Sara DiVello is the author of Where in the OM Am I? and is hosting events this weekend in Atlanta (more info following her story).
I was in the ninth circle of PR hell and my boss was the devil.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t my first dip in the lousy job/bad boss pool, but it was by far the worst. I hated my job and my boss seemed to think it was her job to insult my outfits, embarrass me about how much I ate, and predict (loudly and in public) that I’d soon be single again when she found out I had a boyfriend. (Note: That boyfriend is now my husband.) The cherry on top was when she once drank herself into a stupor on a business trip, then ran out of a major client presentation the next morning to go puke up the three bottles of wine she’d single-handedly downed the night before. And guess who got to take care of her for the next eight hours on the floor of the nearest public bathroom?
I should’ve said, “Adios, Pukey Von Bitcherson,” quit my job, and started a career I really loved. There was just one catch: I didn’t know what I wanted to do.
Ok, that’s a lie. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. But I was too afraid to go for it. It seemed unrealistic, frivolous, and it didn’t use the degree I’d worked my way through college to earn. It seemed somehow “safer” to stay with the devil I knew, even if I had to hold her hair back once in awhile.
Eventually, I managed to grow the cajones to quit PR and start teaching yoga–a job I love, where I feel I’m making a difference, one less-stressed person at at time. Then I wrote a book about it. I no longer worry about whether I’m utilizing my degree, or if that seems frivolous because I’m actually happy.
Wondering how you too can ditch a bad boss or find a job you love? Well it just so happens I’m willing to spill the beans on my top-secret process.
Ask Your Inner Circle
Start with those who know you best: Your friends and fam. They know you well enough to know your strengths, and they’re able to be more objective than you are because they’re free of the self-doubt, modesty, and/or insecurity that plague most of us when it comes to evaluating ourselves. Seriously, ask them what career they’d have you do if they were in charge of your life. Their answers may entirely surprise you…or may remind you of something you’ve somehow forgotten or shoved aside.
Silence Your Inner Judgmental (Possibly Parental) Voice
If your parents are keeping their fingers crossed you settle into a “stable,” corporate job for the next 20 years, but you get antsy sitting at a desk for more than 20 minutes, try to stop their dreams (and nagging) from clouding yours. (And as for the aforementioned tip about your inner circle, nix mom and dad and ask close friends or more objective family members).
Or maybe your parentals are totally on board with your fashion, writing, acting, or what-have-you aspirations, but there’s another negative voice in your head whispering your dream career is irresponsible, impractical, or just plain unattainable (“Who do you think you are, the next Versace?”). Read on, my friend for some tips about how to quiet the judgment and follow your dreams.
Dig Deep and Get Down to Business
A vital part of the dream-career process is to tune in to channel 101.YOU. My theory is that deep down we all already know what career direction we want to pursue, but something holds us back: Fear, insecurity, embarrassment, or—my favorites—the worry that it sounds silly, unrealistic (“Do you know what the odds of getting published are? Practically zilch!”), or that our degree will be “wasted” (because technically, you don’t need a college degree to write a book, teach yoga, or even be the next celeb stylist.)
BUT the answer to what you really want to do with your life is there nonetheless, buried under all that mental crap. So how to get down to business (the business of what business you should pursue, that is)?
Personally, I found that a challenging mind-body practice was the most effective tool to peel back those fears and quiet the mental chatter (for me it was yoga, but it could be anything from running to meditation to kickboxing…whatever keeps you wholly focused and mentally in the zone). I needed something vigorous enough to burn off the anxiety and complex enough that it kept me mentally present. Most importantly, I needed those few minutes of stillness at the end of class (ahhh, savasana) so that I could tune in to whatever was coming up.
Eventually, I was ready to admit I wanted to trade cubicles and high heels for yoga mats and bare feet, and I made my transition from PR to teaching yoga.
Then I wrote a book about finding a career you’re meant for, as told through my own transition. In doing so, I found a career that not only am I totally passionate about and fulfilled by, but I get to help other people do the same.
Which is almost as good as being a “creative genius” like Kanye West.
Who is, for the record, one person I would not want to work for.
Sara DiVello is the author of Where in the OM Am I? called “The Devil Wears Prada meets Eat, Pray, Love,” named a “best book of summer” by Shape Magazine and called a “must read for anyone considering a career change” by Working Mother Magazine. (Buy it here!) Sara currently lives in Boston with her husband and their rescue mutt, Peluda.
For Atlantans, there is a book signing with Sara tomorrow (October 25) at Decatur Yoga & Pilates from 6:30-8 p.m. (wine and snacks included, duh). And Saturday, October 26, there is a workshop that could help you answer those nagging life questions.