Never Chase Success for the Wrong Reasons

This past week has been one of the more eventful ones of the last several and not in a typical sense. I was sick for a few days with a horrible fever. Once that was over I got a new surge of energy and applied to a few more jobs. I’m close to approaching the magic 20. I got my first two jobs so quickly, that I’m not used to going through such a long period without at least hearing back from a potential employer. And today I finally went and got myself a new transmission for my car. The silver lining was that it ended up being about $35 less than what I originally thought it would be. There is nothing I hate more than spending money on non-wrestling or anime  related things. But driving is pretty important!

For some reason the job situation has been weighing heavily on my mind. I think a large portion of it comes from seeing so many of the friends I went to college with working high paying jobs and realizing that maybe with a little more determination I could be like them. My first full-time job was great and the salary was awesome. My second job was not so great. I made close to the same salary, but absolutely disliked my boss. Plus it was a boring office assistant job.

Earlier this week I noticed a job opening at a local newspaper for a general assignment reporter. I called the managing editor and inquired about the position. He told me that he would e-mail me a copy of what he referred to as a “deal maker.” It was basically a description of everything I would probably like or hate about the job. That way I would know for sure whether to apply for it or not to waste my time.

I’ve always had a unique fear of working at a real newspaper. Though I wrote for my college newspaper and had successful internships at others, I’ve always dreaded the lifestyle of a news reporter. You’re constantly on the go covering everything and it’s as if you never seem to have much of a life outside of the job. I should know being that my best friend works at one. In fairness, I did check out what the editor had to say. Here’s what it read:

“I tend to be direct –some say blunt –and don’t like to waste your time or mine.

So here’s the deal:

Our top reporter is leaving for a bigger job. She covers city of Monroe, schools and non-profits for starters.

Despite the beat, the job is mostly general assignment. We have but three reporters covering a county with 14 municipalities and 210,000 people.

Obviously way more work than we can do. So we pick and choose as best we can.

That means I need a reporter — a person who can build relationships, collect information, stay informed — so we can make good choices about what we will write.

I need someone who can write tight and fast, and who won’t blink at our publisher’s requirement that reporters write an average of 10 stories a week. I need some who also knows how to knock out a quick and dirty story to leave enough time to go deep on a story that merits real work.

For all that, we will pay you about $21,500 with BC/BS, dental, mileage and 401K.

And, you have to be a good team player and do your share of the piddling work — typing, social news, etc.

We are few and we all have each other’s backs. I do want someone who will be a good fit.

And obviously this job would require relocation.

Still interested?”

After reading it I decided to decline. Instead I applied to two local jobs that deal with writing and editing. That way I can at least put to use what I learned in school.

A lot of people may be curious as to why I may not be as proactive in getting a newspaper job. After all, everyone assumes that I should at least give it shot. It will give me experience and you know how the old saying goes: “You should at least do it for a little while even if you don’t like it.”

That is where I draw the line. I’ve been around enough miserable people (plus from my own experience) to know that there is no worse feeling than reporting everyday to a job you cannot stand. I’ve literally made a personal promise to myself that it will never happen again. My current part-time grocery store job is one of the few jobs I’ve had that I can honestly say I love showing up to work for. My coworkers are like family and I like the place so much that I’m actually willing to go above and beyond the call of duty  to serve our customers. In a nutshell, that it what having a dream job is all about. Do I want to be there forever making slightly above minimum wage? No. But I do consider myself fortunate to actually enjoy what I’m doing for a living. Besides, I still stay with my folks so it’s not like I have to worry about rent and bills (thank God).

It seems that striving to catch up to my peers has caused me to really develop a misguided view of success. I’ve always believed that true success will come once I earn a huge salary, live in a huge house, and finally land a major book deal (all three will happen for me), but I must admit that I feel successful everyday I wake up. I’m college educated,  working a job I enjoy, have a loving family, a great girlfriend, great friends, a great credit score, plenty of money saved in the bank, and I’ve never been in trouble with the law. Sounds like I’m living a darn good life after all!

The following is a quote from the Anime Movie Guide by Helen McCarthy. The excerpt is from a review of Hayao Miyazaki’s film Kiki’s Delivery Service (which is one of the best animated family films ever).

“She also has to confront the possibility that life may not work out just as she wants it to; her talents may fail her, she may not be a big success, and maybe she’ll just have to get by on hard work, good nature and kindness. Her faith in herself waivers, and it takes the help of good friends to restore it; but she comes to realize that, whatever special talents or abilities people may have, it’s their human qualities that make them special in themselves.”

This quote sounded so great that I just had to put it in here even if it kind of doesn’t relate to this story. Well, I’ll take a shot at tying it in.

The point I wish to make is that success means different things to different people. Don’t ever get so caught up in getting ahead in life and impressing others, that you forget what‘s truly important. Often, when we think to ourselves that life isn’t going the way we would like, it may be that you’re actually doing the right thing all along. Sometimes you just have to keep working hard at things and wait for them to turn around. Just because I’ve applied to a ton of jobs without hearing back from any doesn’t mean that I will give up. I’ll keep applying and in the meantime, I’ll try my best to not complain and to continue enjoying life, because when I stop and really think about it, I’m really thankful to be where I’m at in life.

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4 thoughts on “Never Chase Success for the Wrong Reasons

  1. Success does mean different things to different people like being rich does. Being rich doesn’t always pertain to monetary value. I laughed at when you said good credit score. This was a good read.

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