Stability is a fairy tale (but I love fairy tales)

I am at a career crossroads, peering in every direction, looking for a big sign that says “Stability, 2 miles.”

After weeks at this crossroads, I have to admit that Stability is not a destination just over the horizon, a few miles into Security County. Stability is an enormous castle surrounded by sparkling moat water where pixies and unicorns frolic. Yeah, it is a fairy tale. Yet I still want it desperately.

My personal crossroads is this: in the past six months, more than 20 people have suggested I start my own business. As a contractor I can help people and companies find their voice and tell their story through marketing, PR and social media. I would also work as an ambassador/affiliate for other businesses such as CareerAdvice4U, sharing my enthusiasm for those companies’ amazing services. I registered with the Small Business Development Center, got reference books from the library and interviewed dozens of entrepreneurs. I started my business plan, sales model and rate structure.

And then I hit the road block square in the face, again.

What about my beautiful fairy tale where money is certain, vacation days are paid and insurance covers all my needs? I can’t seem to let go of the notion for a handful of reasons. First, I was raised by parents with traditional jobs. Second, I am up to my eyeballs in credit card debt, my savings and IRA are squandered and I have a big mortgage. Lastly, I suffer from chronic migraines and have used Imitrex since landing in its study program in 1992. Refills for pills or shots are hundreds of dollars.

Still, I know jobs can vanish. I lost two jobs in two years by no fault of my own. A recent LinkedIn discussion about salary verses commission jobs reiterated the point.

“Security is an illusion sold to people to get them to work for less by settling for less. The only real job security is your own bootstraps,” says Brad Justice.

“Many people “enjoying” a salary, without the benefit of an employment agreement, are concerned about (a) salary reductions, (b) layoffs, (c) merger/acquisitions,” added Vince Gallo.

These guys have been independent workers for years, so the choice is obvious to them. For the rest of us, a life-changing decision like this calls for help from a career coach like Sean Harry (www.CareerAdvice4u.com/311) or a life coach like James Warrick (www.takeflightcoaching.org). Both men have helped me listen to my heart and become more clear about my pending decision. There is no “right” answer, but I can’t keep standing still. Today, I need to step forward and stop worrying about the correct path. As I heard myself saying to coach Warrick … JUST DO IT.

(Author’s request: If you have gone through a process like this, please share your experience with me and the millions of us standing at the crossroads. Thank you in advance!)

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5 Responses to “Stability is a fairy tale (but I love fairy tales)”

  1. MAC Berger Says:

    You know my story! I’m cheering you on you will know which path to chose when it comes to you. Hang in there!

  2. Megan Strand Says:

    Loving your blog posts and this one caught my eye, in particular. My story is that I was an employee in a former life, then had a baby and caught the entrepreneurial bug, all in one year.

    I was a partner in a business that did well for a handful of years and then ended up having to dissolve it due to some serious health issues of my business partner. This was an incredible learning experience!

    After that, I found myself in a place that sounds similar to where you are now…should I go out on my own…shouldn’t I…and ended up looking for a “job” and landed 3 to choose from. I chose what felt like the best fit with the most flexibility and, 9 months later, fast forward to today. I’m leaving that job in 8 days. One thing I learned in the past 9 months is that I CAN do this on my own and I really need to. So I find myself again in that “no man’s land” place but this time, I know I can do it. Ask me WHAT I’ll be doing and that’s another story. Not 100% sure yet.

    So, if you’re not sure if you WANT to brave it alone, that’s one thing. It is a tremendous amount of work, as I’m sure you know. 🙂 But don’t let fear stand in your way. You’re obviously a very talented writer and I’m sure that’s only one talent of many. If you signed up for the 30-days-of-blogging, you obviously have some endurance as well!

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts – best of luck!

    • happyasalarque Says:

      Wow. Thanks for sharing Megan. Sometimes I feel like this crossroad is unique to me, yet I know it’s not. The idea of having my own business came from people who know me, and was a bit of a slap in the face. After the 20th person suggested it, I felt like the universe was saying “wake up!” Awake now, I need to approach the idea as an adventure. Feel free to email me and possibly we can learn more from each other. larque@ymail.com

  3. Christine Says:

    Hi Larque,

    I certainly understand your fear, you know I was laid off in August. But what I haven’t shared is that this is my fourth lay-off.

    The first one in the late 1980s after I had moved clear across the country from Oregon to New York and the week after my furniture arrived and three months into the job when my boss lost his major contract. By nature I am not an adventurous person and to move across country where the only person I knew was my boss; then lose the job and have my boss vanish into his own depths of despair…I would not wish the panic and fear and sense of aloneness on anyone. I will confess that I packed up what I could, put the rest into storage and with my six cats in a Honda CRX, fled back to the west coast to family and familiarity. Between temp jobs and job searching it took me a full year before I found another job back in my old industry and three more years before my furniture moved back to the west coast.

    My second lay-off was no big deal – I had a part-time job that I was able to parlay into a full-time position.

    The third lay-off was huge – it challenged my sense of value, my sense of worthiness. I had worked really hard in this company and felt that if I could not make it here, I couldn’t make it anywhere. I was my own worst enemy and sunk into my own version of hell. I couldn’t hear anything positive anyone said or did – and one day during an acupuncture treatment for knee pain, the dam broke – I was a sobbing, blubbering, hiccupping mess. The acupuncturist’s office happened to be in a center where there was a counselor who offered to work with me and with her guidance and support I was able to pull myself up and move forward and within a month had landed a job.

    This last lay-off was a shock – how could they lay *me* off. I was their most experienced employee! I spent the time before turning in my equipment and tools gathering my resources and being angry. In the weeks that have followed while I work towards what I want to do next I realize that this lay-off and letting me go was really the company’s loss…and maybe an opportunity for me. So…how can I take this lemon and make lemonade?

    I am doing projects that I did not have time for before – I had wondered whether I would be able to “handle” retirement if and when that time comes. Yes! I can, quite nicely thank you. I am getting to know my neighbors who I only saw in passing before. Yes, I am looking for what I will do next – I have a unique skill set and my challenge is to take the blinders off and make that skill set fit more than one industry and it may take the entire term of unemployment…or maybe things will come together next week. It is a completely different process – this job search thing – than before. Cover letters, resumes, career branding, LinkedIn – what you can and can’t put on cover letters, resumes, dates or no dates, references or no references…Holy Mackerel ! As I apply for different jobs and explore my options, I have a list called “if push comes to shove” consisting of job possibilities I will explore if push does come to shove and I need something to put food on the table.

    What is the difference in my attitude between the lay-offs? I still have bills to pay. I can’t not be working – I can’t afford to retire. I am not afraid this time around – I have a better support system and I believe in myself and what I can do.

    I don’t feel alone this time.

    Larque,

    You have talents and skills that you have not yet begun to tap into yet. Whether you take a part-time gig just to put food on the table while you work on your dream or decide to pursue your dream full-time – it will work out the way it is supposed to. This is a bump on the road of life – a big bump to be sure and a cliché, I know. But you are not alone. Let’s talk – maybe I can help. Certainly I can listen.

  4. Linda Says:

    I once walked cross-country up a wooded hill. The top was wonderful and I wandered for an hour or two. When I went to descend I couldn’t find the way I had come up. I kept looking and making small starts only to return because I wasn’t sure. I felt certain the way would emerge if I focused and applied myself. I wanted that path ‘with heart’. As the sun began to go over the hill, I had to act. I made a choice and began my journey. Then it struck me: the ‘path with heart’ is the one I put my heart into.
    Much love,
    Linda

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