In 2015, I applied to 217 jobs across three different cities. Life was like a game of Twister that year and one foot was planted on red. Red was Milan, Italy where my heart was; I'd gotten a Masters, consumed a new culture and vowed to secure a senior-level luxury marketing position (with Gucci preferably) that I thought this newly-minted degree should grant me.
Sixty-five of the jobs I applied to that year were in Milan, because even though I was back in the states for the holidays, my hope and the majority of my clothes were there. I got a few interviews and a couple offers; one for an internship that would pay once every three months in small amounts of cash and one, that I'd actually considered, would pay me about $1,500 monthly and that was after some tough negotiations. The position was to be a teacher's assistant at the university from which I'd just graduated and, as a reminder, is not at all what I went to graduate school for!
I also had one foot on yellow. Yellow was a suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada where my Mother and Grandmother lived in a retirement community that I was arguably illegally staying in when a weeklong Christmas visit evolved into one whole year.
Like in Twister, some moves are uncomfortable. They stretch you. Contort you. Make you pray, at least not to fall. My Grandma was 89 that year, fragile and fleeting. I had my foot humbly posted on yellow for her and applied to 12 jobs in the Las Vegas area that year.
And then there was blue. True blue. Dodger blue. Ocean blue. L.A. was blue. One hundred and forty jobs that I'd applied to in 2015 were back home in Los Angeles.
I knew I had to focus my energy at some point so, more than 100 applications in, I gave up on red and yellow, Milan and Las Vegas respectively.
For each interview in L.A. (totaling less than 10% of my applications), I'd rent a car, drive four hours from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, get dressed in the cleanest gas station along my route, add make-up at stop lights and drink a Red Bull halfway in to combat the impending exhaustion. I'd nail the interviews, most of them, and some days I'd drive right back to Nevada. Turnaround trips. I'd do all of these things to get what I thought I'd wanted..."a job."
I would also lie.
I mean, I would lie big time. For some of the applications I'd change my name to an abbreviated version of my own. I experimented with three variations in that year after reading an article about a guy who changed his name from "Juan" to "John" and found "success." I'd lie about my address because remember I didn't actually live in L.A. at that point, but to overcome availability and relocation concerns I listed a family member's address. The savvy interviewers wanted to know about the commute from my home to their office that day. "It was a breeze," I'd lie. Driving in L.A. is rarely a breeze and I had driven across at least five freeways in four hours trying not to sweat through my make-up or my clothes to achieve this 'air of breeze.'
For clarity, the one thing I did not lie about was my professional experience. More than 10 years, a bunch of accolades, achievements and exciting advancements in my marketing career were all true.
I ended up getting one of those jobs. Turns out he was lying in the interview too and after six miserable months and a few less lies, because I actually lived in L.A. and owned a car at this point, I accepted another job for as long as I could...
In my lifetime, nearly 30 years from traditional retirement age, I've had 13 jobs all designed to sustain me, my lifestyle and my healthcare...even though some drove me completely crazy.
None felt authentic. Not-a-one honored my interests or passions entirely. Never did I say "I could do this for the rest of my life!" Not once did I feel like I was on my proverbial path...Maybe you can relate?
And then I thought about the millions of people on this purposeless path with me.
How did we get here? Why do we stay? What do we need to know? How do we leave?
Somewhere in the year of 200+ job applications and probably between tears, frustration, confusion and fear, I'd written the concept for Business of Passion.
Create a global community that connects people to their unique passions through real-world examples of people who've successfully created businesses out of theirs. The commentary, tools, resources, events and more will be curated to inspire all of us to take action in our own lives.
I am on a quest to live a passion-driven life being as authentic as I possibly can (free of lies). I truly hope this community that I'm building one #passioneer at a time also inspires you to uncover, discover or recover your passions.
This week Business of Passion opens!
Are you open to this?