The Power of Grit: Acquiring the Apprentice Mindset
Don’t hire me. Just let me grow on my own.
As I sit here, I feel incredibly misunderstood.
You see...I read a lot. News articles, gossip, fiction, self-help books...you name it. Suffice to say I have a lot of ideas. My language broadens. My vocabulary enriches. My communication thrives.
Yet some of these ideas, these "philosophies" of mine tend to get me in trouble, but I persist.
As I sit here I realize that maybe I've always been misunderstood. I tried to find a place in a world that has rejected me since my inception, refuted my ideas, laughed at my notebooks full of characters unbeknownst to me were actually personified versions of my inhibitions, mocked my passions and rolled their eyes.
As I read this...I can't help but hear the infamous tagline:
"Why are you using such big words? Speak English."
At first, this whole charade was almost like a practical joke and I treated it as such. In certain moments I felt my ego inflate the size of an air balloon because what a buffoon thing to say to someone.
There's something to be said about people who are ignorant of the English language. There's something to be said about people of a certain intellectual caliber not knowing their audience because unfortunately, not everyone has the same mindset...I learned that the hard way.
Then it dawned on me. I'm misunderstood because I'm not like them. They're chasing temporary highs while I can only see dollar signs...and I don't mean this in an arrogant way.
You see...the power of grit starts with those vocabulary enriching books, on the very first day of school where the immigrant Eastern European girl channels her fear into immersion.
"I will speak their language in a way they've never seen before. They'll never even hear an accent. I'm going to honor this culture as my own."
This is what I wrote in my diary at the time and I lived up to that self-made promise. I worked hard, day and night memorizing words, putting them in sentences, conjugations, making songs, making raps, making poems, making rhymes...
Then I woke up and I felt American. Being American, especially first generation, comes with a certain sense of responsibility and a certain sense of pride. The work ethic I was able to show conceived something else that day: an apprentice mindset.
January 18, 2017.
I'm a big girl now, obviously...I'm in the rat race with a bunch of people who fell into the trap of the fabricated American Dream.
Get a degree, get a job, get laid.
Ok...maybe that last one was just for kicks, but you get the idea.
People move from college to internship to corporate...then another corporate company...then another and it's all very much a recycled process. Corporate is cool because you can finally buy cool stuff, move out, have a sense of security.
I don't really know what day it is but as I sit here, sipping on my third cup of coffee, the acid reflux forming in my esophagus and the slow ticking of the clock mocking my brain, I can't help but think I want more.
Someone lost their shit today and blamed it on me. I took it personally because it's what I do.
Towards the middle of the day I feel anxiety creeping up on me because is this really all there is to it? Part of me wants more.
Later that night I'm flipping through channels. I stumble upon Shark Tank and Mr. Wonderful says something that hit like a ton of bricks...
"You wanna make millions? You gotta be your own boss."
I mentioned this to someone and they laughed. I applied for other jobs and they laughed. Recruiters said I'm either overqualified or not qualified enough. Some tried to put me in a box. Some I never heard from again.
But those words from Kevin O'Leary kept echoing in my head.
I remembered this one university I used to recruit students to because of the partnership with a company I used to work for. They offered generous scholarships, provided all this great intel and here I was knowing all this verbatim and suddenly it clicked.
Because of the apprentice mindset, I had to do something bigger and commit to something on a much deeper level. I applied for my MBA, yet I still wanted to stay corporate loyal.
I get accepted to graduate school for a marketing management degree, but later realize I can take all these credits and overlap them with an MBA...so now I'm pursuing two disciplines officially making the biggest commitment I've made thus far.
Goodbye, money. It was nice having you.
At that pivotal moment is when I realized how little I was actually making, how stressed I was becoming and how relatively not passionate I was about what I was doing.
I was certain of one thing though. I wanted to make it big. I wanted to see those commas rolling in.
I'm still corporate loyal, I still have a job. Nevertheless feeling that apprentice itch as I open up countless emails thanking me for my time, but that "we went with someone else better suited for the role you were applying"
Switching corporate careers is like trying to get a boyfriend after you break up with your fiancee of 40 years. It's a tough, thankless trip.
Recruiters kept rifling through my resumes, giving me the same old spiel.
I've had just about enough of the rejection and the echo won't leave my head, so I discover something that has drastically changed my life: the wonderful world of freelance.
Freelance is an amazing, underrated concept because it doesn't mean, "Oh, I'll do this for free." It means "Oh, I'll set you free. Just find your niche, brand, your thing and make it work" said the holographic man in a Hugo Boss suit...
Yes, Tim Gunn. I'll make it work.
The inevitable work-from-home concept is introduced to the masses of corporate rats like myself and I go out to celebrate at my favorite coffee shop across the street as the hamster wheels in my head keep turning.
Several months into quarantine...
Now I know why all those rejections took place and I would like to send a beautiful cookie bouquet to every single one of those recruiters being the bearers of bad news. I'm in the middle of my MBA, but the knowledge I acquired along with the skills and niches I posses, business is booming. The world of freelance turned out to be my saving grace...the business idea will be launched later this year.
I'm working 17-hour-long days since mid-April, but that's ok. Trademark, LLC or inc...branding, marketing, logos. These are all things appearing in my dreams at night. It's all I think about.