Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My Declaration of Independance

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

~Henry David Thoreau

It began as a simple problem.
          I was laid off and in need of a job. Always a grunt worker, I aimed low, figuring we needed cash fast. We were a newly married couple and the job I had gotten from a staffing service decided to let me go, even though I did good work for them. I did construction side-jobs with my dad, tried a job at Netflix and even became a pizza delivery man to make some ends meet.
          Then the day came when I got a job interview and, big surprise, got the job. From 2011 to 2013 I feel that the job was good, sustainable. They treated me well. But then a couple things happened down the line that showed me what was missing in my life…me.
          Our daughter was born in April of 2013 and at that time, we were struggling. The only thing that kept us going was a dependence on God and our determined diligence to stretch a buck.
          Our tax refund helped in a big way.
          We were able to stretch that out very far.
          Then came the day when we needed to move.
          Along with all the taxes taken out of my check, plus how much health insurance was taking out, I had no choice; I had to dip into my 401k just so we had enough money to move.

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

~Henry David Thoreau

          Then there were the hours. Monday through Friday I was working 3:30pm to midnight. Sometimes I'd work on the weekends. But no matter how hard I worked, it still wasn’t enough to get us through.
          I became frustrated, angry, irritable.
          I’d see my daughter for precious few minutes before scarfing down some quick breakfast or, regrettably, grabbing something quick at Mcdonald’s, and zipping to work, just to make $700 every two weeks. Sometimes less.
          I had to get out of this headache.
          What was the point of all this if I wasn’t happy with my own life while at the same time struggling?
          So, in July, I signed up with ACX, an amazon company, and set out to do something worthy of my time.
          People always told me I had a great voice for radio. I humbly accepted their praise but never thought to do that for a job.
          It is now 2016 and here’s where I’m at right now.
          After turning thirty, I realized that I needed to restructure my life.
          I wanted more time with my family, better pay and flexible work hours.
          There are now 70 titles I have produced on and I am already an Audible approved narrator, which is a big chance to get more narration jobs.
          I’ve since resigned from my old job, plunging headfirst, full-force into Voiceover Work.

Things do not change; we change.

~Henry David Thoreau

          Here’s what I know for certain: I am a happier man.
          I can see my business as well as my wife’s business taking off in a big way. I now have the time to spend with our daughter, being a father and husband. I’m actually living my life the way I want to live it.
          So, why am I saying all this?
          Because I’ve come to admit that the system that we have in place does not work. No parent who works a full-time job should have to struggle to pay bills or to put food on the table.
          I read an article in National Geographic about a man who was going through a similar situation. He was making more than me and even he was struggling to put food on the table.
          I’ve had to come to a harsh truth about myself. I have a pushover-mentality when it comes to work. I try my best, often over-achieving what I do just to impress my bosses. But what happens, when you do that for too long, is that people mistake your humility for weakness and your kindness as servitude. Does loyalty count for anything? Maybe, and maybe not. But one thing is clear: you have to find something that you love doing and try making your own job of it.
          I chose writing and narrating.
          I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made.
          I’m proud of my work and wanted more time to just live my life.
          I’m free.

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