If you dont know who JMS (J. Michael Straczynski) is ... then that is a
shame. He is best known for writing and creating the SciFi series,
Babylon 5 but he does oh so much more than that. I became a fan of JMS
after becoming hooked on B5 (granted it took the urging of my soon-to-be
husband to give B5 a chance) and I have been following his work ever since.
Around October 1999, he started writing a weekly column at
Psycomic.com. He talks about many
things in his columns (past job experiences, current projects, feelings
about the holidays, really handy websites, etc) but he last column struck
a chord in me and compelled me to write a little story on the bulletin
boards there. Unfortunately, Psycomic.com
will be no more as of the end of January 2001. Until then, here is a link
to the column I responded to entitled:
Ships and Sales and Sealing Fate.
If that link doesn't work, the column basically talks about JMS' opinion
that if you are not working toward your ultimate DREAM then do what it
takes (no matter what the cost) to acheive it.
I don't usually do this but after reading this week's column, I felt compelled
to tell my little story of how JMS inspired me to get off my a$$ and do
something with my career. Perhaps he has read so many stories like this that
he is bored of them or perhaps my story isn't terribly noteworthy ... but
maybe you haven't. So, here I go anyway...
I have admired JMS for years and everytime I watch B5, read a Joe's Comic or
listen to the City of Dreams (just to name a few) I grow to appriciate his
work more and more. Sometimes, it boggles my mind to think about the amount
of stuff that bounces around in his head ... sometimes, I think how much he
reminds me of my best friend ... sometimes, I laugh at his wicked sense of
humor ... and sometimes, I am just in awe.
Anyway, a little over a year ago, I was in a job I totally hated and the only
thing that kept me working there were the people. I made some of my closest
friends while working at that job and it made it all worthwhile ... or at least
that is what I told myself. One day, after a particularly gruesome month of
working my a$$ off, it hit me how miserable I truely was. Through all of this,
a phrase kept repeating through my thoughts, "Find what excites you, and do it.
Follow your joy; the rest will take care of itself." Those words were from one
of JMS's numerous bulletin board postings that really stuck with me.
I made a pact with myself that I would try to follow those inspiring words of
advice. I started with my signature and used that phrase in all of my online
correspondance. Then, I wrote it down on a post-it note and put it on my
computer so I would see it day in and day out. It took a while for it to sink
in because months went by before I got off my "encountered suited butt" and
did anything. I was scared of taking that chance ... of reaching for the stars
... of not being good enough ... of well, almost everything. But, I had gotten
to that point were just about anything would be better than what I was doing.
So, I emailed a friend who worked at a company that I thought I might have a
chance at offering something to. Well, that one little email opened a whole
new path on my road of life. Less than a month later, I had a job that
offered a new and wonderful career for me. It was not my "perfect" or "ideal"
job (I am still not entirely sure if I know what that would be) but it was in
the field that I wanted (which I got with no previous professional work
experience) and about double my previous salary. I risked my job security, my
health benefits, my 401K savings, and most everthing ... but I got the one
thing I wanted most of all ... my happiness.
Yes, I took that gamble ... yes, it paid off in the end ... but I think even
if the financial situation did not work out as well as it did, I would still
be happy because my job fulfills me. Last year was not easy. I had to work
very hard to prove myself since I was hired on a trial basis with a 6-month
contract. There were many new expenses that compensated for the higher salary
(parking, changing health insurance three times, etc). A lot of things were
down right a pain in the a$$ but I was determined.
I will always be grateful for JMS for planting that seed and also proud of
myself for actually taking that chance. Sometimes, it is the small decisions
we make in life that end up being the most important ... but you will never
know unless you take those chances.