Try something part-time and give yourself a few months to see if you like it. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
We allow certain things to happen to us. It’s not that we have no control. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Work within the confines of your life, but don’t feel like you’re stuck. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hello and welcome to The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant. I am your host, Tiffany Parson, and I want to welcome you to today’s episode. Thank you for listening, whether you’re in your car, at the gym, at home, whatever it may be. Thank you for taking the time out to listen to today’s episode.
I’m going to just share with you something that happened recently and just really made me think about why do we suffer? Why do we put up with the things that we put up with?
Recently, I was talking to a friend. My husband and I were talking to a friend of ours and he was sharing about his job and how not too long ago he had to take medical leave because of stress. Now, he’s still at this job. Eventually, you know, went back, but he had to take some time off because of stress.
The whole time he’s sharing about this, you know, I’m just thinking, in my mind, I’m trying to think back to when I worked in the corporate world and, you know, what it was like and what happened and all that stuff, and really trying to imagine like what gets you to the point to where you have to take time off, and what makes you go back?
In my reflection, I rewinded all the way back to late 90s, and I can remember I had just moved to Dallas, Texas, and the company that I started working with right out of college, our department relocated to Dallas, and so I was selected to be one of the members to go and it was just exciting. I had never lived outside of North Carolina. This was the first time I’d ever lived out of state and so it was really cool because I’m going right into a job and all the stuff we would normally worry about, everything was there and waiting.
I can remember months down the road into the job being frustrated with the situation. My area was just getting into computers. Up until that point, they were using mainframe, which was when the computer was just a black screen and a green screen. They were just getting into, when I say just getting into computers, just getting into Windows.
The department, when we were in North Carolina, you know, we were up and running Microsoft Word, Excel, all that good stuff, you know. But the Dallas department was way behind. It felt like they were 20 years behind, and all of my coworkers were so much older than me.
When we all got new computers and, you know, we all have Windows now and all that good stuff, somehow or another it ended up I became the person to ask questions about the computer. Not that I volunteered or anything like that. It could be because I already had experience from before. It could be because I was comfortable. It could be because I was young.
Kind of like how things are going now with social media. People assuming that young people are used to it. They know it. They can do it and, you know, that might not be the case. They might know how to do it for themselves, but they might not know how to actually use it for business.
Anyway, I became the go-to person for computers and trained them on how to do all this stuff. Then, one day it occurred to me, wait a minute, I have this extra responsibility that has happened to me in addition to all my regular work, but I’m not being compensated for this extra. While it’s fun and all, you know, it would be great to be compensated for it.
Now, the industry I worked in, it was insurance, so I was not thrilled about that. That was not my interest or anything like that. I would have loved to just have the whole training, you know, if training had been my sole role – get them set up, show them how to do the stuff on the computer, create processes and systems for them and stuff like that. If that had been the only thing that I was responsible for, oh my gosh, now, I would have been excited. The first person at work like, yes, because that’s fun to me. Of course, that’s not what happened.
Time went by, you know, same old, same old. Anytime something new happened in our area related to our computer, guess who ended up being the go-to person? Me, and that, again, it was just it got to be too much. I felt like I was stagnant. I wasn’t progressing, and it was causing me to feel a little stressful.
I would imagine kind of like our friend who was feeling stressful. Although, I don’t know. He didn’t give us all the details about what was causing the stress. He did say something about the things that the company was putting on them and stuff like that, but no specifics.
But I can remember when this happened to me, I didn’t let it get to the point where I was taking a medical leave. But what I did, and I think I was probably – I was in the early 20s. I was not 25. I must have been like 22, 23 maybe. Yeah, that sounds about right. Because I was young enough to be brave enough to not understand, you know, oh, you could be let go for asking for such crazy things, you know, I’m whatever.
I asked my boss, in a meeting, I explained what was happening and all this stuff and what could they do about it. Well, they couldn’t do anything about my stress. They couldn’t do anything about, you know, like maybe we can switch your responsibilities or something like that. Nothing.
I said, “Okay, fine. I need to take an emergency vacation.” So she looked at me. She was like, “Okay, cool. How long do you need to take your emergency vacation?” “Well, I need all my two weeks and I need to just start as of tomorrow.” [Laughs.] This is me, crazy 23-year-old. Now, I didn’t call anybody to consult. I didn’t seek advice from anybody. I didn’t get anyone else’s opinion. “What do you think I should do?” No, hey, I’m taking care of me.
My plan was during the two weeks, I was determined that I was going to find me a job. I had two weeks of job searching. I was determined to find me a new job in the two weeks, and I set out that by the time vacation was up, I was going to come back with a new job. Keep in mind, I’m in a new state, a new city. I don’t know what the job market looks like. I haven’t researched that stuff. This is just what I think will happen, how confident I was.
I did my two-week emergency vacation, and I slept well and I researched and all this stuff, and that is when I found out about the whole computer programming. They happened to be interviewing during the same time as my two week emergency vacation. You know, they had a whole – it was almost like a casting call for people who had Liberal Arts degrees and they wanted you to take a test to see if you had the aptitude to learn computer programming. I think I briefly shared that part in another episode.
But anyway, took the test. Everything went great. It was an opportunity to learn computer programming. They gave you a stipend, which was probably a third of what my check looked like at my job, but it was for a short timeframe. I think the program was like five months. I just needed to get through the four or five months. I can’t remember the exact timeframe, but it wasn’t a year or anything like that. It wasn’t long.
I’m so glad that I took the leap to do that.
I made, obviously, financial sacrifices and stuff like that. But I took a huge financial leap to get trained because at the end of the training, the promise was that they would help you find a job in computer programming, which they did. It was amazing, and I think about that. If I had never just taken a chance and gone for it, I could still be sitting in Dallas, Texas right now in that same department doing the same thing because I would have never been introduced to computer programming.
Computer programming, that whole experience starting from the time I asked for the two week emergency vacation, to going through that training, I gained so much in that experience. You know, doors opened after that and I learned what my capabilities were because I took a chance on myself. You know, that continues on and on.
So the friend is talking about the stress, and in my mind, I’m thinking, gosh, you know, what can you do? He mentioned some things that he would like to do. Maybe sales or something like that. I’m like, in my mind, you know, anytime someone shares what their dreams are or what their aspirations are, in my mind I’m thinking, you know, how could I help them?
I don’t give out advice unless someone asks me. You know, I learned a long time ago not to do that. When I first started my virtual assistant business, I first started working from home, and it was just unbelievable and I was doing it full-time. I was gung-ho and wanted to save everybody. But everybody didn’t want to be saved from the jobs they hated. I learned to not be frustrated and not give out advice that wasn’t asked for. You know, I’m always waiting or the cue to be asked [laughs] because I want to help people.
But anyway, and so I’m thinking, gosh, if he – and, you know, he’s saying sales, and I’m looking and I’m thinking, yeah, he would probably be really good with sales because he likes people. He’s a talker, all this stuff, and I’m thinking, gosh, you know what he should probably try to do is do it on the weekend part-time. You know, I’m all about go ahead and stick your toe in it to see if you would like it. You know, part-time, you’re not totally committed. That way if you hate it, you can quit and go to something else. You know, plus, you still have your full-time job.
I don’t know. Maybe that would be a crazy idea. But think about it for a short period of time. Give yourself a few months just to see is this something that I could really get into full-time? Then you know. Then go for it. You’ve already gained experience with the part-time. Your family and bills are taken care of with the full-time. You might have to sacrifice some things for a little bit. But in the long run, hey, what’s a few months, you know?
Because then you know what you can do. Is it car salesman? Is it insurance? What is it? Those are some things that came to me as he was talking for him, car salesman and insurance. But I didn’t, you know, go into my advice. The conversation took another turn and so I just kept it to myself.
But, you know, as I was thinking about what I would share with you this week on the podcast, this is when it came to me about us and our fears and what we hold onto and why we allow certain things to happen to us. We allow it. It’s not that, you know, we have no control.
Once something happens, it’s about our response, our reaction. Okay, what are you going to do?
Is that you? Is your job causing you so much stress that you’re about to tear your hair out or you’re about to go out on medical leave? What can you do? It might have to be something drastic and extreme. I don’t know. Everybody’s situation is different.
When I did my drastic and extreme, I was only responsible for me. I didn’t have to tell anybody or answer to anybody what I was doing with my job or my finances or anything like that. I did seek a little help from parents. [Laughs.] I did get a little help. You know, because again, it was a short timeframe. Life changing short timeframe.
It’s never too late. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s never too late. What is it that you want? What is it that you’ve dreamed about?
I’m married now. We own a home, so we’ve got responsibilities. We don’t have children yet, so we’re still at a place where we can make some drastic decisions if we wanted to about our businesses and careers and things like that. You know, you work within the confines of your life. But don’t feel like you’re stuck like, uh, this is it. You know, my life is over. I can’t do anything about it…because you can. What you want to do is make sure that you’re not going to check and ask somebody who is scared, who doesn’t know.
When I left the corporate world, I turned in my 30 day notice. I discussed it, you know, I shared with my mom because we share a lot of things with each other. But I shared with her after I’d made my decision. I don’t think I had turned in my letter yet. But, you know, once I made my decision, I mean, it’s done and I’m sharing with you to have conversation because I’m kind of excited about my decision.
But there’s nothing she could have said to make me change my mind. What I learned years later is that she was fearful. She didn’t tell me that. But, you know, she just listened. My mom is a great listener, and really at that time I just – because sometimes you just need somebody to listen because you’re like jumping up and down on the inside all excited. You know, you just need to share with somebody, so you need a good listener.
But anyway, I learned later that she was afraid. Like, oh my gosh, how is she going to pay her bills? What is she going to do? Dah, dah, dah. But clearly, it all worked out. You know, you don’t worry about that stuff if you know that you’re headed in the right direction or you need to figure it out.
Like our friend, he knows that sales is something he’s interested in. So dabble in it. Figure it out. See if that is something that you’re supposed to do. Because sitting at a desk in a cube being stressed, you know, at the bank or wherever it is that you work, you’re not going to get the answers there.
You’ve got to get out in the field. You’ve got to get adventurous and see what’s out there.
The only way you know is to try it out. How else are you going to know? You can’t theorize it. You can’t Google it. You can’t Google an experience for you. How will you know? You won’t unless you just jump out there and go.
Today’s episode, I’m just, I don’t know, I might be rambling, but I might be touching on something that’s just right for you. I’m not sure. But let me know if this hit a point for you. I encourage you not to be afraid, but to be courageous in that.
Fear will be there. It doesn’t go away. Because if you’re trying new things on a regular basis, fear will be there. It’s natural. Go with it. It is fuel to move you forward, fuel to move you forward. It’s not to suck out all the gas out of you so you can’t go. No, it’s your fuel. Use it. Take off with it. Run with it. Fly with it, wherever you’re supposed to go. Do that thing. Don’t let anybody stop you. Nobody. Not even yourself.
Don’t be afraid of it. It’s time. It’s time to take the leap. Time to see what happens, even if it’s for a short period of time. You won’t know unless you go.
Thank you so much for listening. You have a wonderful and great day, and I want to hear about what it is that you took the leap of, what it is that you’re afraid to do. Share with me. Let me know. If you want me to help, ask me. I’m here.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you like what you heard, stay tuned. We’ll be back. Tell me what’s going on with you. Come on over the Facebook page: facebook.com/tiffanyparsonbiz, or if you prefer a little shorter message, come on over to Twitter: @tiffanydparson.
See you next time!