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This is a guest submission by Christine from PictureThisPittsburgh

The Answer To A Prayer

I’d followed the same path for 20 years and I was in the same position as where I started.  Oh, I had a better title and more money, but I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I was living the definition of insanity … doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result.

I spent the last eight years as a marketing manager for a worldwide software company, which was a good job by most people’s standards. It paid well, there were nice people, and the benefits were good.  On the surface, I should have been very happy.

On the inside, it was killing me.

I couldn’t have cared less about generating sales leads.  Any creative assignments I had were slowly stripped away from my position.  The company’s business practices were questionable.  It became a very toxic and painful environment.

The other day I revisited some writing I’d done back then.  I think this illustrates my point:

Here I sit.  At work in an oppressive cubicle environment.  Staring at the gray fabric wall in front of me that resembles all the cold, starkness of a less than sterile 1950′s mental hospital.  My brain hurts.

Is the monotony and boredom of the daily grind slowly eating away at it like a failed lobotomy?  Now, more than ever, I need to make my escape to a world that’s much more stimulating to the senses.  There’s no time to waste.  If something doesn’t change soon, I may never get out.

I wrote that on August 10, 2010, and within 10 weeks I received notice from my employer that they’d decided to relocate my job to the West Coast.  With no desire to relocate from my hometown of Pittsburgh, I gladly accepted the severance package knowing this was the answer to a prayer.

A History Lesson

open book

For as long as I can remember, I’ve done what my parents taught me to do.  “Get good grades.  Go to college.  Get a job.  Support yourself.”  Translation:  Work hard to learn what other people think is important and find any job that will provide a source of revenue so you can become a productive member of society.

Notice there’s no mention of discovering your passion, finding enjoyment in your work or being fulfilled.  I can’t blame them.  Mom and Dad are from the Depression era.

Back then, if you had a job, you were darn happy to have it.  Employment was a means to put food on the table, and the only enjoyment was knowing you wouldn’t go to bed hungry that night.

So like a good girl, I found my first job, completely unaware of the path on which I was starting.  And then I found the next job, and the next, and the next.  I’ve held a total of eight corporate jobs in 20 years.

When I found myself getting bored at work, I sought out the next opportunity.  Some of them were glamorous and some not so much, but they all had at least one thing in common.

Eventually they all left me feeling incomplete and unfulfilled.

Miserable working for that software company, I searched for the next job with no results.  I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t find it.  I’d never had such trouble landing a new position.

Was it the economy?  Did the job hunt change that much?  Was I too discriminating?  What was I doing wrong?

The Revelation

Finally, by the spring of 2010, I’d had enough.  It was time to get serious and figure this out.  So I set out on a journey of self-discovery.

  • I enlisted the help of a career coach. Neal is a gentle, friendly man with an honest desire to help others.  His obvious compassion for people makes it easy to trust him, which is very important when opening your soul to an almost stranger.  From Neal I learned exercises to help manage my stress.  And I began to think differently.  He helped me to look outside what I thought I knew and to be open to the possibilities.
  • I consulted an intuitive counselor. Forrest could be one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met.  He has the laid back personality of a California surfer, but his eyes look deep into my soul.  He seems to automatically know me on a deeper level than most people can comprehend.  Forrest opened my eyes to how past events have shaped my current life.
  • I started keeping a journal. Writing is a powerful tool for self discovery.  While I consciously typed the words into the Word document, the ideas seemed to flow magically from my fingertips.  Taking the time to write the thoughts “on paper” made me focus.  I found I was complaining less and seeking a solution more.
  • I began meditating. It’s very interesting what enters my mind when I take the time to be silent.  So many times I cried out for help and felt like I received no answer.  Meditating opens the soul to receive the guidance it so desperately wants.  To hear the answer we have to quit talking.

It wasn’t long before all of these elements combined and led to one very amazing eureka moment for me.  What I discovered was this:  I couldn’t find the next job because I didn’t want the next job!  I didn’t want just any job.

My soul was screaming to be set free and that wasn’t going to happen at the same old corporate cubicle job I’d held numerous times before.

Springing To A New Beginning

plant_growing_in_hand

Fast forwarding to where I left off, in December 2010 I worked my last day for that software company.  I spent the month of December doing nothing.  Well, almost nothing.

I allowed myself the luxury of sleeping in and staying up late.  I prepared to celebrate the holidays.  I enjoyed the company of friends and family.

All of this helped my body, mind and spirit to recover from the stress it had known for so long.

With my newly acquired freedom I spent time reflecting on my strengths, talents and interests and established Picture This! Pittsburgh, a company that preserves precious moments of life by creating custom digital video scrapbooks.

This business perfectly expresses my zest for life, my commitment to serving the needs of others and my love for Pittsburgh and its people.

Be advised though, this isn’t the end of the road.  I still have battles to fight.  It’s hard to get a new business off the ground.  I’m very thankful I have my severance package to help make ends meet.

Mom and Dad give me a skeptical look when I talk about my new adventure, unintentionally making me feel like I’m not living up to their hopes for me.  But it’s springtime and the air is filled with new beginnings.

I can tell you that, where my career is concerned, I’m happier than I’ve been in a very long time.

Christine Span defines herself as a renaissance woman.  Always seeking to experience new things, she has a passion for “seeing what she can get into”.

She is a passionate believer in serving the community and is changing the world from her own back yard.  She has volunteered for the American Red Cross for five years and recently began supporting military families as the Family Readiness Group leader for a U.S. Army Reserves unit.

You can find her at PictureThisPittsburgh and on Facebook.

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