I graduated from college in the midst of a recession. With my bachelor’s degree in-hand, I moved back into my parents’ house and applied to every open position within a ten-mile radius. I accepted my first offer, working for minimum wage at local bowling alley. After a year of continued applications, I was offered an IT help desk position slightly more. It took over three years of job-hopping to land my first salaried position with benefits.
Throughout that period, I was frustrated. It felt as of my high education had been a waste of time, and I was upset that I wasn’t nudged towards the more employable hard sciences. I could have sat around waiting for a better opportunity, but I chose not to. If my education hadn’t provided me the skills I needed to secure a job, than I would have to go learn them and work my way up.
I was determined to make something of myself. I slowly came to realize that no one would do it for me.
I continually reminded myself that how you do anything is how you do everything. Our behaviors on a small scale are reflected in how we do things on a vast scale: the microcosm is reflected in the macrocosm.
“The moment you take responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life.”Hal Elrod
It took time to achieve my first salaried position. Within a year, I was able to afford to rent my own apartment. Within eight years, I was making six-figures. Any luck or good fortune was due to my positioning–I was alert and waiting for better opportunities.
I am reminded of an acquaintance who remained unemployed for several years after obtaining their master’s degree because they felt they were above stocking shelves or blending drinks. Three years later, they’ve given in and accepted a low-wage job. I can’t help but wonder how their life might be different had they built up some momentum and developed a variety of skills earlier.
Life isn’t always fair, but we were never promised it would be. When things go wrong, do you chose to adopt a victim mentality or a victor’s mindset? That’s the theme of today’s post on The Heart of the Matter.
A bit off-topic: I’m curious to know how you creatively resolved the “marriage challenge.” ~ Mark
I apologize, but I’m not sure what you’re referring to. What is the “marriage challenge”?
Being able to get married and keep the disability benefits?
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Ah, yes, thank you for asking, Mark! He spoke to the SSI and SSDI offices and there aren’t many options. If we were to marry, he would lose SSI and Medicare, but keep SSDI and could pay premiums to keep Medicaid. However, we would be on the hook for a $2,000/month prescription (currently pays $10) and his education ($175,000 to be paid by vocational rehabilitation). He’ll be starting his career in his mid-40s with no retirement savings, so we’d prefer not to take on the student debt. Marrying now rather than five years from now would cost us $300,000… which is hard to justify. It’s really an unfortunate system.
It’s obviously not a pro-social approach to people who could really use one. Have you considered doing everything that a marriage would involve, and simply skipping the last step: filing the certificate with the government? Surely, there must be some creative solution to bureaucratic boondoggle. ~ Mark
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It’s tricky, because if we or anyone we know “considers us” married, that’s as good as a marriage certificate when it comes to the government. But without saying or doing anything, we do consider ourselves as good as married. It will just be that much more special when we can actually go through with the formalities.
Well, it could happen that you will be able to go through with the formalities. It happened for this lady … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsQ6vy9PB08