As the clock struck midnight on my 40th birthday three years ago, I should have been filled with anticipation of a phenomenal new chapter. Instead, I wondered when the years of playing catch up would end. Like many I have made several mistakes in my lifetime. Unfortunately for me I also spent a lot of time playing catch up, and trying to fix mistakes of the previous years.
It's sad but it took years before I realised this was the cause of certain chaotic circumstances in my life. Frankly stated, I was so naive to specific destructive patterns not once did it occur to me I was playing a major part in the foolishness.
Instead I had a tendency to play victim. In other words, questioning God as to why he was allowing these things to happen in my life. If he's such a loving and caring person then why isn't he saving me from the madness? I was so set on wondering why he didn't help; I completely forgot God gave man free will. Silly huh!
Not once during these years did I stop and evaluate the forces behind the negativity I was allowing into my life. It wasn't until I was sitting in a cubical of a dead end temp job that I began to face some hard facts. Basically, I was nowhere near where I wanted to and/or should be at this point in my life. Instead I had allowed my years of being complacent to cause me to fall behind. It was painful to face but once the light bulb went off, I was finally able to break free and move forward to productive chapters in my life. Most importantly, I was able to see the light in certain areas needing improvement the most.
For starters, my relationships were always considered somewhat destructive. It all began on that beautiful day in 1980. I met someone who I thought would be the love of my life, someone I would be with forever. Unfortunately, things didn't work out that way and I wasted years chasing someone that didn't want to be caught. At least not by me.
It was during these years I allowed myself to become a victim of low self-esteem. Notice the key word is ALLOWED. For years I blamed this person for the chaotic circumstances that occurred during our time together, but at the end of the day I had to own up to my part in the madness. Meaning, once I knew the type of person I was dealing with, I could have easily left the situation. With all the women chasing him he could have cared less if I was around. Unfortunately, my desperation of holding on to at this point a non-existent relationship caused me to falter. For this reason, I spent years trying to regain my self-esteem and mentally getting to the point where I would no longer allow anyone to walk over me. A place where I not only knew what I wanted but would/would not accept. PLAYING CATCH UP.
Fast forward a few years and hear I stood a college student. Upon graduating from Grambling State University (GO TIGERS) life began in the corporate sector, or close to it. In an effort to gain immediate employment I took temp assignments while determining my next move. The initial plan was temping, but two months turned into two years on the temp wheel. Now here I sit looking for permanent employment while facing the constant age old question, "why have you been temping for two years?'. I left interview after interview feeling like an unfocused failure, until I decided to get rid of the pity party and start moving. The time I wasted in the temp pool could have been used to establish myself within a Fortune 500 Corporation.
If these things weren't enough, I learned the hard way credit can affect your life in more ways than one. The college years were a hotbed of credit galore among other things. Fresh out of high school, it seems every credit card I applied for was automatically approved. The years of careless spending were a boatload of fun until graduation set in. It was at this point the credit card debt began to mount leading to delinquent and closed accounts, as well as low FICO scores. Even worse, when applying for certain employment opportunities I was turned down due to credit. For this reason I spent years fixing past credit mistakes that could have easily been avoided. PLAYING CATCH UP.
It has been a long road for me but the following lessons have gotten me through in the end.
1. Life is short. When you see potential mistakes being made correct them immediately, and continue to push forward. There is nothing worse than letting things fester and not accepting accountability.
2. Understand life happens. If you find yourself playing catch up understand we all make mistakes, and things will happen for a reason. It will take time but things will be ok. Therefore, do not beat yourself up over the pitfall you find yourself in. Instead, get moving with a solid plan, ask God for forgiveness and above all forgive yourself.
3. Love really is free. Relationships should be a 50-50 partnership. If you find yourself giving 99% and getting almost nothing, or anything at all in return, it's time to re-evaluate this situation. For example, if you're lucky enough to see this person twice a month and you both live in the same city, something is seriously wrong with this picture. Especially if your significant other has a car and can drive to your place of residency at their leisure.
4. Get off the temp merry-go-round. In this chaotic job market it's easy to begin temping as a means of gaining income. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you understand it's just TEMPORARY. Therefore, it's imperative you have a solid strategy of finding a permanent job before becoming complacent. In my case I became too comfortable with going to a job every day, and completely lost sight of this fact this was a short term solution to a permanent need. For this reason I would advise anyone to take the following steps: (A) Continue to seek permanent employment while on a particular assignment. Until HR hands you a stack of on-boarding paperwork that is not your employer the temp agency is.
Therefore, do your job but by no means get too comfortable. (B) Reach out to any current contacts that might know of potential openings, and let them know you're on the market. Resumes are great but sometimes it can boil down to who you know also. Lastly (C), if a permanent job does present itself, do the right thing and provide them with (7) days' notice. This is the standard when dealing with a staffing agency, and it leaves them with a good taste in their mouth if years down the line you must come back.
5. Know your FICO. Good credit is key in today's society, but it's also understandable some people will fall short in this area. For this reason, its imperative a person knows exactly where they stand in this matter. A good first start is obtaining your credit report from all three agencies, and doing a thorough evaluation. In other words, make sure nothing is on record that shouldn't be and dispute any discrepancies. Second, contact a financial advisor regarding your current situation to form a solution that is feasible at this point.