Click to watch it here first: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsIbI4lxFjQ
“I quit.” “You did what?”
“Man, you sure know how to start off the week.”
That was the conversation I had with my best friend yesterday morning after a slightly uncomfortable but much needed meeting with my boss.
At the start of my new job, I was ambitious, excited, and needless to say, filled with energy and enthusiasm. I imagined myself five years down the line, branding the company, producing my own shows, and managing my own team. Less than two months after our soft grand opening that vision of mine began to slowly dissipate.
Before everything went downhill, I was on my grind. Within the first month alone, I was able to put in a 50-hour workweek all while balancing my three freelancing jobs on the side. With only twenty dollars in my savings account, I knew I had to hustle and I had to hustle hard. Once I got the ball rolling, things began to look brighter. Every month, I watched my savings doubled. While I was making money, I tried to budget my spending as much as possible. Pretty soon, I was able to afford the things I never thought I was able to afford. Hustling (if you do it right) will always lead to unprecedented results.
Slowly, I started to notice that the dynamic between my boss and I began to change. She would walk over to my office often and criticize every research, pitch, and treatment I’ve completed for a show. At first, I took her words as a means to improve and grow, but after awhile, I began to feel uneasy.
Some days were doable and other days were just downright awful. I would hear the words "nonchalant" and "incompetent" being tossed casually. Furthermore, her words had a lot to do with her own personal opinions of me rather than the product of my actual merits. "Why are you a Communication major when you can't communicate?" "Do you even do research at USC?" Etc, etc.
Although I am typically good at blocking out these kinds of misguided words, it became apparent to me that there was no real trajectory or future if I do choose to stay with the company. Don’t get me wrong. Well-spoken, highly self-actualized individuals do not intimidate me. They inspire me. My boss, on the other hand, was anything but inspiring. She was a disastrous procrastinator, but luckily for her, she had someone to pick up all of her pieces....aka me.
Two months in and I started to experience a new low. I lost a good amount of weight, broke out, had mood swings, and evidently, experienced a high-level of stress. So what did I end up doing? At the end of month 4, I booked a flight to San Francisco and requested a week off from work.
San Francisco was amazing. It gave me a space to reflect on the situation I was in. I stepped away from my every day routine and challenged myself to think outside the box. Lastly, I came home with a definite answer.
“I’m going to quit,” I said to myself.
That following Monday morning, I walked into my office and saw that my boss completely destroyed my desk space---books, used cups, papers were scattered everywhere. Granted, before I left, I vacuumed the entire office and tidied up my conference room. Welp, there goes that. It was in that very moment that I realized I could no longer wait for change to happen. After a couple of deep breathes, I mustered up the courage to tell her that I no longer see myself as a fit for the company.
She didn’t look too surprised and while she did try to find more horrible things to say, I did my best to avoid countering verbally altogether. Deep down, I knew I was doing the right thing and by giving myself the opportunity to shed all of the lies and unethical truths I’ve been repeatedly hearing, I have finally allowed myself to be free.
I don’t want to approach this situation in an aggressive outspoken manner. For me, this entire first job experience taught me more than I’ll ever know. Although some people may think that I am a quitter, I know very well that this was a decision that took a lot of thinking, discussion, and reevaluation.
Pros about the job:
- It was close to home
- It was close to the gym
- I will make my parents proud and less stressed
- It gave me the flexibility to keep up with my social life and relationship
After writing down the pros and the cons, I learned that no matter how great the pros were, none of these things was worth risking my happiness and self worth.
Initially, I was planning to write this post a couple of months down, ya know... right after I get a new job or something along those lines. However, my thoughts are still raw and I wanted to share this experience with you because it’s important for me to be as honest as possible. I’ve spent years preaching about the importance of staying true to oneself while consistently chasing after calculated risks. This, right here, may very well be the best decision I have made for myself this year. Okay, second best (the first one was when I agreed to date the sweetest guy on this planet).
If there’s one thing I want you to take away from my story, it’s this: your dreams are worth it. Don’t let pre-judgment, condemnation, setbacks and people-pleasing tendencies to pull you back. After all, the second you start believing in yourself and your worth, everything will start to follow through. Trust me, I’d know.
It was one of those rare moments when I walked into the building and I knew that my life was about to change. I shock hands with a stranger who just so happens to be my future boss and introduced myself to him. "Hi, it's nice to meet you. My name is Khanh P. Duong." (I never get the P. It's my trademark). An hour and a half later, I walked away with a job offer and it was not just any offer. It was an opportunity for me to be the host of my very own television show for their network. You'd think I would be ecstatic, jumping up and down in glee; but I felt none of that. Instead, there was a small rush of serendipity and tranquility as I begin to think about what's ahead. "This is it. This is my time."So I took a deep breathe and smiled.
For the past couple of months, I've been bombarded with questions....these questions came from acquaintances (hardly from any of my good friends since they know better than to dive into my career) as well as family members. I didn't mind answering the first couple of questions, but then it got repetitive. I'm telling you, I would make such a horrible famous person. While it seems like I'm an open book, much of my life happens behind closed doors. Pun intended. What I'm trying to say here is that often times people see the results, the successes, the milestones; however, only a select few actually witness the struggles, the tears, and the setbacks. It's always tough when you're trying to build your empire from scratch, but you have to start somewhere, right?
After I received the good news, immediately, I texted and called my mom and my best friends. It's always important for me to share these parts of myself with the people I love---with the people I know who genuinely cares about me and my endeavors. Afterwards, I went on to Facebook and shared with the rest of my however many friends about the new opportunity. I don't do it for the likes nor do I have the need to brag. My friends are all aware of this and quite frankly, these kind of things starts to matter less as we get older anywho. However, I am very much aware of my support system and so it was kind of my way of letting them know that I'm doing okay for myself and that I'm going to make each and every single one of them proud. It's no secret that I've been patiently waiting for this moment right now and I could not have been happier. On the other hand, I'm also glad that I had these past couple of months to reflect and really think about what it is that I want to do with my life.
After I got home from the meeting, I changed back into my workout clothes, washed my car, picked up my little brother from school, and went onto the web to read more about the local news. I landed on this news article from KTLA5 of a 9 year old boy is who currently suffering from a deadly virus. His birthday is in a couple of weeks and so I went on to pick up my pen (something I rarely do) and wrote something for him. It's not much, but the energy that he has exuberated through the images has led me to believe that there is always more to life than just darkness. If Bubby can still find happiness and strength in home-written cards and stickers than I can most definitely be grateful for everything that I already have now.
Lesson of the day: the secret to having it all is knowing that you already do