Have you ever felt like something just doesn’t fit? Kind of like everyone around you is sharing the jeans from The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants and you’re the only person they don’t look right on? That’s exactly how I felt while navigating the job market.

Stick to the Status Quo—or Don’t

Selena S.

Mar 1, 2022

WRITTEN

Have you ever felt like something just doesn’t fit? Kind of like everyone around you is sharing the jeans from The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants and you’re the only person they don’t look right on? That’s exactly how I felt while navigating the job market and workforce after I graduated college at the start of an unexpected global pandemic with no career lined up because I had banked on backpacking indefinitely. 

Plan = obliterated

After months of tweaking my resume, submitting hundreds of applications, and receiving apologies rather than congratulations, I felt completely defeated. 

Freelancing was something that was practically dropped in front of me by a friend (and my now editorial manager, Madelyn) and I was graciously given a go at it. That blind chance gave me something better than fitting into those SOTTP jeans could ever have given me; it sparked a fire within my soul that, deep down, I knew I always had. 

There was no career path I was destined for or a role I felt super passionate about, even when I tried to convince myself that becoming a pharmacist was what I was made for (story for another time). I did, however, fall in love with the idea of traveling the world before I settled down. Freelancing allowed me to book my first solo trip to the beautiful islands of Hawaii for six weeks and work from there without any issue. Though there was a time difference, I was able to meet my deadlines and have the time of my life. Those six weeks gave me a little glimpse of what life would be like if I just really stuck it out and expanded my skill set enough to do this full-time. 

View of Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach (Oahu, Hawaii)

When I stepped off of the plane ride from the mainland, after a long and sleepy 10 hours, I was immediately met with the aloha spirit. Between the friendly smiles to the warm air, I knew I was right where I needed to be. After settling in for a few days, I sat on my hostel balcony with literal tears streaming down my face thinking about how every decision, including ones that I thought were mistakes, led me to this moment. 

“…I sat on my hostel balcony with literal tears streaming down my face thinking about how every decision, including ones that I thought were mistakes, led me to this moment.”

In that same moment, I emailed my college advisor — who helped me successfully navigate a major course correct and change my major during my senior year — and thanked him for his words of wisdom and encouragemt (college and life-related). We only had one meeting but it was enough to genuinely impact me. This advisor honestly cared about my future and somehow knew exactly what I needed to hear and for that, I am forever grateful because it changed the trajectory of my entire life. 

Long story short, I finished the trip with so much love for myself, my new career, the people I met, and the beautiful islands of Hawaii. 

Waimea Canyon State Park (Kauai, Hawaii)

Before working with TCS, I was a server at various restaurants, so I was used to being physically exhausted by the end of a shift. As you can imagine, this hugely changed when I started working remotely. During the first few months of freelancing, I struggled with keeping a schedule and being disciplined with my time. Though my deadlines were met, I would feel paralyzing anxiety that hindered me from completing my work early. I felt like I needed the adrenaline of almost being late to get me through. But I knew that mindset wasn’t sustainable, especially if I wanted to do it full-time. As months went on, I learned to manage my time better and eventually take on bigger roles with more responsibility. 

As an adult, learning a new set of skills is unexplainably intimidating and I know that if I didn’t want this badly enough, I would self-sabotage my chance at continuing to live my dream of traveling full-time. Remote work isn’t always rainbows and butterflies but it is rewarding. Not everyone is cut out for a traditional office job — just like everyone isn’t made to do freelancing work. It’s important to be honest with yourself and truly think about what you want. 

It’s important to be honest with yourself, truly decide what you want, and stay the course required to see it come to fruition.

If there’s even a little part of yourself that thinks you can do it, I hope you have the boldness to take a leap of faith. Maybe listen to Billy Joel’s Vienna a few times to muster up the courage to follow your heart.

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