First of all, I want to tell you guys that a month ago on February 1st I started blogging as a way to share with the world my life. I got a few clients because of that, which I am grateful for. Today I will blog about my career. Which one? I have had so many jobs in the past, and all of them have brought me to the next one in a way to where I am now. So let’s talk about my first experiences in the work place.
I have to say that the American culture is a little bit different than the Peruvian culture when we talk about jobs. Teens in Peru are not supposed to get a job, at least in the environment in which I grew up. This may have changed since I lived in Peru, but I was not supposed to work until I finished college so that I could have a great job that pays well and makes me look important. That was the belief I had when I was younger.
So when I was about to finish high school, I had to make a decision of what my career would be. I loved psychology, but I knew I would have to read a lot, so I said no way. I loved numbers, so I thought that might be the route. So I had the best idea: I looked around and saw who my family was proud of? My cousin the accountant! I thought I had better be like her because she was also going to a very good college at the time and might help me with my homework. LOL. So guess what? I went to college to become an accountant. Quitting was not an option; I had to finish no matter what, and that is what I did.
In order to get good jobs, I needed the experience, so I was supposed to look for a job in accounting before I graduated so I could get those hours in. But I was not motivated. I did not want to look for a job; I wanted the job to find me. So I created my reality, and the jobs found me!! Two companies called me, and I had interviews with them. One of them wanted to hire me, a photo company in Peru, and I accepted. I was an intern in the accounting department implementing the new accounting program. So I started with them but didn’t do anything. It was so frustrating to be sitting at a desk for 8 hours doing nothing. I asked my boss, “Are you sure you guys need me?” He said, “Yes.”
The other company that interviewed me was a mining services company, but they took forever to make the decision, which is why I lost that opportunity. They later called me to offer a job, but I felt bad about quitting my first job. They even told me that they would pay me more to leave the other place, but I believed I had to be ethical, so I recommended one of my best friends for that job at the mining services company. To my surprise, I got fired just after a few weeks because the program was not going to happen.
Really? I said no to a job because I wanted to be faithful? But I guess they did not want to be faithful to me. I told my friend who got hired at the other company who told the guy whom I refused what happened to me. He called me and hired me for another one of his companies. How lucky was that?! I started as an intern in the accounting department, just doing basics. I got to learn a lot, the good and the bad. But when things started to happen that went against my ethics, I quit, not before telling the owner that he needed to take a closer look at some things.
I graduated college when I was probably a few months employed at the mining services company and I was an accountant! I remember I travelled to the United States for a few weeks. As soon as I came back I heard that my ex-boss told me that all the bullshit from before was gone and wanted to offer me a job. Right away I said yes. I knew everybody, and I was going to be the accountant. I was going to make more money than my mom had at the same job she had had for a thousand years. And I started there at the mining services company.
OMG! It was a nightmare! The pressure, the ugliness of some people, the back stabbing. You know why? Because the bullshit was not really gone; the bullshit just changed color. There was a guy who created such a mess, who cooked the books so “tasty,” who would stay close to leer at me. Cleaning up all of his mess was not as easy as I thought; doing so meant I had to see the ugly side of me when I had to fire someone. I cried so much during that time. But as every dark side has a light, I also got to experience closer friendships with co-workers, the auditors that would help me with the mess, and the amazing people who stuck with me. And I knew I had to stay. All that I understood was that to have a good job is to be stressed out, to be at the top and to be the boss. I thought I had to do that to be considered as successful a woman as my mom, my aunts and my cousins.
In this job, I felt at the top. But at what price? I was crying every day. I took pills a couple of times to make me feel better so I could keep going. I wondered a few times, “Is this it?” I knew my mother, my aunts and my cousins also had hard jobs, but why couldn’t I deal with it? I worked very hard to be laid back and joyful, and I always tried reacting to my difficulties in a good way. I still had in the back of my mind that in order to impress my mom I had to have a good job. After all, my mom paid thousands of dollars to see me graduate from a good university in Peru.
I found out later that the company was going to be more involved with a sister company in Canada, and the accountant would need to be fluent in English. My boss asked me to learn intensively, so I had to take a year off to do so. My English school was to immerse myself in the American culture, and that is what I did and how another chapter of my life started.
I think life usually gives you the experiences for you to make decisions toward being your TrueSelf. Sometimes we make the right ones and sometimes not, but either way you will get there. At least that is what I believe, and I hope we all get to do that sooner rather than later.
Stay strong to your TrueSelf
P.S. I am happy to say that Balance My TrueSelf is formal now! It is an LLC!