For personal reasons, organization names are left out of the blog.
I believe it is fair to say there is a time in everyone’s life when they crave change. Things run their course and people become weary of the everyday routine. They spend most of their days miserable because they’re not satisfied with their current situation. When I hear people talk about their struggles, I can tell they want to be a part of something bigger. When I ask them why they don’t embrace the opportunity to better themselves I get a number of reasons and excuses. Whether it’s bills, schedules, kids, funds, or a few other road blocks in their lives. Responsibilities are the priority. But you will always have responsibilities, so why not find a way to better yourself while taking care of them? The way I see it, the main reason is fear. They want to stay in their comfort zone and settle for the world around them. They may always wonder how things could have been different.
I would like to encourage everyone to find a different path to better themselves. Unfortunately, not everyone will listen to me. Hell, I don’t always listen to my own advice. But I will tell you from personal experience that when you learn to better yourself, life opens up. The opportunities you will receive, the people you will meet, and the memories you will make will be worth while. Somethings may not work out, but will still be of importance in your life.
They say keep pushing forward because your life could completely change in a matter of time. I’m writing this to tell you that I believe in that statement, and I want to use my personal life to prove it. I know there are millions of stories out there that could back up that statement, but the only one I know perfectly is my own. In December 2015, I graduated from Kent State University. I imagined the unlimited amount of opportunities that would be presented for me after this accomplishment. But I made one critical error. I finished the requirements to earn the degree, but I never took the time to better myself. Yes, a degree is a great way to invest in yourself but if you don’t have the connections or experience, you’re fucked. In December of 2017, I was still at the dead end hospital job I had when I was in college. With the determination and commitment to change my whole situation, I found the light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s the story:
It’s Christmas Day and I am working at the dirty, nasty hospital. While everyone seemed excited for the holiday week, I was stuck at work all week long due to a department crisis. To make matters worse, I realized mid-shift I had the flu. I was able to knock it out overnight but still had to deal with some of the symptoms for the next week and a half. I couldn’t call off because my boss said he would kick my fucking ass if I called off. I spent the holiday week working at least 10 hour shifts and traveling in 4 degree weather. The only bright side was house sitting at my brother’s place, which was the house I grew up in. It was near the hospital too so I could quickly rest up after a horrible shift. After my shift on New Years Eve, I walked around the house like a zombie, blasting music. Friends were partying it up or watching the Ohio State bowl game. I was doing absolutely nothing. I started cooking while my brother’s cats stood around and judged me. All I could think about was dreading the next shift in the morning. I looked around the living room trying to figure out how the hell I got to this point in my life. The clock strikes midnight and drunk people start kissing each other across the country. My head just hits the pillow as I prepare for hell in the morning. Little did I know what 2018 had in store for me. My whole situation was about to take a turn for the better.
January & February
Things at the hospital get worse. Tensions are higher than I had ever seen them. The crisis didn’t get much better and we were told it would last until April. My co-workers and I were working longer hours. I only averaged one weekday off a week, and one weekend day off every other weekend. I debated several times to quit, but I didn’t have a back up plan and bills needed paid. It also wouldn’t be fair to all 4 of my co-workers. The only thing keeping me going was my heavy metal radio show and my concerts I was booking on the side. Fortunately, my concerts in January and February did well. While all this was going on, I applied to a number of jobs. I didn’t receive one interview. Not one call. But I knew quitting wasn’t an option.
Fast forwarding to mid March. I finally had a whole weekend off. My first one since the weekend before Christmas. I told myself to enjoy it and not give any thought to all noise going on the past few months. I kicked off Friday seeing some killer local bands in my home area of Highland Square. It was good to hang with some good people and not think about work the next morning. Saturday, I had a concert I booked which featured my favorite local band. I had a feeling it would be small crowd but didn’t let that bother me. I was in for a surprise. The crowd was double than anticipated. I was able to help put together a great crowd for the band that I loved and the 3 other fantastic acts. Later that night, I chilled in my basement alone blasting music. To some that may not sound like fun, but I was having the time of my life. I felt like a champion. For once, something went right. At one point that night I thought about my current situation. That’s when I told myself, “You will get out of this. You will win. And you will be in a better place.” Then a song started playing. It was a song I’ve heard before but at that moment it took on a new meaning. To this day I call it my revival song.
After that weekend, I continued to apply for different jobs. I made a personal decision to apply for internships too. I knew it was good idea to gain more experience since I continued to struggle to find anything for over 2 years. College students should do more than one internship during their studies. I only did one and I think that really hurt me in the end. I knew organizations preferred college students as interns over graduates. But I had nothing to loose. As luck would have it, one of the applications changed the course.
After having no luck finding a job, I reached out to the career counselor at Kent State Stark. During our meeting he mentioned that he was shocked that I contacted him due to my recent history. He thought I would be loaded with offers giving my work experience. I honestly didn’t know how to take that. We talked over some options and agreed to stay in contact. When I mentioned the idea of becoming an intern again, he wasn’t against it but wasn’t quite sold it was the best solution. I was willing to do anything to get anywhere. Even if it meant temporarily working for free. I took his suggestions and went right to work.
During a shift at the hospital that week, I received an email from the local minor league baseball team about being an intern for them. I had prior experience working for a minor league team when I lived in Indiana. After an interview, I landed the opportunity. I knew the experience was a win for me and the resume. I would start in May.
After four months of hell at the hospital, I took my first 2 week vacation. I made a promise to myself to work on other things during that vacation period. The baseball internship was coming up but I still needed to leave the hospital. The toxic atmosphere was really getting to me. I spent a night kicking around a soccer ball, drinking beer, blasting music, and writing a “to do” list. Believe it or not, it was one of the best things I did during my vacation. Everything on the list got accomplished including finding a new gig. I was able to land a job at nursing home down the street from where I lived. It was the same work as the hospital with smaller pay, but it was enough to pay the bills. With living for free, being single, and no kids I could take the risk. Plus, I wasn’t sure about the chances of landing another job for the summer, and I knew they were desperate.
I worked at the nursing home from June to September. They treated me really well and worked around the internship schedule. They made my life much easier. You don’t take people like that for granted. But I promised myself it was only for the summer. I needed to do bigger and better things.
My summer schedule is in full swing. Day job in the morning and internship at night. The internship wasn’t what I imagined but I continued to try to get the best out of it. It was about mid June I realized how much I was sacrificing in order to help myself. I’m a summer guy and I love summer activities. I missed out on many events, concerts, and get togethers due to my commitment with the baseball team. It was a helpful reminder that true success comes with dedication and sacrifice. I hated to work my whole summer away, but I needed to grow.
July was an interesting month. It was the month were I asked myself multiple times, “What the fuck is going on?!” Anything that could go wrong did. I found myself dreading nights I had to work at the ballpark. I was learning to hate my internship. During all-star break, I had a serious debate with myself about quitting. I wasn’t getting what I wanted to get out of it. I felt like I was being used. The organization was managed poorly. I felt like I got the best out of it. After much research and thought, I decided to see it out till the end. Outside the internship, the radio station was slowly falling apart in front of my eyes. The atmosphere was similar to the ballpark and hospital. Then both my concerts of the month bombed bad. July wasn’t my month, but I knew I had to move forward. I started applying for jobs again. I wanted something else by the end of the summer.
The internship starts getting tolerable. It is coming down to end of the season so people are in better spirits. I continue to stay committed and give it my all. The radio station gets sold to new management, which takes me by surprise. This coming right before my 3 year anniversary with them. Something strange happens. I started gaining interest from other organizations and get contacted for a few interviews. I wasn’t used to all that attention. Not once was I concerned about potentially blowing an interview. I knew I needed to capitalize on them. After all I’ve been through it was time for a big win.
The internship wraps up on an odd note. The team goes all the way to the championship, keeping the season longer than expected. I worked the last 17 games because I knew they needed help bad. Even though it was more work and we were short staffed, I enjoyed it more on the last few weeks of the schedule than the rest of the season. After it was all over, I received no feedback on my time there, half the things I was promised never happened, and ideas I had for one of their events were used and I was never given any credit. For a little while it did bother me, but at the same time I wasn’t surprised. I got what I needed and moved on. Things don’t always work out. I learned a lot that summer. I was hired by an entertainment facility shortly after the internship. They offered me a chance to grow in their business. Finally, something I can build on. I left the radio station after 3 years and joined a station with the same vision as me. Everything is new and it is good!!!
I started my new job on October 1st. Looking back on the past 10 months it’s amazing how much has changed. I’m not exactly where I want to be, but I’m not suffering. I got something to look forward to. The future continues to get brighter. Something I would wish for everyone.
I’m usually not this personal, especially online. Mainly because people by nature are shitty and I don’t want to tell them anything. But at the same time there are good people with way way way way worse situations than the one I just wrote. If I can convince one person to turn themselves around at any cost, that’s a win in my book. Life is too short to settle. Continue to find change, grow with it, and learn.