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I’ve always mindfully positioned myself for the next thing.
I chucked my career as an economist and started a successful personal training business. But I was prudent about how I did it. I cultivated my soon to be business while I was working full time. Then I eased out of my “day job” and into my business and tried not to piss anyone off in the process.
Eight years after I started my business, I had to have my left knee replaced (a horror show) and I couldn’t perform in the business anymore. I sold the business and thought “What now?” I was depressed with the thought that I had to reinvent myself again, but a girl’s got to pay the bills.
I reconciled myself to going back to a desk job. At the time I was 52-years old (I am now 56) and the job market was tight. I also decided I wanted to work for the government where I could have good benefits and a good retirement plan. It is nearly impossible to get a gov’t job without trying for years.
I did the next best thing. I took a job at a consulting company that had a contract with the Census Bureau. It was a serious pay cut and the work was patently beneath my level. I took it with the thought that maybe I could worm my way into a permanent gov’t position.
Long story short, I networked with the right people (quickly realizing where the opportunities were), did an excellent job, and got myself noticed. The right people created a position tailor made for me, which was commensurate with my skill and salary level. I had to go through the “competitive process” and within two months, I was a permanent government employee. I was in the consulting job for ten months before this happened. Sadly, things don’t happen over night. This has always and continues to annoy me.
Fast forward two years. Bam! I got my brain disease diagnosis. OK, time to position myself for something else because it was clear I couldn’t do my current work at Census forever. My new goal is disability retirement from the government before I became a slobbering mess. I want to be able to pay the bills and have time to do a few things.
I started networking again and found an awesome woman (Tina) who wanted to start an all-female private detective agency. Being a PI has appealed to me since I was a little girl. So I positioned myself with Tina as a dependable, trustworthy friend. And she is great, so this wasn’t a hardship. The point is that I bumped into someone who already had a successful business, had the juice to start a new one, and who I really liked and respected.
I took a Private Investigator class (I have a badge!!!) and will be ready to go on board with her when I retire from the government (my goal: ~1.5 year). Tina and her husband have become great friends and are fun as hell to hang out with. Bonus!
Sidebar: I’m not Machiavellian or disingenuous with folks. It is largely about serendipity, but when something or someone mind-numbingly fabulous gets placed in my path, I try to cultivate the opportunity.
I’m very deliberate with my time now and I want relationships with folks who are outstanding individuals, oodles of fun, and who I can learn from (and hopefully they learn a thing or two from me).
My advice to you would be to live life purposely. Settle on one or two things that call your name and go after them like a pit bull. Follow the serendipitous paths thrown in your way and if they scare you, then REALLY seize them. And yes, you’ve got to do the tedious shit at the same time, such as having a “day job.” It’s not all magic.
No one can tell you what your passion is. But you know in your heart of hearts what you can monetize in a sincere way. If you’re bullshitting, everyone will know and your plan will be foiled. Drats!
You sound like a very strong woman – go git it girl!