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Take Back Your Control

The most important thing I have done in my career was working for myself.

It took a decade to do it, mostly due to confidence in myself. Imagine what you could do if you turned the doubt you had in yourself into fuel for your ambitions? The world suddenly becomes attainable, you realize a flight to Nepal is just a few hundred dollars and if you packed your lunch for 6 months, a whole weeks vacation for your family of 6 is paid for!

I put in a lot of hours for mediocre pay and at the end of a 4.5 year tenure, I was laid off with my whole department. Instead of wallowing in unemployed misery, I picked myself up and threw more time into doing hair. I didn't have a plan past the clients that were prebooked week over week. And I'm not kidding when I tell you it was a handful or less. It was ridiculous. I knew I needed a formula for success and I had been researching business development everyday while I was being paid by a corporation for basic customer service duties. Yes, I was double dutying and learning to thrive on my own during company time. Don't look so shocked, every success story probably did the same thing.

So my success story began as an egotistical stylist at 18. What I thought was the top of my career at 22, I was hastily let go and lost all but ONE of my clients. I had a handful of numbers, I contacted the ones I could and only retained one male client. I gave it the college try for 8 months at a new salon and gave it up when I got the eviction notice.

Quickly, with a toddler in tow, and the help of his father, I landed an interview with his company, got the job and quit hair for about 5 years. It was great pay, we bought a house, new car loans, good credit scores. The caveat? Following rules that had me putting the health of my children on the back burner. Seriously, I couldn't take off work to take my son to the emergency room over a pesky cough. My Mother stepped in, and an hour after getting there, she called to tell me my little one had Croup, had to be held down for a breathing treatment and was sobbing so hard, his little body was jarring as he tried to catch his breath. That's not the call a Mother wants to hear.

I put an email into a manager, told the floor I was leaving and I headed to be with him at the hospital. I remember bringing the discharge paperwork with me to my job the next day, in case it was a matter of being fired. It was very likely but I was tired of playing the anxiety game. A year or so later, I was laid off anyway.

No matter what career you're in, you face these risks the same as I did. When you work for a company, you essentially are at the mercy of whether they make sustainable business decisions that keep you employed indefinitely. If you know you aren't making money in a place that you're absolutely passionate about, I want to inspire you to get there. Your career goals may align perfectly with working in a company. There are still things you can do daily, weekly and year over year to be an asset to that company. Sometimes, things come up and companies shift their efforts, cut the fat and jobs are lost. That's a risk of capitalism. Everyone is lightweight gambling their wages.

Would you love to be the one in control of your success? The unemployment rate ended at 3.7% in 2018, according to thebalance. I highly suggest you study employment trends for a better understanding of the mighty dollar. The site sources the ongoing trade policy as an indicator of future turbulence and that was exactly my gut feeling when our President announced tariffs on Chinese goods. I raised babies during the lead scares in toy imports so trust me, everyone needs checks and balances. I'm not an import/export expert, but it's easy to relate loss of goods with higher prices, and consumer skepticism in the economy. Scarcity and depression era behavior where our citizens hoard their money instead of freely spending to drive the economy upward.

The upside to that is definitely more American made goods and services. Those come with higher price tags, so Americans will be spending more, albeit, with better quality. Eventually, minimum wage will need to be increased, that will be another topic. The moral of this story ends with the 2018 GM layoff where more than 1500 employees lost their jobs in what Forbes is calling "Strategic Layoffs." In reality the company needed to free up capital for future health. Business protects itself not it's staff.

Be your own boss.

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