[My Story] What To Do When Your Dream Job SUCKS

I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I stood dumbfounded at the gas pump as my heart skipped a beat and--oddly enough--sank at the same time.

I had just left a video shoot for a friend's new co-working space; she wanted a quick promo video for her business. Simple enough, right? However, from the time I arrived, I knew something was wrong. At best, my shots were mediocre and I couldn’t quite catch “the moments” that all videographers are hired to capture. As the shoot progressed I grew increasingly annoyed and, within the first hour, I was ready to leave.

Eventually making my exit, I haphazardly threw my crap ($10,000 worth of crap, but in this moment, crap nonetheless) in the car and sped out of the parking lot. In my over ten years of working in production, I had done tons of shoots like this and it should have been cake. But... this? This was different. As I stood at a gas station in the middle of South Atlanta, a very cold and startling revelation hit me like a sock full of quarters: I didn’t want to do this anymore.

But how could this be? I had devoted all of my career to working in media. Starting from my early days in college, I completed a million internships and even freelanced for my professors. Writing, producing, shooting and editing. If you needed a video, I was your girl. Everyone knew that I was destined for a very successful media career. After college, I worked for a TV network, went to grad school and even joined the video faculty at a local arts college.  I later devoted a ton of time + money to launching an online TV network for indie black filmmakers. My career, professional network and most importantly, my finances (read: student loans), had me locked into this career. Right? Wrong. But if I wasn't going to work in media...what was I going to do??

As the words sank into the depths of my soul (I’m probably being just a little dramatic here), I reached for my phone to call a trusted colleague. He could barely say hello before I hit him with a barrage of statements and questions, all loaded with self-doubt.

After having laid it all out, I trepidatiously waited for his response. “If you don't want to do it, don't.” he replied. With that simple statement, and a few more encouraging words, I gave myself permission to not panic and embrace this new path.

Trade vs. Passion

After about six months of soul searching (read: hiding under a blanket, binge-watching Netflix and searching for the meaning of life on Google), I began to realize the real source of my frustration. It wasn't that I didn't want to work in the field anymore, but that it was no longer my passion. Don’t get me wrong— I still love media. Project Blaq, J. Michelle and ATLWEBFEST are all very dear to my heart and fulfill very real needs within the media industry. However, outside of fulfilling their intended purposes, they weren't fulfilling my purpose. With this revelation, I was able to identify media as a "trade" and not a "passion." By my definition, a trade is a particular set of skills that can be used for financial gain. For me, media isn't my dream job, it's my trade. 800 lb elephant? Lifted.

Your trade will get you paid while your passion will leave you fulfilled.

This simple, yet profound statement made me realize where I had gone wrong. Because I'd gone to school (twice!) for media + communications, I naturally assumed that I would ultimately find fulfillment in a career in media. But as I've learned since my gas pump meltdown, that's definitely not the case. Per conversations with close family and close friends (meant exactly as typed), I discovered that I had been ignoring what really made me happy-- helping people be great. It was just that simple.

4 Tips for Discovering Your Passion

Based on conversations with Jesus, family and friends, I offer you four things you can do to get out of a job that sucks and into a career that's fulfilling.

1. Don't Quit Your Day Job!

If you have a job that's paying you, don't quit to go find your passion. A job that sucks is much better than being homeless. Trust me. (You can, however, start drafting your resignation. Click here for inspiration.)

2. Reflect.

Take a moment to reflect on how you got to where you are now. Was it the result of strategic planning? Was it for the money? Or something else? Our motives dictate our decisions. If fulfillment becomes your primary motive, you'll begin to yield more positive results.

3. Consult Your Circle

Now's the time to reach out to those who have your best interests at heart and ask them some very real questions. My favorite question to ask: If I were a superhero, what would be my superpower? You may be surprised at some of the answers. Take notes because you'll definitely want to reference these later.

4. Give Yourself a Break

Discovering your passion takes time. Giving yourself intense (and often, unreasonable) deadlines will only frustrate the process. The fact that you're reading this blog (and *fingers crossed* will continue to read) means that you're on the right track!

In next week's post, I'll share more on how I transitioned from working my trade to working in my passion. Until then, I'd love to read your thoughts on today's topic below!

Hello, DMV!

It's been a while since my last post and I'm excited to announce a few major updates. Let's get to it.

The Doctor is In

Well, not that kind of doctor. Last Fall, I took a major leap of faith and moved from Atlanta to D.C. to pursue my Ph.D. in Communications at Howard University. It's been a dream of mine for some time now, but the timing was never right. I just completed my first year and will keep you updated on my progress!

Wait, what about your clients?

Great question! Just before moving, I gave my clients about 5-months notice so that we can transition all open projects to trusted freelancers and consultants. Starting a Ph.D. is tough, and I didn't want to "drop the ball" for clients who put their trust in me. As of now, I'm taking on short-term projects during summer break, when I have the time and creative energy available.

What's next?!

Again, great question. Once I've graduated with my Ph.D., I look forward to providing a better quality of service to new and existing clients. Until then, I'm working in "truth and service" at Howard as a professor of speech and as the social media director for the Cathy Hughes School of Communication Entrepreneurship Research and Resource Center. I also serve as the associate director of professional development for the Communications, Culture & Media Studies Graduate Student Organization.

It feels good to be back in action and I can't wait to share with you some exciting new projects in the pipeline. 

Until next time,

Jas

 

Brunch + Business Models

This morning I had the pleasure of working with Dallas-based image consultant, Carmelita D. This fashion savvy sales executive is taking her love of fashion, beauty and style and creating a business and life she loves.

Our morning started at 9AM with a photo shoot with Damon L. Thomas of Eleven16 Media. Our goal was to capture photos that would speak to her target clientele-- high net worth professional athletes and rookies with high earning potential.  Because she's working in the sports arena, I wanted to incorporate sports-related props to make the shoot even more unique. Additionally, shooting on-location at the SunTrust Plaza in downtown Atlanta matched with her personal style gave us exactly what we needed. Check out the behind-the-scenes shots below!

After the shoot, we headed over to my favorite Atlanta brunch spot, Einsteins on Juniper. While sipping mimosas and bellinis, we chatted about her vision for her company and how she could monetize her talents. 

As an entrepreneur, I love moments like this because I get to help someone's vision come alive. I had so much fun with her that I'm seriously considering offering this as a new service. Sometimes you just need to sit back, sip a mimosa and get your life with a new "business bestie."

Until next time,

Jas

#JasTurns30: Inner Peace

I initially only used it as a tool to help me focus. However, it quickly became a great way to monitor my peace. I never realized how entertaining so many different conversations affected my peace of mind. After a particularly taxing night of calls, it finally hit me: my peace of mind is more important than any relationship I have. Although I'm still available to my circle, I'm now sensitive to when I need to step back for my own sake. Nowadays, I have no problem Netlifx'n on the couch, staring at those missed calls like 👀#JasTurns30 #Unbothered #birthday #lessonslearned#millennials #3days #July10 #Facts

#JasTurns30: Drama

Drama is bound to happen, but it doesn't mean I have to entertain it. From my experience, most drama only serves as a distraction from the greater goal. When confronted with the foolishness (especially in business), I ask myself: 

1. Am I making money? 
2. Is this person stopping me from making money? 
3. Is there more money to be made? 

It's just that simple. Outside of hurting my family or friends, if you're not impacting my bottom line, we don't have a problem. 

#JasTurns30   #Facts #July10 #4days#lessonslearned #birthday #millennials

#JasTurns30: Discernment

This one is serious. My mom always told me to pray for discernment but I never truly understood why until I got older. There are people who will literally befriend you and then sit back and study you...waiting for their moment to strike. I would have never believed this until I experienced it first hand. Initially I would ignore the silent warnings. Ya know, trying to explain away what I was feeling. Now? Nah bruh. No need to explain or justify. If God says "run"... I'm out! 🏾️🏃🏽💨#JasTurns30 #millennials #lessonslearned #5days#birthday #July10

#JasTurns30: Results vs Effort

I wasted so much time "looking busy" because I thought the more effort I expended, the more accomplished I would be. Lies! The second I began to focus on my outcomes/results, I was more productive and wasted less time. I now ask myself, "What's one thing I can complete today?" It keeps me focused on what's really important. Two of my fave quotes about this: 

"The best performers are focused on outcomes, not activities." --Tony Robbins 

"Customers don't measure how hard you tried, they measure you on what you deliver." --Steve Jobs  

#JasTurns30 #millennials #birthday #lessonslearned#6Days #July10

Want to be a boss? Change your mentality

Hey guys, I’m excited to bring you my very first post as the Resident Career Expert at MYCC. I’m extremely honored to share stories of my own career missteps and lessons I’ve learned along the way. From leaving my dream job at a major television network in New York to losing the next job in the middle of a recession, I’ve learned a lot about being pushed, forced and kicked out of my comfort zone. My goal in writing for MYCC is to help you right where you are: fully aware of your own greatness, but unsure of the steps to take to live the life you want.

This month’s topic is one of my biggest frustrations: the mindset of an entrepreneur vs the mindset of an employee. In recent years, with the relative ease of legally starting a business, many have taken the leap into business ownership. However, although everyone wants to be a boss, very few understand that being a “boss” starts as a mentality.

Click here to read more over at MYCC!

What to do When You Fail...and It's Your Fault

Last night, I experienced a pretty tough business failure. Not that I haven't failed before, but this one was different because I was completely aware of whose fault it was--mine. I'll spare you (and me) the details and share what I learned about the experience. 1. Own your ISH Before you point fingers, really be honest with yourself. Was it you, them or a combination of both?

2. Assess your role A post-mortem is always great to help identify what you did wrong and what could have been done better.

3. Move on I gave myself a good 15 minutes to wallow in my sorrows before I decided to pick myself up and move on.

4. Don't let it happen again. You failed. So what? It only really becomes an issue if you repeat the failure again and again. Next time, don't. Lastly, the biggest lesson I learned last night was that although I failed, I'm not a failure.

If you've experienced failure recently, I'd love to hear from you. What's worked for you?