While I’ve been going about getting ready for my day or eating, I’ve started taking up an old habit of mine that I used way back when I was working a 9to5: Listening to TED talks. There’s always something to be learned or be inspired by, depending on what really matters to you. During that job period a few years ago, what really mattered to me was staying creatively charged and becoming independent – they were typically connected in very tight-knit association. What really matters to me these days comes in two parts as well.
The human connection and achieving success.
I can’t tell you just how unexpected my life has turned out. To add a bit more perspective, I started this blog in my Sophomore year of college 10 years ago. I was ambitious, confused, and unsure of where I would fit in outside of the confines of college. I didn’t expect to still be writing entries for this blog over a decade later, let alone have anyone reading it. I didn’t expect to have the connections I’ve made as an artist in my own right. I didn’t expect to publicly come out as transgender in my late twenties. Thankfully, the human connection has always been a prevalent aspect of my perspectives as far back as my early teens. After sabotaging my growth of success in high school and then falling short of my goal to graduate with honors from college, I thought I had learned the hard way enough to achieve a level of success I believed and wanted for myself.
Now, I’m just a few months shy of having been alive for 30 years, and it’s pretty clear that my twenties has been the most enlightening & thrilling, yet debilitating & demoralizing period of my life. I have had no success for two consecutive years in being hired part-time & full-time. I did have a short, summer stint in a company last year and, thanks to a friend, started working at GameStop approximately 15-20 weekly for minimum wage. I’m in massive debt in my attempt to pay my bills, creditors harassing me, car repairs, previously paying rent to help my mother, and the list of reasons goes on. After being told for months that I wasn’t trying hard enough to find a job, I cleared the air with my mother. I have accepted her wishes to relinquish her of the responsibility of housing me. My “lease” under her roof ends the end of May and she believes I’ll be smart enough to “figure it out.” I’m still not sure where I’ll end up, but hopefully by mid-May I’ll have some kind of arrangement.
Despite the peppered successes that I have been met with in my twenties, I have reached at a point in my life where I often feel frustrated at where I’ve ended up career-wise. Though I wish them well & celebrate them, I find myself angry at the successes of my peers to the point of disengaging from social media for the sake of my psyche. I have become ambivalent toward the gradual increasing number of romantically-inclined suitors in my life due to the shame I have to dispel every day I look at my bank account.
In lieu of all of this, I was recently hired for a Sales/Marketing Executive position after a grueling three-step interview process spanning two days. My sales experience at GameStop as well as my corporate background and probably a number of other factors that, for some reason, failed me in other interviews qualified me as someone to bet on.
These people are giving me a chance to find success in a field I fervently avoided for much of my life. However, GameStop taught me that I have a gift for sales which lies in my level of empathy and sensitivity to humans. Said in a few words: I actually care. I leveraged that and my absolute need to start a career outside of my creative passions. Thankfully, they saw what they needed to see. How very ironic.
Given that this job will be what appears to be a macro version of what being a Sales/Retail Associate is, there is a strange paradigm shift within my life happening as I encroach on 30. Giving myself an opportunity to pursue this line of work is inherently empowering me to combine the two elements I mentioned earlier. By facilitating a human connection, I’m able to understand what people want – physically and psychologically – so I can help better their lives. By helping to better them, I, in turn, able to achieve a better life through repeated success. Not just in my commissions or pursuing the highest level of leadership I can, but also in nurturing my deep-seated passion for cultivating meaningful human experiences.
After a lively conversation with the woman who handled my first interview, she asked me how old I was. I told her and she replied:
“You’re in my age group! Good thing 30 is the new 20, huh?”
Maybe she could be right about that? As I put aside my creative pursuits to fully commit to building a career path as a business leader, this job could very well be the real beginning of my life as Nina. I truly hope so.