(Today our special guest writer, Holly King – staffing manager at our Bristol branch – relates how even the smallest decisions in her life have led her to where she is today.)
By: Holly King
Have you ever longed for that next break, that promotion, new job, new house, potential spouse, or just the next step in the road towards that proverbial ‘perfect place’ in your life? Most of us have been there at one time or another, and when we’re looking and waiting for that perfect opportunity, we make sure to answer every phone call, every email, every Facebook message, go to every interview and meeting, and put our best foot forward, all in the hopes that we’ll leave no stone unturned. After all, if we could reach that place, maybe we’ll be happier than we already are. Maybe we won’t have to try so hard to reach the next step.
Sometimes we fail to realize that there often isn’t one big ‘thing’ that will land us in that ‘perfect place.’ Sometimes, that next break turns out to be something that breaks us, at least for a while. It’s often surprising to look back and realize that all those little steps and missteps in the road are actually, in themselves, what make up our ‘perfect place.’
We make millions of decisions throughout our lives, some small and some not so small, some made without us even realizing it at all. Sometimes they can lead you down a road you never thought you would travel, and even to that next ‘big’ break.
I have traveled that road and, like all of us, am traveling it now. At this point in my life, I can now see clearly how some of my own good and bad decisions, some conscious and some not, have led me down that winding road to the place I am today.
Some people might have thought that I graduated high school with the world at my fingertips. I had a scholarship to a very prominent and private college in the area, and had no doubt in my mind what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was quickly on my way to that ‘perfect place,’ or so I thought.
But, I quickly began to realize that my career path was not so clear, and neither was my decision to stay enrolled at that college. The truth of the matter was, I was ‘strongly encouraged’ by my parents to apply to this school. After all, it was where my family went to college, it was close by, and it was the only place my parents felt was safe enough for me. However, as I watched my high school friends leave this area to attend college in other, far more exciting areas, I started to resent and regret the fact that my road seemingly had already been decided for me.
So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I quit attending that college, enrolled in a school that I could afford to attend, and took classes for something I truly wanted to learn, real estate! For the first time since high school, I felt a sense of pride, accomplishment, and real happiness. Was I finally on my way to my ‘perfect place?’
I moved out of the area and pursued my new career as a Realtor. Although it was slow getting started, it did take off eventually. As the economy started to slow and my career began to stale (needless to say, 2007-08 were rough years for Realtors!), I had to take on additional jobs to pay the bills. Still, I felt in control and happy with the decisions I had made to take my own road in life. But, as I’m sure many of you can relate to, working two or three jobs at a time just to make ends meet will certainly take its toll. It didn’t take long for me to start regretting some of my decisions.
After several months of second guessing all of my decisions and starting to feel some regret, I decided that, in order to pay the bills, I had no choice other than to take on a new career, as a debt collector with Citigroup. After all, in those days, there was a lot of debt to be collected! This new job was extremely difficult to be hired for. After successfully navigating the several rounds of interviews and rigorous tests, the only thing between me a start date was an off-site, pre-scheduled drug screen.
A drug screen I never showed up to take…
Some people don’t show up for drug tests because they can’t pass them. Believe it or not, I wasn’t one of those people. I was working three jobs. I was completely exhausted. Several days after my initial paperwork, going to that drug screen was the last thing on my mind when it should have been the first. When the company called to tell me that I was no longer eligible for the position because I failed to appear on time for my drug screen, I was absolutely devastated.
I had no choice but to tuck my tail between my legs and move back to this area. This was not the road that I saw myself traveling down. I felt defeated and depressed. Gone was my sense of pride and accomplishment at making my own road. I was so lost. I was trying to figure out what the next step would be. I didn’t even care about the best step or steps toward that ‘perfect place.’ I just wanted a step to take.
So, I applied for a job at a hardware store, and within a short period of time I was moved into a professional position there. I was able to learn a very unique skill, and actually started to feel some sense of pride and accomplishment again. Since I was back in the area, a friend introduced me to a man that I would never have been introduced to had I not moved back to the area, a man who is now my husband and father of my wonderful two-year old son.
Then, through my husband’s friend, I learned about an open position I eventually applied for and currently occupy, staffing manager at AtWork Personnel Service. Now, instead of searching for my own career, I get to help people find theirs!
At first the decision to take my current job position was not an easy one. At that point I had been with the hardware company for almost five years, and the thought of leaving the comfort of that job was very daunting. But, I took a leap of faith and accepted the job. Now, almost two years later, I realize that the road I’m on is exactly the road that I am supposed to be on, that ‘perfect place,’ at least for now.
It is very odd, yet comforting, to look back on all those big, small, and seemingly insignificant decisions that have so far led me down this winding road called life. Only God knows what might have happened had I made even one decision differently. At this point, I don’t even care to wonder. This life is not like one of those books with alternate endings that when we get to a certain point and don’t like the direction that it’s going we can start over again and pick a different ending. We pave our own roads with our decisions, steps and missteps.