Jack of All Trades.
I think we all think our lives will somehow miraculously turn out exactly how we planned.
Go to college, intern in your field, work that world post college and be in charge, and make tons of money.
Maybe you thought you'd move to L.A. to be an actress.
Maybe you wanted to get married and immediately start a family.
Maybe it was a family + the career of a lifetime.
Yet, when you graduated you ended up in your parents house again, bagging groceries at Publix.
Maybe everything worked out immediately for you.
Maybe you had debt to a degree that was currently making you no money.
Or maybe you just had that degree and simply had no job.
That was me.
I look at my time in college, every semester full of ideas and challenges, internships and new cities. It was fun, it was spontaneous, it was what I thought my future might hold.
I met my husband in high school and by the time we wrapped up college, we were ready to tie the knot as soon as we walked across that stage. So that was my stepping stone: Degree, Marriage, Dream job.
It was the perfect plan.
But then I didn't get a job.
AND the many jobs I applied and interviewed for.
I did the interview training seminars in college.
I dressed the part.
I’m good with people.
I had that special paper that guaranteed I would be in.
But then, I didn't get that teaching position.
I didn't get that youth ministry job.
HECK, I didn't even get hired at GiGi’s cupcakes.
Here I was, married with student loan debt and my husband’s job that was a whopping 29k before taxes.
Living in a trailer.
Goals, I tell ya.
After a few months of no employment I landed a spot tutoring students at my Alma Mater and that led to ESL tutoring of students who had just moved to Montgomery, AL from South Korea.
Within a few weeks, my husband and I had finally moved to an apartment further into the city that gave me more ability to work new jobs.
So I did.
I got a job as the assistant to a wedding planner in town, part time, but still a little extra cash flow. That schedule didn't permit me to continue tutoring college students so I dropped it to wait tables at a local pizza restaurant.
If you want to test your own pride, wait tables and serve your old high school friends who managed to have their careers in order while you make them a meatlovers pizza.
The saga continued as I attempted to bring in more income to make ends meet.
I starting writing articles for a local magazine for $50 an article and writing ghost letters for a Nurse Anesthesias Licensure company.
I was working crazy hours and making crazy LITTLE money. In the meantime, I was applying for desk job positions that were “kindly rejecting” my applications.
While working these gigs, my husband and I somehow managed to pull together the resources to start a sidewalk coffee company.
A little coffee cart on the sidewalk downtown to serve folks walking into work in the mornings.
I was the only one flexible enough to do that, so I dropped the pizza joint and the wedding planning and dove head first into being “the coffee girl”.
I worked a few flexible gigs in-between coffee hours and slept when I could.
Did I mention when we did all of this, we also bought a nasty old house on a cute street to renovate?
Yep, we sure stinking did.
The coffee business dwindled down down down as the months got colder.
We eventually realized how little it was making and that it was not worth our while, so we closed up shop.
I got a job working at a nonprofit urban ministry in town as the assistant to the executive director.
Which then turned into Volunteer Coordinator.
Which then turned into Assistant, Volunteer Coordinator, and Middle school cooking teacher.
But hey, it was ONE job.
This last year, I was approached by a photography company that asked me to come on as their studio manager.
A company that I met and got to know the owner because of that wedding planning job I had back in the day.
Did you keep up with all of that?
People frequently come up to me and say, “Now what do you do now? I can’t keep up with you. You still doing that coffee thing?”
And it’s interesting how for so long that made my heart sink.
“Cant keep up?”— I would think.
“It’s because I’ve done a thousand things and really accomplished nothing….I know that’s what you’re really thinking about me…’
I’ve been an assistant x3, home renovator, tutor, writer, waitress, coffee girl.
Recently, I found myself in a place of frustration that that was my story.
The jack of all trades and master of none.
I watched the people in my life swirl around me with accomplishments while I sat in my lack (or what I thought was lack).
Then I heard an inner voice talk back to me, “You’ve done a thousand things that have taught you a thousand more. Write down what you’ve learned.”
I have learned this:
I can renovate a house. I know how to refinish hardwood floors and shockingly I know what materials you need to buy to lay tile and the difference between what’s needed for floor tile and wall tile. Why? Because at this point in my life, I’ve renovated three homes with my husband.
Need a commercial kitchen?
I know everyone at the health department by name AND I know every regulation the city will require.
I also know that I am not scared to approach government employees, no matter how high up they are.
I know how to plan a wedding start to finish and all the vendors in the city. I can make a flower arrangement and set up and break down a reception and ceremony quickly.
I know how to teach students to write papers and how to help and teach a child whose first language is not english to write a complete sentence and even pass an english class.
I know how nonprofits work, I know how hard it is to run one and I know that people who work, live and breathe urban ministry are actual saints and will be given a few extra rubies in their crown. It is thankless work and love they constantly give.
I know that Wedding photographers work their butts off and deserve every penny you pay them. Their job is not just on a wedding day, it is weeks before and weeks after making sure that your day was captured perfectly.
I also know that they have no life in the holiday season because everyone else wants pictures of their own families and couldn't care less about what you’re doing with yours.
I know that waiters and waitresses deserve your respect.
Because they make $2.15 an hour and split tips.
Would you have a good attitude if people talked to you like you were stupid and expected you to be your best self for $2.15 an hour?
Trust me, they are working very hard.
Be kind in what you request, please be ready to order when you say you are, and know they have the power to let your food get cold.
I know that a lot of recommendation letters from big time fancy people are often not written by them, but by random strangers cities away. Sometimes, when you are a big deal other people do work you don't have time for, and that’s ok.
I know how magazines operate, especially local magazines. It is a chore trying to get in touch with people, but when you do, you tend to learn so much more about people in and around your city.
I know what it’s like to have your own business and it not really turn out that great.
I know what it feels like to fail.
To answer the questions that make you feel ashamed and how to not constantly live offended by it.
I know what it’s like to be proud of something you’ve built and nobody care, and keep smiling… because you know at least you tried.
I know what it’s like to drown in your own debt and feel like you can’t breathe and someone comes in and blesses you.
And how you determine in your heart to be the person that can one day do that for someone else.
I know because I didn't get that teaching job.
I didn't get that youth ministry position.
I didn't get that job at GiGi’s cupcakes.
But I learned a thousand and one more things and hope to learn more.
What is life if we aren't learning?
And what am I gaining by landing in the perfect season at the perfect time?
Know this, every moment of every second of every thing that you are doing now is unto the next.
It may feel monotonous.
It may feel impossible.
But He isn't finished with your story and you shouldn't put your pencil down either.
The Lord is just getting started on you.