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survival2success

Advice on Going from Survival to Success for the "Instant Generation."

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Part-Time Job

Day 73: I Quit More Often Than I Realize

 

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Sometimes, I wish I could just forget statistics…

Last night was a difficult evening. I didn’t get something I really wanted. I also thought it was something that was a “slam dunk.” Logically, I know God is in control and that He is absolutely and always good. As long as I kept myself busy with activity, I did well; held on to the truth I know and believe. But, as soon as the action stopped that “chatterbox” full of lies started attacking me. What makes it hard is that it isn’t just the simple verbal garbage I have heard throughout my life–it’s researched backed statistics. When I start to think of those statistics I wonder, why bother? See it’s research, statistics, and thoughts like these that make me give up. On most things, it’s for a short time, but other goals and dreams have faded and died because of this process. So, this morning to fight another temptation to give up I started writing a goals list:

Goals List

  1. Get a new job in Boston

Why: I love Nick, and I know that God has more for us, and being separated by 6+ hours of a public transit commute works for now–but will not work on a permanent basis; Boston is more accessible and has a much more lively, active disability community. I need a job where I am not just scraping by to survive and where I am actually treated with respect and dignity.

Steps: 1. keep applying, 2. keep reaching out to my network, 3. keep my head up, 4. cold emailing, 5. Don’t QUIT

2. Get Certified in American Sign Language

Why: I learned Sign Language at the School for children with disabilities that I went to when I was little. I stopped using sign language when I went to Public School but when my dad got re-married my stepmother reintroduced Sign Language. I loved it all over again. Knowing sign language well enough to be an interpreter will give me more of an in with a part of the disability community that I care about. I also see this as a way to possibly serve in churches to make them accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing. Also, won’t lie, I could totally use the extra income of a certified interpreter.

Steps 1. wake up early enough to spend 45 minutes in the morning practicing my sign language, 2. when I have practiced enough find groups on Long Island where I can practice my skills 3. Practice, Practice, Practice 4. DON’T QUIT 5. Take Certification exam

3. Gym (Health)

Why: Mainly because it makes me feel good! I like going to the gym it gives me a natural endorphin rush that really makes me feel good. For the first time in my life, I don’t look at myself with disgust when I put my clothes on. I also need to go. Strength training makes walking easier and less painful for me. Also, I work for a health company part-time, if I am not taking care of my health how will that reflect on the company itself?!

Steps 1. reset my alarm clock that is across the room so that when my medication reminder goes off in the morning, I don’t just take my medicine and go back to sleep but I actually get up! 2. go to the gym first thing in the morning for strength training, 3. keep eating the right food and using my Melelucca products, 4. go to the gym after work for endurance training, 5. Don’t Quit!

4. Melaleuca

Why: Because I can’t live this existence anymore. I have worked so hard in my life and none of it is paying off at all. My Degrees are simply tokens that have lead me into an enormous amout of debt. I do not want to enter any future relationship dragging my debt with me, as much as people laugh at me I refuse to be another American in a large amount of debt living paycheck to paycheck having anxiety everytime I get hit with the “unforseen.” The “unforseen” happens a lot more often than anyone cares to admit; I’ve come to see.

Steps 1. Don’t Quit–I was considering this recently. 2. Don’t be attached to outcomes 3. talk to more people 4. be more intentional 5. Master Social Media Marketing (SMM)

5. Blog–SMM

Why: Because I love writing, I have a story to tell. I don’t think I have the right to tell it until I have moved past this survival mode but in the meantime I can write about how to keep you hope, confidence and motivation intact so that even though you feel like you are going three steps foward and two and a half steps back–you can stay focused on that half step foward. Bloging ang SMM is the way to be heard in this increasingly noisy world–I have to be heard in order to be seen for my value.

Steps: 1. read the materials I have on blogging and SMM, set up a weekly schedule for posting across the diffrent platforms, 3. stay consistant. 4. Don’t Quit!

6. Do well at my current job

Why: It’s where God has placed me right now. I am not working to please people but I am working as unto the One who created me. I am to do my best to maintain my work eithic and contribute whatever I can to the agency. When I am given the opportunity to move up, I want to leave them with a good flavor in their mouth.

Steps: 1. Be early, 2. return from lunch on time, 3. finish data entry in a reasoanle time frame, 4. take a grant writing course, 5 re-start the agency newsletter, 6 volunteer to help where/when possible. 7. Come in early enough or stay a bit late to clean out organize desk, 8. Don’t Quit–till it’s time.

7. Driver’s License

Why: Even when I do get to an accessible city it will still be good to have access to a car, that way we are never stuck anywhere. I can travel to non-transit cities and not be dependent on figuring out who is going to be around in order to plan everything.

Steps: 1. reschedule my lessons, 2. check with my brother and see if he will let me practice with him (he has an adapted car and this will give me more practice, 3. Simulations? 4. Don’t get anxious about finances 5. Don’t Quit!!! 

 

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Maybe I Don’t Quit I just Restart–A lot!

 

 

 

 

Day 71: ” Adapt and Overcome” Vs. “Adapt and Resist

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ADAPT Action 2017: DC-“Die in” Picture Taken by Cara Leibowitz, Edited by By Michael Thornton

 

At the bottom of a friend’s email under her name it reads, “Adapt and Overcome.” She says that statement a lot, and I had come to adopt it as a personal mantra, After all, people with disabilities, such as myself, spend their lives adapting and overcoming. It’s a matter of survival more than choice. I suppose we could choose instead to sit in institutions, collect SSI nd die; but I can promise you a majority of us that can make the cognitive choice don’t want this kind of existence.

After the “Die-in” at Senator McConnell’s office on Thursday, June 22, 2017, I realized that the mantra od “adapt and overcome is not only unrealistic but very limiting as well. Mantras aren’t supposed to limit a person–they are meant to propel you forward into the limitless.  Life and society have trained me to “adapt and overcome” but I think a much better mantra for me is “adapt and resist.”

I have been trying to adapt and overcome since the day I was born. Sure, It’s gotten me further than anyone expected. I could sit here and list the ways I have adapted and overcome. That would fill you with nice, warm, inspirational feelings. But, I hate  to tell you–I am not here ti be anyone’s “inspiration.” I am here to live the life I was created to live and be an active member of society (yes, that very society that wants to leave me on the sidelines). Adapting and overcoming has directly made me an inspirational chess piece in society’s game of “good feelings.” I’m done playing the adapt and overcome game. That game is for society’s momentary benefit not their long term benefit or for my benefit at all. It’s time for me to “adapt and resist.”

For those of you who don’t know, which is probably many, if not the majority; “Adapt and Resist” is the call of ADAPT. ADAPT is an active, in-your-face, non-violent disability rights group who has forged inroads for the disability community here in America and overseas for generations. Here in America, the actions led by this group got people with disabilities access to busses and other forms of public transit, this group got individuals with disabilities access to buildings and education as well. It was because of their actions that Independent Living Centers were formed and major pieces of Legislation pushed into the forefront of the American awareness. People in ADAPT didn’t just try to hop up on sidewalks with their wheelchairs they took sledgehammers to the sidewalks and made curb cuts.

I am no longer going to play the part of someone who has managed to “hop up on a sidewalk.”  I now have my sledgehammer in hand. My work ethic is outstanding; I go above and beyond in my job every day, yet the woman who everyone knows shops all day is treated with more respect? “Hop up on the sidewalk” would have told me to keep working hard–they will respect you–things will get better. The sledgehammer in my hand says to me, moonlight with an online health company and search for another job where I will be seen for my skills and abilities. I have two masters degrees, published journal articles on hiring practices and over five years of work experience and here I sit as a receptionist being paid below the poverty line for where I live. “Hop on the sidewalk,” tells me don’t worry, things will get better, you may even get a license and be able to afford a car. The sledgehammer in my hand screams, “get the hell out of here! Why live somewhere where people with disabilities aren’t actively in the community? Why stay somewhere where constant inaccessibility screams rejection?”

I’ve been foolishly living a disillusioned life that says if I adapt and overcome things will change. No, they won’t. If I want a better life, I need to “Adapt and Resist” one sledgehammer swing at a time.

Day 67: Fustration: Two Outcomes

 

Disability in the Workforce
2015 is the last reported statistics by the Federal Government, Respectability, and Cornell University

Looking at those statistics as a person with a “Targeted Disability*” can easily lead me to wonder why I bother trying so hard to change my circumstances. I mean, looking at these numbers you think I should just give up and go back to living on SSI, and I should definitely not think that I deserve a better position than what I have now. I should just be happy I’m employed at all.

But, I refuse to accept the status quo. I am too frustrated and angry. I have worked too hard in my life to remain satisfied with my current circumstances. I heard it said that the most faithful people are the most frustrated people. I believe that applies to me at this point. First, my frustration broke me down. the frustration was leading to me believing the lies that said, You are a failure, you aren’t good enough, the only thing that lies ahead for you is more humiliation and shame. It’s been a battle to fight through those lies. I know they aren’t true. But, given a week moment, those lies can quickly come crashing down on me.

Now, today, at this time my frustration is fueling me towards change; the change I deserve. When my frustration hit this tipping point, I decided to enter the battle, and I will fight until God’s purpose for me is fulfilled in my life. For a while, I accepted where I was in the workplace because I rationalized that God can get glory from my life no matter where I am situated. That statement is still true, and so I am managing my current situation with that in mind, but I also know that I have been prepared for so much more. My frustration has engaged me in a battle to change my circumstance. Of course, I want my circumstances to change so that I can stop living by a thread and have some freedom. But, I am doing this for other people with disabilities. When I get myself into a better place, I can become a voice for people with disabilities. I can push open doors for them that have continually been slammed in my face. I will do this through getting a better job and through Melaleuca.

*Targeted disability is defined as “a disability that the government has, for several decades, emphasized in hiring because they pose the greatest barriers to employment, such as blindness, deafness, paralysis, convulsive disorders, and mental illnesses, among others.”

 

Day 65: Old Fasioned Networking

 

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Every Opportunity and Every Connection Counts

Back on task–moving from survival to success. As you know, I am not only job hunting for a Human Resources position within a corporate company, but I am also a marketing executive for the largest online health businesses in the United States. I started with them back in September, and even though I am 110% behind them as a company and love their products, I have had a problem enrolling shoppers.

Why has this been so hard for me? I could make a list of reasons why I think it hasn’t worked but if I am honest, getting out there and networking, it’s just not easy for me. Not to mention, I have been trying to do it in random places just hoping to make things work. Well, I am starting to change my strategy a little bit. I am doing so good old-fashioned, face to face networking. I am great opportunities coming up this week to do that very thing and guess what?? Instead of being completely terrified, I am excited!

On Thursday I am joining a “let’s get fit and network” meetup that will be walking together at a local park about two towns over. I love walking, and being fit is what this company is about–perfect fit. Saturday I am doing a 5K to raise money for a Lupus Foundation. Great place to meet people and network with those that obviously care about their health. (Sorry, but, there are easier ways to raise money for a cause than running just over 3 miles! Just Sayin’!). The Following week I am going to a business networking meeting at a local resturant. It’s time for me to hustle, so people ask me–how are you making this work??

 

Day 61: Being in Pieces and Having a Divided Mind.

 

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A Divided Mind–Artwork by Joe Paradis

 

This morning one of my “Facebook Memories” was of information I gleaned from a Sermon by Timothy Keller (back in my comfort zone!) two years ago to the day. Guess what it was about? That’s right–you guessed it–anxiety. At first, when I realized that two years ago around the same time I was dealing with the SAME issue I started beating myself up in my head. See, you haven’t changed, you aren’t growing, anxiety and depression are going to be continuous battles that you will always lose. Thankfully before I left for work, I listened to the sermon again because Mr. Keller tells us to discard those thoughts and remember where they are coming from. Below is an excerpt from his sermon that really hit home for me, again,

The word for anxiety is a little Greek word  merimnaó which means to be in pieces and there is a play on this word anxiety in Luke chapter 10; that tells us the story of Martha and Mary. There is a great place where, two sisters, Martha and Mary have Jesus in to eat a meal and Martha is running all around, running all around and it says that she was anxious—merimnaó with much serving. And the word literally means to have a mind divided and distracted with too much. Too many goals. Mary is just sitting there listening to Jesus and Martha starts to get, “Mary we’ve got work to do and you are having your quiet time.” Mary doesn’t care that the house is a wreck and that they have things to do. That doesn’t matter she’s getting her time with Jesus. Are you a Mary or a Martha? Now Jesus actually makes a play on the word merimnaó. He says, “Martha, Martha you are anxious and troubled about many things (which is merimnaó).”  Mary has found the one thing that is needful, Mary is single-minded. Mary has one thing she is looking at and Martha had 300 things. (Timothy Keller “Fruits of the Spirit: Peace and Overcoming Anxiety,” 1990)

I am definitely a Martha, although you would never tell that by the looks of my apartment sometimes! But, right now my mind is divided and being pulled in so many directions. I’m surprised it hasn’t been pulled to shattered pieces yet. That has to be God’s protection. Even today my mind is considering my job, Melaleuca, my relationship, the possibility of moving, Boston, Job applications, friends, family, my future, my past. Some of these things are not bad, but it is; nonetheless causing my mind to be divided and for my anxiety to have a fertile ground in which to grow.

As I said, some of the things my mind is focused on are good things, they even require my attention. But look what Mr. Keller says, “Mary has found the one thing that is needful, Mary is single-minded.” Mary had a family, she had a home to take care of, meals to prepare, but when she had the opportunity, she focused her mind on the One that would pull all of her life together and keep her mind in on piece–without anxiety. When Christ is my focus, and I give all my concerns they no longer have the right to pull apart or divide my mind. Here is to needful, single-minded focus.

Day 58: At it again and on “Do it Again”

 

Job Applications
Applying Again

If you remember back in January, I said I was taking the month off from applying to jobs because I was just getting so worn out and tired of the process. I was hearing nothing and getting nowhere. I had gone through developmental training, got help from a career counselor and had friends putting themselves out on the line for me and still getting nowhere. By the end of December I was so tired and to the point of tears. Everyone was telling me I was well qualified, my resumes and letters were well written. I was told nothing was wrong with me but that the job market was just scarce. I was reminded that there are people who graduated when I did and still were without any job so I needed to be thankful that I have a job. I will admit, although sometimes, things are not easy here I am grateful to have a job.

I ended up taking a break for a bit longer than the month. At the time, I thought it was the right thing to do. I had just moved into a new apartment, started taking driving lessons and thought that if I worked hard, I would prove my value to my job. I thought that if I showed my value to my job, I would be able to move up and continue to contribute to the agency. I am now fully convinced, in heart, in mind, and in spirit that things need to change.

My driving lessons are going well, but even if I managed to obtain a car, there is no way I could afford the insurance or gas. My job has made it clear to me that there is nowhere I can move within the organization. I can’t stay where I am. Too many days I go home feeling worthless and undervalued. So, my job search is back in full force; this time with Boston on the radar. While I was there I saw and heard about so many job opportunities that I lit up inside; in a way, I have not lit up in a long time. I have now filled out five applications in two weeks. My resume, with any luck and the help of God, may get into the hands of the CEO at one of the companies I applied to.

 

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Melaleuca The Wellness Company: CONFIDENCE 

Meanwhile, while I have been searching for a new job my dreams have been getting bigger. Do you remember the Dream Board I made? Well, that accessible house, I want to give someone I love the ability to see their design plans for a universally designed home to come to fruition. I also want to start a fund that is set aside to help churches to meet financial needs so that they have no excuse not to be accessible and open to people with disabilities. I have been seriously considering giving up on Melaleuca, as a marketing director.

I love their products, they have worked for me, but I keep feeling like direct sales are just not for me. For some reason, I just can’t do this. My mentor (poor guy) called me last night. I was on my way to Physical Therapy, so I only texted him in return, but as I was walking home I was thinking: maybe I should just tell him I quit. Thankfully, I skyped with my boyfriend later that night. He is taking a bold step in his career aspirations and I am so proud of him. I realized that he already thinks I am amazing (Don’t ask me why; I couldn’t tell you!). But, I know worked at Melaleuca he would be so proud of me, and I would be able to meet my financial goals and dreams. After talking to him, I decided not to tell my mentor I was quitting. On top of that, this morning I heard a video about confidence from Steven Furtick called “Do it Again.” I am not giving up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 56: Anointing, Trusting and Just Doing Something.

 

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Did David’s anointing provide him with an extra seal of God’s promise to him?

I am so many things going through my head. Most of these things have left me wondering: God, how do I know that this is a part of your plan for me? Help me! Granted, I have been more at peace lately than I have been in a while. Don’t get me wrong, like that “Wack-A-Mole” game found at most carnivals and arcades; my past and anxiety has reared its head. But, I have, thankfully, been able to–with support and skills–not denial–been able to “wack” it back into its proper place.

During today’s “First Five” devotional I read mostly about how some of the sojourner’s from the area of Benjamin thought they would be rewarded by David for killing Saul’s son who was claiming kingship over every tribe of Israel except for Judah. Unfortunately, their selfish ambition leads to their hanging by David’s men. The devotional talked about how David did not need those men to act as assains for God’s promise to him to come true. David trusted God.

13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him [David] in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. (1 Samuel 8:13)

I know David had to wait decade’s for God’s promise to him of becoming king over a unified Israel to come into being, but I wonder if being anointed by Samuel when he was a teenager gave him an extra ability to trust God and his promise? I don’t have a Samuel who is telling me, this is what the Lord has planned for you. I haven’t been outwardly anointed by a person set apart by God to tell people what God is saying and what to do. I know this should not be tripping me up. After all, the time of the Prophets is over because Christ left us His Spirit to be our guide.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14: 16-18)

When I first read this devotional, I was left praying similar to Todd Agnew’s Song “Witten on the Wall.”

And I wish You still spoke through burning bushes,
And I wish You still wrote on blocks of stone,
‘Cause the sound of this world’s deafening,
And I’m having a hard time listening,
And I wish Your will was still written on the wall.

But, then, it clicked in my brain. “If you love me you will keep my commands.” I just need to do everything I can to hold to Christ, to obey him, honor him and His Spirit will guide me moment by moment. Step by step. I don’t need a prophet’s anointing, a burning bush, or writing on stone and walls. Sometimes, as Keven DeYoung puts it, I need to Just Do Something.

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Day 50: Re-Writing Dreams, Learning to Use Social Media, and Taxes

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Social Media Icons

My family was recently gathered together to celebrate my Grandma Marge’s life. I was thankful for the time I got to spend with them. Eddie got upset at me for taking an Uber to the Hospital to visit, s0… the next time I came I rode my trike. Of course, I knew he meant that I should have called someone for a ride but, surprise! I’m stubbornly independent! My cousin Tammy was there as well. One of the things we share is our faith in Christ. We each live it out very differently but; it’s a connection that is hard to break. She is also a consultant for a direct to customer company (Young Living). She does so well. And their product line is much smaller than Melaleuca. I became so jealous. I was a little too sarcastic, and borderline mockery when she was telling my cousin Amy how she makes her business work. I’m not sure why I did that, exactly. Sometimes, I think I like to test people, and I put up some of my old walls and habits just to see if they will find me worth breaking through the junk. I don’t know why I tested Tammy, but I did, she survived, and she is still communicating with me!

Tammy was teaching my cousin Amy how she makes her business work, and I was standing by, messing with Tammy, and taking in as many details as I could. She spoke about how she used Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to grow her business. I want to learn more! I created a Twitter account but haven’t really learned the art of it yet. I created a Facebook page but need to start actively using it/ After I get those two things stated I will add Instagram to the mix. I will make this work for me one way or the other!

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Dream Board Example

Tammy also suggested I make a dream board. If she had been the first to mention it, I would have thought she was crazy. But she is the third or fourth person to TELL ME TO DO IT! All, for their own reasons, but still, four people. Alright! I even got free posterboard to do it on from our “free stuff” pile at my apartment. God gift. I have difficulty with my hands so, I’m sure it won’t be aesthetically pleasing, but it will serve its purpose. I’ll take a picture of my own when I am done. Promise.

Oh, and I finally gathered all of my tax documents and filed my taxes yesterday. I’m still poor enough that I am getting a refund. Running joke in the disability community is that we are the only group of Americans that beg to pay taxes. Paying Taxes means that we actually are making a sustainable income.

Day 46: Making it Through Monday, Surprises, and Endings

 

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I got a Surprise at work today (Thank you, Greg!)

I did not want to come to work today. I have been in a wrong frame of mind for a few weeks now, and pulling myself out of it has been so difficult. Thankfully, I have such incredible support from my family, church friends and, of course, amazing boyfriend. Often, I have wished I could just pull through all the painful, annoying and frustrating things on my own. I keep fearing that I am burdening people with my stuff. I know when I start believing that lie I need help getting things stabilized again. So, I’m getting professional help again. This morning after my alarm went off I just cried. I was reminded of past mistakes, and the feeling of being undervalued at work made me consider just staying in bed.

I decided, however, that I would get up, spend time reading Scripture and focusing on doing work for Melaleuca. I am so determined to enroll eight clients this month. I have been reading through the Psalms in the morning. All three Psalms today were about how the fool, wicked, deceitful, etc. say in their heart there is no God. Often times, when I look at my life, it seems those that have caused do much pain has gotten away with it, they have faced no consequences and have left me trying to rebuild from ashes. But, all of these Psalms reminded me that people may think they are getting away with things and I may never see them suffer for their injustices but that doesn’t mean that God is condoning any of it. These Psalms gave me great peace. I also asked God for strength and protection. Recently, to heap difficulty on top of my situation a former ex (who, if he would dare to be evaluated would quickly be diagnosed as a sociopath) had been harassing me through multiple phone calls from various numbers. I fixed the situation a best I could, but I still asked God for peace and protection. For now, I can only hope that this is an ending so I can continue to have new beginnings.

I am glad I had the strength to come to work because my friend Gregg and his Barbershop quartet showed up to work to serenade me. Everyone at work thinks a certain someone was behind the arrangement. Those who know where the credit belongs know, but I wasn’t going to correct anyone!!

 

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