I’ve had a lot of people question my unwavering dedication to working in the field of fashion. From wondering why I don’t just do “that stuff” on the side, to imploring me to use my own medical battles to help in the field of medicine instead, to just scoffing at my passion for something so “superficial,” I’m pretty used to people just not ‘getting’ it.
I’ve never been one to just settle, though. I’ve always said that I want to have a job that I look forward to going to when I wake up every morning. One that makes me geekily ramble on when someone asks about it. Sure, you could say that’s an idealistic and/or naive approach to the ‘real world,’ but I’m sticking to it for now.
If I had a dollar for every judgmental look or comment I’ve gotten since graduation from both peers and parental figures, I could probably just make this blog my day job. (Should I start a collection jar for that? I used to make my family put money into a jar every time they swore. They allowed that to go on for about a day.)
For those of you that aren’t familiar with my career situation, here’s a quick summary. I haven’t had a full time job yet since graduating from college almost two years ago. But let me assure you that that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. I started out with a job in retail, took on an additional position in social media, took on the social media at the first store, did some visual merchandising work for that one, and babysat during whichever waking hours remained. Throughout the fall and the beginning of the winter, I rarely had a full day off during the seven days of the week. And when I did, I was probably working on this blog. Or sleeping. There wasn’t even much Netflixing during that time! Oh, the horror.
It got to a point where I realized that if I continued to spread myself so thin, I wouldn’t be able to function for much longer. So after the holidays, I left my retail position, trimmed down on babysitting gigs, and placed most of my focus on being the Social Media and Website Manager for dresscode Boutique. I’m much more focused on my work – and it has shown.
I’ve also gotten to a much better place mentally. I look back and regret spending so much time worrying about what other people thought about my ‘non-traditional’ career path.
I’m beyond lucky to have two of the most supportive parents on the planet. They’ve continued to encourage me to follow my dreams and not to settle for something that doesn’t feel right. They recognize the hard work I put in both professionally and personally. Whenever I would go to them feeling down about a comment someone made about my lack of a ‘real’ job, they would remind me that I was working harder than most of my peers who got to chat and online shop at their desks a good chunk of the day. My parents never begrudged my barely-above-minimum-wage pay – they still let me live rent-and-grocery-bill-free as long as I work hard and cover the things that my life doesn’t depend on. They proudly tell their friends about my blog and my work accomplishments.
My dad spent far too many years waking up every day and going to a job he disliked. Because of that, he always emphasizes the importance of doing something I’m passionate about. He understands – for the most part – that I would prefer making less money at a job I enjoy than vice versa. My mom always reminds me that I have no one to provide for but myself for the next several years, and that I should take this as an opportunity to do what’s right for me and only me. I recognize that many people don’t have the kind of support and encouragement that I have, and I am grateful for that every day.
Could I have taken a random office position any time in the last two years? Absolutely. But the longer I’ve gone without doing that, the more important it has become to me that I don’t do so now. I didn’t bust my butt for all this time to settle.
Unfortunately, I’m not currently in the financial position to take a cool-yet-wildy-underpaid fashion position in New York or another fabulous city. And yes, I do get insanely bored of suburban life and often wish I had access to a ‘normal’ social life.
But you know what? I’ve finally gotten to a place where I’ve decided to embrace my situation – whatever it may be. Life is about the journey. From here on out, I plan on embracing not just the peaks, but the valleys.
And I plan on doing so in a fabulous outfit.