and did a pretty great job. By going back to basics I was able to pay off most of all the immediate debt. Then at the end of January of 2013, there was a mass lay off. Luckily since most of the debt had been paid off, I wasn’t in a position where things could go for the worse. The reason this information is important is because this situation actually presented a massive opportunity for me.
When you go through life with little direction, there isn’t much to plan; not because of parenting but due to the fact that I was ignorant to the opportunities available. Sure – everyone has their dreams of being an astronaut or firefighter. My dream was to be a video game tester, since games were really the only thing that I’ve had since I was a kid. As I progressed through the years I realized that schooling wasn’t going to be my forte, so I used creativity as my primary option. My one other passion is music, and I started getting involved with DJing. I ended up playing random college parties and events, smaller things. I even mixed up some tracks and released a mash-up album. It wasn’t the best but it was mine. I was really proud of it – mostly because I had finally completed something.
Throughout that process I had realized I wanted to actually make the music, not just play it. I started trying to learn the process but with no actual musical background it was a rough start. After a couple slow progressing years, it died off and I was back to the drawing board. When the first layoff happened I thought to myself that this is certainly the chance I’ve been waiting for to finally figure out what I want to do. I had a lot of amazing help but ended up reverting back to the one true thing that holds anyone back – laziness and procrastination. I figured I would have more fun just playing games than figuring things out, which ruined the whole chance I had to discover something amazing.
A couple of months later a great job opportunity came along, and after a few weeks of persistence it all fell into place. I was given the chance to work at a new store in a field where I had an incredible amount of knowledge. Things worked out great there and I progressed through the chain of command very quickly. I was there for about 10 months, working hard and trying to make a name for myself. The only problem was that it didn’t feel like it was a long-term opportunity as it was still retail. Being where I am in life, nearing the end of my twenties, I felt I needed to start thinking long-term. I really had to look at where I want to be and what I can be doing for the next 10, 15, or even 20 years. But at the time the bills were getting paid and debt was decreasing which has been the original goal for years now. Getting ahead in life and being comfortable knowing that I’m not living week to week was my main priority.
I had finally got to a point (again) where that was beginning to be the case, and then that one line I had heard just under a year before had come back to haunt me.
….”We have to let you go.”
At first I didn’t know how to take it, and then 5 minutes after it all came together. It was a sign. This is my second chance to make it right and figure it all out. I’ve taken way too long to get things together and have been given a second opportunity. Over the years I’ve slowly started to figure out what I’ve wanted to do, and it’s been staring at me in the face all along. Working with games and technology is my true passion, and writing about it and sharing the message and opinions is where I want to be. I’ve always wanted to do a podcast, but have never been able to find dedicated people who would be able to do it (so if you know anyone…). This is where it all comes together, a new beginning for what is hoping to be the result of a lifetime of progress.
Human nature in this day and age screams procrastination, but when you want something to happen bad enough you can break through and see that opportunities don’t come very often. Some people will never even let themselves be presented with one. With the help from a couple very special people in my life, I’ve had the amazing gift of being able to take the time to figure things out and I’m not going to let it go to waste. I shared all this information to show that things can change, people can change. Opportunities can present themselves to anyone, anywhere. Being able to see the bright side of things and take a chance is what will really set things apart, by breaking out of your comfort zone. Given consecutive unfortunate circumstances, it goes to show that sometimes a couple steps back precede a few steps forward. There are so many people who I’ve met in my life that are in the process of fulfilling their dreams right now – and their strength truly impresses me.
Now it’s my turn to prove I can do it too.
(Originally published February 16, 2014)