I Can’t Get No (Job) Satisfaction

This was originally written as a Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech and repurposed with minor edits as a blog entry.

Photo by  Aaron Birch  on  Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Birch on Unsplash

“Why are you here?” That was the first question I was asked during my first ever job interview five years ago. Let me share with you about how my unconventional career path led me to discovering myself and my passions.

My journey began two months after I got my professional nurse license when I had a horrifying realization - I don’t like working in a hospital. I don’t even like being in a hospital. A realization that was four years too late. Like Ariel in The Little Mermaid, I had a strong feeling that a different world was waiting for me. So I left my nursing career before it even started and entered a whole new world - aka the corporate world. I found myself sitting across a very professional looking lady, trying to explain why a registered nurse is interviewing for a job at a Law firm. I can’t remember what I said but it must be convincing enough because I got the job.

I worked at that job happily for two years but one day as I looked through our building window, I saw the horizon and like Moana, I thought, “It calls me”. I wanted to do something else that’ll challenge me more. So off I went to where one eats challenges for breakfast – Grad school. I decided to apply for a Clinical Psychology degree. I found myself sitting across a very professional looking lady. She looked at my records, then looked at me, and said, “Why are you here?” Again, I can’t remember what I said but it must be convincing enough because I got in the program.

Three years of suffering, I mean hustling, trying to balance work and school slowly made me feel   empty. Exhausted and empty to be exact. So I transferred to a different school, not as a student, but as a teacher. I knew then that I love the process of learning and helping people grow. I thought “Finally, I found what I was looking for!” But after one semester of teaching teenagers, I found myself feeling even emptier and 100x more exhausted. This time, I was the one who asked myself, “Why am I here?”

But my feeling of defeat quickly vanished when I learned that at work, they are looking for a new Learning and Development Trainer. I was determined to apply. But at the same time, my mentor was offering me a promotion. Unlike the Trainer role, it’s a position I don’t have to apply for. However, my gut was telling me that I have to go for what I really want and not just what is easy. So even though I am humbled by the offer, like Elsa in Frozen, I had to let it go. Luckily I got the role and it was one of best career experience I’ve ever had and where I discovered my passion for speaking.

But I still wanted to feel more purposeful. I wanted to offer my time and skills for a cause. Well, I didn’t wanna volunteer as tribute to the Hunger Games so I volunteered to help Animal Welfare instead. Now, as I am starting a new journey, I share my story and learnings to the world as a writer.

Many times, people told me I don’t seem to have a path or a clear direction. But I know that every path I took has molded me to be the person I am today and led me to this exact moment.

Being a nurse taught me to how to care for people at their weakest moments.

Being a psychology student taught me to understand people during their darkest struggles.

Being a teacher taught me to have patience and set an example for others.

Being a trainer taught me that learning is a personal and eternal commitment.

Being a volunteer taught me that there is fulfillment in giving without expecting anything in return.

Being a writer taught me to have the courage to share my ideas to the world.

And I am just as excited as to what being a New York Toastmaster is going to teach me.

My journey has not been as easy one but I have learned three things:

First, It’s okay to redefine your dreams and reinvent who you are. You may find yourself not wanting the same goal you had 2 years ago, and that’s okay! Don’t feel like a loser because you stopped pursuing a goal. If it’s no longer fulfilling; not aligned with your passions; and if it’s not who you are anymore, It’s not failing, it’s “Strategic Quitting”.

Second, trust your screaming gut feeling. Ignore the odds; if you don’t take risks, the odds will never be in your favor. As one of my greatest poetic influences said, “You better never let it go. You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime”. His name? Eminem.

And lastly, you find your passions by going out, trying, and experiencing things, not just by thinking about it. Today I am here because I listened to what my head and heart is telling me. Now, I’d like to ask you, “Why are you here?” | B