Press the panic button please

Two years ago it was 2010.

Two years ago I had a job. I mean, a real full-time job that paid me more than minimum wage.

Two years ago my life was pretty stable. And I left it all to start over again with a new career. I never regretted this decision…until a few days ago. All that I sacrificed suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks. The money. The time. The…money. I got to thinking about it and it hit me that I had sacrificed a year of my life to go back to school, meaning tuition money and the opportunity cost ($40,000+ for the year). On top of that, when I finally did finish I made $500/month for four months and $1200/month thereafter (Is this even legal?). And now I make minimum wage. Not only would I have been out of debt but I would have saved a fair bit in the past 1.5 years had I stayed at my old job. Instead, I’m scraping by working two jobs trying desperately to pay off my loan and finally start saving some money.

Isn’t it funny when you’re completely certain about something and all of a sudden you’re…not? Careers are interesting. Some people will settle for the status quo because it pays the bills. They believe that as long as they find fulfillment outside of work, the sheer mundaneness of work is negligible. Some people simply cannot tolerate it and take a leap of faith. I guess I fall into the latter category.

So, what now? That’s easy: I can only move forward, not back. In fact, I had a small window of opportunity to move back in time a few weeks ago. I (almost) got offered a job that was very similar to the job I had pre-school, only it was for a better company that paid fairly well. It took every ounce of my being to withdraw my application and accept my current minimum-wage-paying internship instead. Talk about a leap of faith. I must sound crazy but let me explain. This job is for a great company in my chosen field, but with a few remnants from my prior work experience. In short, it perfectly harmonizes all of my experience and schooling. It’s a dream come true. Oh, and it pays minimum wage. I’m really just banking on the fact that I get hired on come April and I’m really really hoping my starting salary is decent. I think if that happens, I will finally be happy with the path I took.

I guess my recent journey can be described best by the Robert Frost poem entiteld The Road Not Taken:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I hope it makes all the difference.



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