I wanted to share some awesome news with you all, and in order for this news to have some level of significant impact, I feel I should start from the beginning.
It was no secret that in the last few years I was not happy with where I was in life. I never thought that my hometown felt like home, I wasn’t happy with my career, and I felt utterly trapped and alone. I did what I could to get out, but there were a few opportunities that slipped through my fingers and I felt even sadder with each that flew by.
I was in a very toxic environment at the time, completely unhappy and I was even breaking down often. Luckily, I had several pillars of support in my life, some were happy that I was trying to move on with my life and others who were upset that I wanted to leave them behind but still encouraged me to follow my dreams. They were the best. Now, I had no idea where I was meant to be, only that I would have the biggest regret if I stayed.
I made several attempts to make it to Austin. It was a city that I had visited several times over the last 5 years, and it felt like a healthier and more positive atmosphere overall. I figured… why not try to make that my new home? And try I did. I can’t go into details, but there were more than a handful of times where I received messages or calls indicating that I didn’t have enough experience or other qualifications. I never tried to get my hopes up during interview processes, but at the same time, there was always some level of expectation of success because you did your best to kick ass. But that success never came. There were even a couple of times where I felt like I was slapped in the face because I thought passion, experience, and loyalty would help me achieve my goals. No such luck. I was told my long term ambitions weren’t good enough. It took me a while to get back on my feet after that.
But I continued networking and making connections. I continued to learn all I could from my peers and role models. And even though it was hard to wake up in the mornings at times, I just kept hoping onto the belief that one day, things will work out for me.
Because of my desire to leave home, and having a couple of carrots dangled in front of me, I took a risk and didn’t renew the lease on my apartment. Not gonna lie. That was one of the most brutal things I’ve ever done to myself. Didn’t renew for a few months, opportunities slipped away, then dove into a 6 month lease, then didn’t renew again because I had a couple more things sent my way. It was a weird feeling because I was both being hopeful and making myself even sadder at the same time. If you’ve never leased month to month, it essentially adds 30% of your base rent on top of your well… base rent. And when you renew a lease for 12 -16 months, that is usually the cheapest base rent to owe, however, every year you stay in a complex, they raise the rent at least 10% every year. And if you don’t immediately renew like I did, you don’t get that 10% hike, you get lumped into the “industry average” and that went even higher. Like I said, it was pretty brutal.
I was pretty miserable at this point. Even my parents began to notice a change in my behavior. I was even contemplating talking to a professional at one point. First question I would have asked was “am I wasting my life for something that will never happen?” and the worst part is, I was pretty sure they couldn’t answer that.
After what seemed like half my life that had gone by, I found something I qualified for! And it was in Austin! I also knew someone who could give me a great referral, so I went for it. And holy crap, they contacted me back. Four phone interviews and one test later, I was on my way to meet people in person. Only, I couldn’t, I found later. I won’t go into details, but there was absolutely no bad blood whatsoever. We kept in touch and I even become friends with the people who were trying to recruit me. It was a positive experience and I wished with all my heart that our paths would cross again. Five months later. I got that glorious message.
Literally, a few weeks before I received this message, I already made the decision to go to Austin and not look back. I told my apartment complex that I was moving, and I was talking to temp agencies in Austin. I was so depressed and sad, I just decided to make the leap because I couldn’t stay in my hometown anymore as I was. Then that message came, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I said yes, agreeing to a contract, and there was such a weight that was lifted from me, I momentarily forgot that I was packing up my life and leaving everything I knew behind me.
Three amazing friends drove with me and the moving truck to Austin in November (shoutout to Mary, Bret, and Chey), and they were kind enough to even unpack all of my things in my new apartment. I started work a week later, and I couldn’t believe how NICE everyone was. My team was and is still awesome and the best people I could ever hope to work with, my department is full of talented and wonderful people, and the company culture itself made me feel so welcome like I was a real person and not just a body or a number. I was in disbelief for the first couple months.
Then a couple more months went by, and I wondered what would become of me. The reality is, I was under contract, so there was no guarantee that I would stay on board. I started losing a teeny tiny bit of sleep due to the anxiety and fear of having to start this process all over again. I was afraid of losing the best job I ever had in my life. I was afraid of losing my team because they were more than my peers, they were my friends. My contract was due to end in May. I was sweating bullets toward mid-April. I could do the job, and I did it well. I always gave them my best, and I always made sure to take care of my team and any others I worked with. I hope that they would keep me. But in the back of my mind, I felt the career teachings of my hometown, that dreams were meant to be crushed.
I got another message. I went through four more interviews. And then I received my official offer letter.
I was driving home that day, and ended up at a stoplight. I cried so hard. And I laughed so loud.
I couldn’t tell you how scared I was for the majority of 2016. I was downright terrified at times, and I was calm and collected during others. That is, until reality set in and I thought “OMG. I’m making a mistake.” But I went with it. I went with my gut, and I went with 85% of my parents’ blessing (Mama Fried Rice was pretty heartbroken), and I followed my dreams. Somehow, it worked out.
So now I will always be an advocate of if you feel that your life is pulling you in a direction, you owe it to yourself to at least see what’s there. Will it actually pay off in the end? It might, it might not. There’s no promise that it will. But I always felt I would regret it if I didn’t at least try.
So May 1st was my official first day as (in my eyes) a full fledged adult.
Guys, it was so worth taking that risk.