In life, we all have fresh starts. We’re all new at something at some point. Heck, we’re new at things continuously throughout life. Last Monday, I was a student of serving coffee. Whaaa?? Hold the phone. Michelle, you’re serving coffee?
Yes friends, I have a part-time job. Serving coffee. I never would have thought I would have a part-time job again, and serving coffee no less. It’s a bit weird because I feel like I’m back in college. Remember all those part-time jobs you had in high school and college? Same deal.
At first I thought, how could I do this? I’ve been in corporate making close to $100K a year for years and now I’m serving coffee?
But you know what, there’s a certain simplicity to it. I feel as though I’m finding myself again. You see, I was getting bored, feeling lost and lacking focus. I needed something to calm my mind. Some good old hard work. When you’re trying to build your own career and follow your dreams, income can be slow to come, so you gotta do what you gotta do to bring home the bacon. Besides, it makes me HAPPY. I go to work, serve coffee with a smile, try to make someone’s day better, I leave, and work stays at work. And the best part? I have a 15-20 minute commute.
Why did I decide to do this?
Why not? I mean, in all reality what have I got to lose. I can always quit if I don’t like it, or if I manage to create a freelance career and it takes off (it will), I can quit or scale back my hours. The idea is, I’m not locked in. It’s a strange new world but this has become my thinking. Nothing is permanent unless I make it permanent. Bills or no bills, you’re allowed to walk away from something because you’ll make life work. I’ll work even harder to pay the bills if I have to. Which is essentially what I am doing. I will survive. (cue 70’s music).
But really, why am I doing this?
To focus my mind.
To calm my mind (I think too much when I’m left to my own devices).
To make someone else smile.
To create art (in a different way besides writing and photography).
To regain perspective (besides what I’ve already learned from my road trip).
To earn an income (someone’s gotta pay back my debt and it should be me).
To get rid of the lazy, procrastinating mindset that has devoured me (I was okay with this as I needed to decompress after all those years of stress and burnout, but it’s not okay anymore).
Going part-time at 40 after corporate life
Maybe I’ve had all the wrong full-time jobs, or maybe I’ve worked for all the wrong organizations, but after so many years working in corporate, I’ve become disillusioned. Disillusioned with all the mediocrity that is taught by corporations, all the extroverts that act like bullies, all the office politics and gossipy drama, all the times you try to affect positive change only to have a bad boss squash you and your ideas under their thumb. I’d had enough. Besides, I never fit in. I always felt like a stranger in an office environment. An outsider.
I decided part-time was the way to go because I was tired of long commutes and office cubicles.
It’s odd but I feel like a new woman embarking on a whole new adventure that I’m creating. A new version of me has emerged. I know when to say no, when to ask for more pay, I’m more spiritual, I’ve started developing a meditation practice, a writing routine and most of all, I’ve stopped procrastinating.
The reaction to my new found work has been mixed but not all that surprising. Some people (people my age) have been happy that I’ve found part-time work and others (the younger generation)…well…they wonder what on earth I’m doing working part-time in a coffee shop when I could potentially be earning a similar salary to what I was before. Essentially, they think I’m nuts. I usually get an exasperated “why are you here!?”
The interesting bit? There’s a few women that I work with in my age group that have the same thinking as me. They were in corporate, they quit or were laid off, and realized, it’s not the place for them. One woman told me she quit because she was tired of all the politics, stress and burnout. She wanted more time with her two kids. Is there anything wrong with that? Absolutely not.
The money side of it all
Debt? What’s that? Oh how I wish I could say that. I’m getting back on track. Thankfully, I haven’t accrued any new debt over the past year of unemployment. It was getting close. Honestly, I’m tired of it all. Debt is so passé and as a society, we need to axe it once and for all.
My father has always said to me, “owing no one gives you the freedom to do what you want”. Why this lesson never stuck until now is beyond me. Of course, I have a much different personality from my father – I’m the polar opposite. He’s mathematical and I’m creative. He’s a saver and I’m a spender. Think clash of the titans.
Anyhou, back to the money side of all this. Do I have debt still? Yes. Lots of it? Yes, you could say that but no more than I’ve ever had.
What am I earning now? Minimum wage plus benefits.
How am I making this work? I redid my budget. I cut my spending. I plan my meals much better now. I cure boredom with exercise not stuff. I’m selling all my stuff ($800 so far). I re-negotiated my bills or cut them out where I could. I created new goals for myself.
The Simplicity of Serving coffee
What on earth do I mean? Well, serving coffee is simple. It’s hard work but it’s simple. Let’s put it this way – my mind has no time to think, to worry, or to engage in self-doubt or self-loathing. I’m at peace because there’s very little quiet time on the job. I do my best work, I smile, try to make someone’s day better and I leave. It’s as simple as that. Nothing could be more so.
What would you do to follow your dream?