“What do you do?”
That innocent ice-breaker asked when you meet someone new. We’ve asked it. We’ve been asked it. Countless times.
No biggie, right?
That simple sentence says volumes about how we’re taught to value ourselves and our lives.
Our value in this world has seemingly become defined by our job and the size of our bank account.
What we do to earn a living (and how much it pays) has become paramount in this capitalistic, money-driven world. We are taught that success is defined by how much money we make; how many nice things we have; how high we can climb on the company ladder.
The better the job = the higher the pay = the easier our lives are = the happier we are. Right?
That’s what I thought, anyway.
Growing up in a middle-class family, I learned the apparent formula for life: 1) get good grades, 2) go to a four-year college, 3) use that degree to get a good, well-paying job, 4) get married, 5) buy a house, 6) have kids, and 7) work until I retire — comfortably.
So I started doing just that.
Of course, it wasn’t as smooth sailing as the formula suggested.
I had a disastrous start to step 3, when I discovered the career I focused my college education on – to be a cinematographer in the movie industry – was NOT the environment for me.
No. Not even close.
So I did what many people do: got various jobs – any job – for the sole reason of paying the bills. I worked hard at each of them in an effort to climb the ladder to better and higher paying jobs.
Fortunately, my hard work paid off. I ended up with what I thought was my dream job: a marketing communications position with a prestigious company in the heart of silicon valley.
It seemed to check all my desired boxes of being creative, lucrative and high on the value ladder. Check, check, check.
I was a success. I was happy — no…PROUD — to answer the question, “What do you do?”
Here I was, knocking at the door of a six-figure salary, married, owned a house, and had two kids…and all before my 30th birthday.
No. Not even close.
Despite my apparent success in the formula for life – I felt dead inside. My children were the only bright spot in an otherwise barren terrain.
My marriage was falling apart. My career was was going strong…but going where? The “perfect” job that started out as exciting and fulfilling was turning into drudgery and overwhelming stress after years of budget cuts, added workloads, and the ever-present threat of layoffs.
My 9-5 was more like a 7-7 with the commute factored in. When I got home, the time spent with my kids was limited to feeding them dinner and putting them to bed.
I was exhausted and drained at the end of each day, and I dreaded having to start the whole thing over again the next morning.
Where was the happiness I was promised in this formula for life? What the hell was I living for anyway? Answer: the weekend.
Yeah… the weekend. Those two glorious days each week.
Yet they never felt long enough. Probably because they were spent taking care of my kids. And trying to save my crumbling marriage.
They were never about me. My passions. Refueling my inner tank.
No wonder I felt dead inside.
I kept thinking there HAD to be more to life than this. Otherwise, what was the point?
When would that happy life the formula promised me actually start? Retirement?
With retirement pensions now replaced by 401ks and the stock market as volatile as it was, would retirement ever actually come?
And even if it did…with the retirement age continually being pushed later and later, what would I actually do during retirement anyway? Catch up on all the sleep I lost over the years?
The sad fact is that this story is incredibly common.
So many of us long to break out of the confines of our society’s pervasive illusion that our jobs and the money they generate equals happiness. Of course they don’t. We know better.
We dream of living in a world where taking care of our bodies, minds, and natural environment are of the utmost value and take priority over filling up our bank accounts.
And yet tell that to the ones who’ve thrown caution to the wind and are following their ideals…but are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on their plates.
Idealism doesn’t seem to pay very well. In fact, the pay is usually sporadic and downright shitty.
Let’s face it: our bank accounts still reign supreme in our capitalistic existence.
We are usually faced with two equally disappointing choices:
ONE: Work in a high-paying, high-stress, unfulfilling job and live VERY “comfortably.” But do so knowing that our soul will die a little more each day because we’re not actually LIVING. We’re simply existing to work; to earn a paycheck that we know can’t ever buy us the fulfilling, purposeful life we want…and NEED.
TWO: Eke out a living following our passion and purpose in life. Make a difference by doing good in the world in a way that upholds our values and beliefs. But do so knowing that we’ll probably be relegated to a life with so little money in our bank account that we’ll constantly be struggling to pay the bills — and suffer the stress and hardship that comes with that.
Depressing, right? How do we even begin to choose?
I can only speak for me, but knowing how difficult it was struggling to pay for basic necessities during and the few years after college, I couldn’t imagine returning to that existence — no matter how purposeful it would be — especially after my divorce and needing to help support my children as a single mom.
So I emotionally numbed myself to that deep ache inside of me and trudged on in my high-paying job…secretly hoping that happiness would just magically come my way.
Here’s the thing about life: when we make a choice that goes against that inner voice of ours, it often has a way of sending us a wake-up call to help us see the error of our ways.
It certainly did in my case. Not just one. Five. (Because I’m THAT stubborn!)
Wake-up call #1: remember that “perfect” job of mine? The continual layoffs finally caught up with me after 7 years on the job. While it wasn’t a dire situation because I had since remarried and had my husband’s income to help, I still needed to quickly find another similar-paying job to cover our monthly expenses.
I was fortunate enough to get several job offers to choose from, and decided to take a different position at the same company I was just laid off from because it was more creative in nature and allowed me to work from home 100% of the time.
And yet I still felt dead inside.
Wake-up call #2: eight short months later I got laid off by the same company AGAIN. (I guess I should have seen that one coming.) This time I went to work at a smaller company a lower salary, but still in the same ballpark.
It was much less creative and flexible, and more like those early jobs where I worked for the sake of earning a paycheck. But it was a paycheck that helped pay the bills.
And I felt even more dead inside…but couldn’t see any realistic alternative.
Wake-up call #3: the worst one of all. One year into my new job, our 4-year old daughter died suddenly and without warning. Life as I knew it was over. I was thrown into a new reality with all new rules, values and priorities.
That dead feeling I had before? This was a bazillion times worse. It was the wake-up call of all wake-up calls. I couldn’t care LESS about my job or a successful career. None of that mattered anymore.
And YET… I still needed to pay those fucking bills. So I put my head down and did whatever it took to get through each day at work. I was in emotional survival mode.
Wake-up call #4: a year after my daughter’s death, our youngest son was born. The owner of the company I worked for preferred my position to be in the office 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. I’d had it. I would no longer put the needs of my work over the needs of me and my family.
While we couldn’t survive on one income alone, I quit and we were able to reorganize our finances to allow for me to work part time so I could spend more time with my family and focus on healing my broken heart.
So I found a job 10 minutes from my house that was half-time and allowed me to work from home 2 days a week (albeit at a much lower salary). It had the added bonus of being a company that provided needed support to local communities and nonprofits. I thought maybe that fact would satisfy my inner need for feeling like I was honoring my values and doing good in this world.
I thought that this would FINALLY be the answer to feeling dead inside.
No. Not even close.
Within a year, the job went from half-time to full-time because it was a full-time position worth of work and we needed the money to cover all those damn bills. While I still got to work from home 2 days a week and leave the office by 3:00pm to be with my kids after school, the stress of the job was through the roof.
Additionally, I was still doing work I was good at — but not passionate about. Result? You got it… I felt dead inside.
Wake-up call #5: the final call. After close to 5 years at this job, I was laid off. I actually welcomed this layoff because I had already given up on ever finding fulfillment at this job long ago. I had stayed ONLY for the generous flexibility the job offered.
“Universe, I hear you loud and clear! I may be a slow learner…but I’ve learned my lesson.”
I was officially done with the corporate life. I made the decision then and there that I was closing that chapter of my life and starting a new one.
In this new chapter, I would stay true to my ideals and find work that allowed me to get paid to do the things that I’m passionate about and that honored my values. I would do good in this world and make a real, tangible difference in people’s lives.
Easier said than done.
It took many months of careful searching, but I finally found what I was looking for.
Enter: Abundant Yogi.
Just when I was getting majorly discouraged, the universe seemed to hand the answer to me on a silver platter.
I discovered Abundant Yogi. A company that not only shares my ideals and values, but actually teaches people how they can help create that world where taking care of our bodies, minds, and natural environment are of the utmost value AND fill up their bank accounts while doing it!
It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a yoga student or teacher. Here was the solution for learning how to GET PAID to be creative and purposeful — in my case, turn my passion for writing into a way of supporting myself financially.
FINALLY, I no longer feel dead inside.
I no longer simply exist day-to-day and live for the weekend. I’ve learned how to passionately LIVE every day of my life. And get PAID to do it.
So how about you?
Are you ready to stop exhausting yourself in an unrewarding corporate career that’s slowly killing your soul?
Every great journey starts with a few small steps.
In this case, your first steps involve a few minutes of your time to watch a few short videos that explain how Abundant Yogi can help you transform your life. Watch the first one now.
Or wait for the weekend.
Totally up to you.