Before I embarked on my current 3 year world tour as an online entrepreneur I held a series of jobs to pay the bills. Like any employee, I faced a number of difficult circumstances during each stop.
Instead of bemoaning each instance, I want to share the lessons I learned to help you improve. Each tough situation inspired me to start my own business online and travel the world in some way. You might be suffering through similar experiences. I feel your pain.
Feeling lost or confused plagues most job seekers, business owners or employees at one time through their careers. I too felt directionless for years before I found my current path.
In the past 3 years I have lived in:
- Costa Rica
- Sri Lanka
- Chiang Mai
This is not a 2 day in and out deal. I have lived in Bali for 4 months, Thailand for 1 year and I have a 4 month trip coming soon to Fiji, where I will live at a beach front home.
I am sharing this to inspire you. No matter where you might be now, your dream job or dream business opportunity awaits if you can take valuable lessons from your most difficult circumstances.
Embracing Cultural Differences and Language Barriers at the Terminal
Ahhh….the shipping terminal. For over 4 years I was employed as a security officer at a pier in the Tri-State area. I held a number of posts during this time frame. Learning how to work with people from all over the world was my greatest lesson.
I acted as an intermediary between people who hated each other based on cultural differences carried from their home countries. I learned how to overcome language barriers as many truckers only spoke a few words of English. I also learned how to do the right thing when many other pier guards allowed the negative culture of the terminal to cloud their vision.
Working in a diverse environment eased my transition into international travel. I rarely feel lost or uncomfortable whether I am living in Thailand, Bali, Costa Rica or any spot in the world.
Learning the Concept of Emotional Responsibility as an Inside Rep
I remember working my first day as an inside sales representative at one of the world’s largest software resellers. I felt excited. Working my first job out of college boosted my self-esteem and padded my savings account.
Unfortunately I had to become emotionally responsible too because I never had dealt with irate customers on the phone, anxious bosses or CEOs who felt I should have only 5 vacation days each year.
I felt depressed after my first month working at this job. I came to genuinely dislike my duties, the office and the entire 9 to 5 scene. I foolishly stuck around for almost a year and a half before quitting.
I learned how to interact with people in a high-pressure environment at this gig. I also learned how to stand up for myself when co-workers or customers wanted to take advantage of me. These lessons served me well in my employee and online business careers.
I remain calm in the face of criticism as a prospering online entrepreneur. I do not allow people to ruffle my feathers. I simply create value and make connections to grow my ventures despite what the people around me are doing.
Being Selfish at the Worst Job of My Life
I hated working as a glorified secretary at a software firm. I answered 3 phone lines, checked 2 email inboxes and helped out with other in office duties. I suspect the person who previously held the position quit suddenly because my trainer was inundated with holding down his job and my position before I showed up.
After approximately 2 weeks, I walked out of the door and never returned. I notified no one. I left a voicemail for my manager the next day. He simply requested that I mail in my ID card. I complied.
I learned the value of being selfish if you truly despise a job with all your heart and soul. I did myself, my co-workers, and the customers of the company no service by being depressed, angry and miserable just so I could draw a paycheck each week.
This dark episode inspired me to seek out only jobs that promised happiness and fulfillment in the future. I had to look out for me first. I would never accept a job based solely on a paycheck as I did with this position. I sought happiness from that point forward and since traveling was near and dear to my heart I decided to globe trot one day.
Dealing with a 2 Hour Daily Commute as an Enrollment Representative
I worked for a large financial institution early on as a professional. The job was easy but the commute was murder. Some days I spent 2 to 2 and a half hours on the road between both trips to and from work. I travelled 47 miles each way.
I remember commuting during a paralyzing snowstorm. I spent 8 hours driving home that day.
My brutal commutes taught me how to embrace the sour with the sweet. My pay was OK and my job was easy but my commute was difficult. I also learned that working from home beats traveling to the office.
If I was spending 14 hours each week traveling somewhere – and I did work 7 days a week sometimes – I decided that a flight from NY JFK to Shanghai, China, would be how I used these 14 hours. I preferred to see the world instead of watching New Jersey traffic each day.
Working 18 Hour Days as a Security Officer
Ok I am revisiting the shipping terminal. During my pier guard days I sometimes worked from 6 AM to 12 AM. I also worked unexpected double shifts from 4 PM to 8 AM when my relief called out. I liked getting overtime but the stress and fatigue experienced working 16 or 18 hours straight wore me down.
I learned how to stay awake when my body needed sleep. I also learned to say “no” to overtime after falling asleep at the wheel driving home from work one day.
I knew working long, hard hours for someone other than me was not my gig. After being downsized from my security guard job I started my online odyssey and never looked back.
Sometimes you need to put in long hours to succeed with your business. At times, you need to work late to score the coveted promotion. When working long and hard affects your health or mental well-being for weeks or months choose a new job or start a new business.
I hit my wit’s end after doing the 14 to 18 hour bit on and off for 4 years. I felt relieved to be downsized.
Learn from your most tough to embrace mistakes. Take valuable lessons from your most difficult work place experiences. Map out your dream career by making each seeming failure a stepping stone to successful living.