I Fired My Job and Hired Myself
“Congratulations, you’ve fired your job.” That’s what my husband Sam told me yesterday morning, my last day of work. I was feeling nervous, excited, a little stressed about all I had to get done, but mostly I was excited. Excited because this was something that I’ve wanted to do for years, but never had the guts, didn’t realize that it was an option, felt like it was something for other people to do, and didn’t have the confidence to do.
I am a very goal oriented, strategic type of person. I like to be in control of my life, by having a five-year plan, knowing how things are going to be paid for, how it will work out, researching every possible option… just so excessive and EXTRA about knowing everything about anything I’m about to embark on. But over the past couple of years since becoming a mother, I’ve learned something life-changing for me.
Even though I can plan all day long, there are still things that will happen unexpectedly, but in the end, it always works out for the good.
Think Romans 8:28. I didn’t want to keep putting God in a box of what He could do in my life. His ways are always better, and I’m always pleasantly surprised with how He works things out. He’s so precise, even down to the details… and that’s important to me because I’m ALL about the details.
So, to make this kind of jump into Entrepreneurship, and not have 100% of the answers, this is new, this is different, this is scary, yet exhilarating. I’m just striving to have 100% faith in God’s plan, regardless of what it looks like in the beginning or during the process.
How did I get here? Where was the breakdown?
In College I majored in Psychology and knowing that I couldn’t make much with a Bachelor’s in the field, I did the responsible thing and went straight to Graduate School. Psychology was not my first love, but I went with it because everyone said I was a great listener. Plus, I was fascinated with how and why people think and act the way they do. So it seemed like the natural progression. My original thought was to get this degree, and make enough money so I could put myself though Fashion Design school… but that’s another story. Maybe I’ll write a book about all of those details, I think it’s fascinating.
So yeah, I enjoyed Grad School, but it wasn’t until the final year of internship that I strongly started to consider, this might not be what I want to do for the rest of my life. The romanticism of being a Counselor, seated in a swanky office, while my clients sat in comfy chairs, helping people, having ‘Iyanla Fix My Life’ moments, watching clients transform and “get it”… that was quickly flying out the door. It flew out the door with each crisis hotline call I answered, every Baker Act evaluation I did, every Rape Victim that I had to visit in the hospital post-assault. This isn’t what I had in mind. This.was.hard. I took their stories home with me and I couldn’t figure out how to let them go.
Perhaps that would have been a good time to say, maybe I should consider a different career.
I was so burned out that I left my comfortable job two months before graduation, finished my internship, and declined to attend my graduation. I still can’t believe that after all of that intense work of school, interning, and working a full-time job – I did not want to go to my own graduation and walk across that stage. I earned that degree!
But I was so burned out mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I just wanted nothing to do with it, I didn’t feel like celebrating anything.
After graduation, I contemplated whether or not I wanted to register with the state for my license. I was still uneasy about the decision to do Mental Health full time. That would have been a good time to exit, but I did what was “expected”. You get a degree, you find a job in said degree and live “happily ever after”. So, I found a job as a Counselor.
I was hired as a Counselor for a level 6 Juvenile Justice Residential Center for teen boys. I did that for 8 months until the riots started to break out. I went on to be a Family Intervention Specialist for a local Substance Abuse treatment agency and the Department of Children and Families. I spent 4 years in that “Egypt” until I found my way out. Then I moved on to be a Counselor at a Foster Care Group Home for little boys and teen girls. During that job I studied and took my State Exam for Licensed Mental Health Counseling, and failed it by one point. One freakin’ point! I was devastated, to say the least. I decided to take it as a sign and figured I needed a career break from Mental Health. I also left that job after new teen boys became physically violent with staff. Physical safety concern again? I’m out!
I moved on to become a Long Term Care Case Manager, working for Medicaid (which I said I would never do). I was excited about the benefits, the major jump in pay, and relative physical safety – I would be working with elderly and people who had disabilities. How dangerous could that be?
Well, it wasn’t until the revelation I had earlier this year on, “The One Abusive Relationship You May Be Ignoring”, that I realized this was in a sense mentally and emotionally dangerous for me. As with all of my other jobs, this brought me a lot of stress, anxiety, and depression. And I’ll be honest, I’ve even had some suicidal thoughts. I just wanted it to end! I tried all kinds of ways to revamp my frame of thinking, how I did things, and I always tried to find a new and better way to help me “cope” with the job. Over the years it wasn’t uncommon for me to cry the night before or feel such distress knowing that I had to wake up and do it all.over.again. Yall this is no way to live! Forget the money, forget the benefits, forget the “flexibility”. If you cannot have peace of mind, nothing else matters. And it took me a long time to realize this, grasp it, and believe it.
But I thought it was what I had to do. I mean as much as I cried to every.single.one. of my Supervisors about how I no longer wanted to do the jobs – When asked what I wanted to do, I just didn’t have an answer. All I could say was, I don’t know, but I just know this isn’t it.
So fast-forward back to the present.
My last day, I worked up to the last 10 minutes possible, entering documentation, tasks, notes, and emails. When I finally turned in my work cell and laptop, I was fighting back the tears. And I speed walked to the car and lost it once that door shut. Mannnnnn did I cry! I mean sobbing, wiping tears, running nose, hyperventilating, trying to pause to say “Des calm down it’s okay, it’s OKAY!” I drove off, and I probably should’ve pulled over – but I just wanted to get out of that parking lot as fast as I could. Omgosh I cried SO HARD! I had to text some friends to please pray for me. And I started to whisper to myself, it’s over, it’s finally over. You did it, you survived! You didn’t lose your mind, you didn’t have a nervous breakdown, you didn’t end up in the hospital because of your mental health, stress, or physical health. You made it and you fought hard! You fought hard and long and you did.your.best. Even on the days when I could only muster 50-60% work – that was my 100% for the day. Whether or not my cases were left super tidy and 100% in compliance or not – I.DID.MY.BEST!
So to make a career change like this, it’s not out of the blue. It’s been thought over, prayed over, thought over some more, cried over, countless serious talks with Sam, several “come to Jesus” one-on-one conversations, and at the end of the day, I would severely regret not giving it a go and giving myself the chance to pursue my real dreams and desires. Especially “non-traditional” dreams and desires. Honestly, I don’t know if I even had another month left in me to give. I really don’t know – it has been that serious for me.
I can’t even begin to tell you over the past 90 days how many conversations, prayers, random phone calls, signs, opportunities have come up that confirm that this is the right move for me at this time. This is it. It was now or never.
Sure, we just bought our new home less than a year ago, we have a two-year-old, we have bills, we have responsibilities, but we have God and we have each other. So why not? Why not Jump! This imagery has been with me the past few months. Jumping out of a plane with God tandem as your coach.
I don’t jump to fall flat on my face and die, I jump to soar and enjoy the ride down to where I’m destined to be.
Perhaps it would’ve looked different for me, if I did get that swanky office, with the fancy chair, and “easy” clients. But I always worked harder as a Therapist then I was supposed to. That’s like one of the number one rules, don’t work harder than the client. Hey, I have a huge heart, and I want to help people, who want to be helped. And I want to put my energy into inspiring people who will receive it. And even if they aren’t at the place mentally or emotionally to do so, here are my writings and the writings of other women that they can come back and read. And then, maybe then it will start to make sense for them. And when they are ready to talk and make a change, I’ll be here. With all the tools in my counseling, case management, and health insurance experienced toolbox.
My toolbox is so full, I don’t leave empty-handed at all. Now that I think of it, yesterday, my last day, felt like graduation.
So what’s next for me?
I’m going to push forward full force with SincerelyMrsMommy.com I have a lot of plans, goals, dreams, and ideas for it. I’ll keep moving with it and revamping as God leads me. He’s the number one driver of this website. I’m also going to go full force with my DeKelis Custom Art and Designs. I have in mind some more services to extend in that. Plus, I’ll be doing some freelance work with writing/editing/transcribing… whatever God leads me to do. 2018 is my year to jump, and it is my year of yes, like Shonda Rhimes talks about in her book I just started reading. Yes to all the scary good things!
How can I do any of this? Having faith in God, a power much bigger and stronger than me. And moving my feet when He signals for me to go. The signs are always in front of us, it’s just up to us if we pause long enough to see them and follow their direction. I’m sure, by this time next year, things may look a lot different. But what’s the worst that could happen? I have to go back and find a job. If that’s the worst, I can pivot– and it wouldn’t have to be forever. I’ve tapped into what brings me joy and peace, and I’m going to run with it full speed ahead.