“As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can: by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we’ve been given.” – Mary Lou Retton
Gymnastics has always been my passion, and anyone who knows me can attest to that. I grew up doing it & even though I wasn’t the cream of the crop and struggled to stay away from athlete “burn out,” I could never stray away from the sport.
So when I got a call a month before graduation asking me to coach competitive levels 4 and 5, I knew I wanted to be on board. But amidst my happiness that I had at least something to do and could continue to be in the gymnastics gym where I grew up, there were plenty of haters.
“You’ll get stuck there, don’t take it.”
“You paid thousands for your journalism degree, find something that uses it.”
“You won’t make enough money.”
I let those words get to me, and questioned my choice to take the job. I (and my parents) did spend thousands on getting a college degree, and I did have a serious passion or news, writing, and social media. But there was something so appealing about working with kids who were in the exact same spot that I was in 10, 11, 12 years ago. I wanted to work with them, teach them what my coaches taught me, and help guide them into dedicated and talented gymnasts and even better people.
So far, this job is treating me great. The kids all have different personalities, but all have the same love for gymnastics that I did. Our first competition is November 2, so things are busy in the gym learning new routines and perfecting our skills and our form. It can sometimes be a challenge dealing with disgruntled or frustrated parents, but every day I leave the gym loving what I do. I’m “underemployed,” and I’m very aware of this. My small paycheck, my life living at home, my weird, night hours, and my inability to shop or go out very often reminds me of this every day. Gymnastics is weekend and night hours (the kids are in school until 3ish) so finding another job is what I have to do, but staying motivated can be hard at times. But as I blog and continue to write, I’m reminded why I went to school as a journalism major and I become more and more determined to get a salaried job each day.
I in no way regret taking an hourly pay, non-journalism job after school. I do what I love and I always look forward to going to work. I know people who just take a sales or recruiting job out of college simply because it pays the bills, but it doesn’t make them happy and isn’t what they really wanted to do. Sure, gymnastics coaching isn’t my career goal, but I love it and I look forward to going to my job every day, and for that, I am grateful. I’m using this opportunity to fine-tune my transferable skills, including good communication, being detail-oriented, working on a team, and being a good self-starter.
The moral of my story? Follow your heart when it comes to jobs and life. Do what will make YOU happy, not your friends, your mom, your dad, or your significant other. You have 40, 50 years to work in your chosen field. There is no “right” or “chosen” path you have to take in life, and no one can tell you what you have to or can’t do. Money is nice and you’re going to need it to get insurance, feed yourself and the like, but it sure as heck doesn’t create a happy life.
As long as you stay motivated and stay hungry, working a job that makes you feel good for a little while never hurt anyone Except maybe your wallet.