In my last post, I talked about complacency, and how it was keeping me in a job that was no longer a good fit for me. I had outgrown it, and it was time to move on. So I quit.
Now before you go thinking I just up and quit my job without any sort of plan, I’ll admit that I didn’t quit until I knew I had landed what I think is the perfect job for me. My dream job, if you will. But let me back up a little first.
I had been contemplating my options for quite some time. I knew I was no longer happy doing the work that I was doing, but the thought of quitting my job was just so terrifying. How would I make money? How would I help support our lifestyle?
Getting a job where I go to an office every day was not something I was willing to do (I hope to never again have to do that), and having no job was not an option either.
I’ve been rocking my side income pretty hard, and I knew that if I had that much extra time to dedicate to side hustles, I might be able to eventually bring in enough, but there was just too much up in the air, because that meant no benefits, etc. Getting another job working remotely would be doable, but those positions are few and far between.
Until one such position just fell into my lap. Or my inbox, rather.
You see, I had been following the blog of a certain NY Times bestselling author and his company (who offers online courses in personal/business development) for quite some time, and one day after finishing a blog post, I saw a note at the bottom that casually said, “Oh and we’re hiring for a few positions… check out our careers page for more info.”
I clicked on the link just out of curiosity and skimmed through a few of the positions for things like podcast editor, network analyst, etc. and then saw one that jumped out at me, and I knew instantly that the job would be mine.
He was hiring a QA Specialist, which, based on the job description, is essentially a proofreader. Someone to read all of the content that he and his company puts out. Every email, every sales letter, every book, all online course material, and more.
Better yet, it was a remote position, and one which doesn’t require me to be as tied to my laptop nearly as much as the other job did. My last position required me to use a remote access program in order to do my job, so I had to be connected online at all times, and the amount of email that I exchanged each day was insane. When I wasn’t at a marina that had reliable wifi, I had to use my phone as a hotspot, and that ate up a TON of data.
I was SO excited, because as a self-professed grammar snob, this position was so up my alley that if I didn’t at least take the chance to apply, then I was a big, fat, chickenshit. I don’t know how to describe it, but I just knew it was going to be mine.
I also knew that there would be a ton of people applying for this position, so I wanted to stand out. After 8 years in my former career, my resume was lacking. I started to draft one up, and I knew if I sent it, it would be just another standard resume, and me? I’m no standard girl.
So I created a resume that was so perfect – so different – that I knew I would at least get a phone call.
I was so familiar with the writing style and “voice” that he writes in, that I knew I could use a creative and casual approach. Instead of a boring, old resume, I went to their website and created a replica of their landing page, except I changed everything to be about me.
In fact, I dropped the f-bomb right on the third line (well, a variation of it, anyway).
I put a big photo of me at the top in place of the owner’s photo. I changed his eye-catching, “draw you in” bullet-points listing his achievements to a few interesting things about me. I wrote:
- I live on a sailboat
- I can spot a typo like a mo-fo
- I’m looking for my dream job
I put a mock “Call To Action” button that said “HIRE ME”.
Below that, I didn’t list a single qualification. Instead, I showed them with web graphics and icons, and instead of listing the information from my then-current position, I pulled quotes from my bosses over the years and made a section of “testimonials”.
In other words, I nailed it.
That night, I followed the application instructions which consisted of taking a test in which I had to check spelling, grammar, copy flow, technical errors, inconsistencies, etc. I spent about an hour on the test and hit submit just as we were getting ready to leave for dinner.
And just then… my browser crashed.
I mean seriously, what are the chances that this would happen right as I was applying for my dream job?
Chris calmly said, “Honey – take the test again while it’s fresh on your mind… dinner can wait.”
But I was so huuuuuuungry. And I already had a job so I didn’t really need this job, right?
Luckily, Chris knows me well enough to know that sometimes I just need a little push. Especially when food is at the forefront of my thoughts, and I’m starting to get hangry.
“Just do it”, he said. “It won’t take long because it’s all fresh in your head.”
Luckily I took his advice and finished the test in about half the time that it took me initially. I was also very glad that my browser crashed the first time because I caught a few mistakes that I had missed on the first go.
Whew! Got her done. Let’s go eat. NOW.
The next morning, I got an email from the HR girl at the company I had applied to. It started out, “I’m very sorry, but…” Crap. That’s never a good thing. Oh well – at least I had stepped outside of my comfort zone, took a chance, and at least tried for the job, right?
Wait. Not so fast… her email read, “I’m very sorry, but we got your application, and the software program we used for the test is acting up and we can’t retrieve yours.”
I quickly replied and explained my browser crash and said that maybe that was the one that wasn’t showing up on their end, but that I had taken it again – did they get that one?
“I’m sorry – the software is acting up and we didn’t get your test at all.”
She asked me to retake it. Just to be safe, I asked if there were any way she could just send me everything in a Word document or some other format so there was no online software involved to screw everything up. Luckily she was happy to comply.
So I took the test. Again.
This time, I went through every single detail, even more painstakingly than I did the first two times, and caught a few technical mistakes that I had missed the first time (timers on videos not accurate… that sort of stuff).
A few days later, I got an email from the same girl asking when I would be available for a phone interview. We made arrangements, had the interview which went really well, and I moved to round 2, where I would be interviewed by someone on the editorial team.
The second interview went pretty good – I’m not always super quick on my feet, and she asked some tough questions that caught me off guard, such as “what is your best life hack?” I mean, could you name your best life hack right off the top of your head? I know what I said probably made zero sense, but overall I felt good about the interview.
So I made it to round 3 of the interview process. The final round. Wow – this was starting to feel like a Miss America pageant, but without the swimsuit round (thank goodness). This would be a video interview with the head of the editorial team.
I prepared by meditating, writing down key points I wanted to highlight, took some more deep breaths, and waited for the call. He called right on time, and just as I answer the call and he says hello, Jet, our dog, hears his voice and starts barking, which he usually does when he hears a strange male voice outside of the boat.
I laugh and very calmly said “Jet… shhh! No one’s outside, buddy.”
He keeps barking. Great. +1 for me.
“Ummm… can you please excuse me for a moment? I need to assure my dog that you’re not an intruder.”
I finally got Jet calmed down, and we resumed with the interview. Which I felt that I completely blew. For some reason, the video aspect of it made me super self-conscious, I was afraid that the internet would go down, and I felt like I stammered through half of it. I was so nervous, and I know it showed.
At the end of the chat, he said that I was the first person he had interviewed and that he had a few others that he wanted to speak with. He told me that he’d let me know something in a week or two. In other words, don’t call us, we’ll call you.
I waited two days and even though I felt that I was no longer in the running, I sent an email thanking him for his time and consideration. I subtly reminded him in the email about a couple of key things that I felt made me a good candidate for the position. He replied and thanked me, saying there may be a delay in a decision because of the 4th of July holiday.
Fast forward about a week and a half. I received an email from him asking if I was available to chat again… that he had a couple more questions he wanted to ask. I gave him a call and he asked me two questions. The first one was a question that centered around working remotely. The second question he asked was, “Can we make this official?”
Hell yeah, we can!
I was so excited. I’m still excited, and I’m two weeks into it!
I honestly feel like this is my dream job… or as close as I can get to it working for someone else. I know I have a lot to offer, and I’m so excited to be on a different path, one which will challenge me in ways that I’ve not yet been challenged. Plus I get paid to read the stuff that I was already reading for free anyway, and the perks are awesome.
Here’s the lesson I learned from all of this, as cliched as it is:
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.
So if you aren’t happy with where you’re at – don’t let fear keep you idle. Oftentimes it takes stepping outside of your comfort zone in order to really find or do something that makes you happy. You have to be willing to see the signs and to walk through the doors that open for you.
Look at the challenges as opportunities to grow, and believe me, it’s not always easy – and I still suck at video chat (I hate being on video), which I’ve had to do almost every single day for training, but you know what? I will get better at it. Or not. But at least I’m not afraid of it anymore.
You can’t let fear or complacency paralyze you. You’ll never get anywhere by doing that.
You also can’t assume something won’t happen or can’t happen because of your situation, and let that assumption keep you from trying. I’ve been so scared to apply for another job because I thought there was no way a company would hire me to work from our sailboat. The irony is, I later was told that what made me stand out the most as a candidate was that I lived on a sailboat.
There are so many ways we can let fear and complacency get in the way of our own success, but this experience taught me to never stand in my own way again.
So now it’s your turn – I wanna know about the kind of things that are keeping you “stuck”, or about a hurdle you overcame to get you to the next level. Tell me about it in the comments below.
(P.S. Don’t worry – I’m still rockin’ the side hustles, and you’re gonna see some really cool stuff on here soon!)