Don’t Settle for Less; Settle for Less Money

I would assume that many of you have had an internship, have an internship currently, or will have an internship in the future. I fall into the “have an internship currently” category. Personally, at this point in my life, I am happier than I’ve ever been. Coming into this summer, there has been a definite shift in me and I think I’ve figured out why.

At the end of April, I quit my job that I had held for a year and was not fond of at all. I was working at a small medical device company as a Quality Coordinator. This sounds fine, right? Well, no, that’s not right—I was never really trained in because, when they hired me, I was the only employee in the quality department. Having no experience in this field (which the company fully knew in the interview), I seemed to be hired to scrounge around and figure it out. I was up to the challenge, but alarmed that there was no training or development offered to me. I was so disgruntled everyday because no one gave—pardon my French—two shits about me being there and not having any experience. I basically ended up sitting around all day trying to teach myself, which was a little complicated because regulatory/quality work is not always (or ever) a piece of cake.

That job had to come to an end, but I wanted to stick it out for at least a year so it wouldn’t look bad on my résumé. In March, I had the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend I hadn’t seen in probably five years. We caught each other up on our lives and he told me about a business he started (with someone else I know!) called Shema.

Shema is a benefit corporation and ethical clothing manufacturer that is working to alleviate poverty and empower women who have previously been enslaved and/or trafficked. Their goal is to plant 25 sewing co-ops in S.E. Asia in the next 5 years that will employ these vulnerable women so that they do not have to return to selling themselves (as many rescued survivors do). These sewing co-ops are not a means to an end, but rather a springboard into the future, whether that be education or other job opportunities.

The reason I’m telling you all of this is because I was offered an internship at Shema in March! After learning more about the opportunity, there was no way I couldn’t jump on it! So, here I am now: I’m their social media/communication intern this summer. I quit my decently paying job for an unpaid internship (with some criticism from family and friends). So, why did I do it?

I felt that Shema was where I was supposed to be. The job description consists of everything I’ve had recurring thoughts about wanting to do or wanting to learn in the past 8 months (i.e. social media, writing, photography, videography, etc.) There is plenty of opportunity for all of these things. However, the bigger reason I wanted to do this internship was because I wanted to do something that I found meaning in and that would impact the world around me. I was feeling extremely burnt out at my other job because I wasn’t utilizing my strengths and I wasn’t excited about their mission/company.

With sacrificing my income, I am happier than ever because I’m doing something that is life-giving (to me); I am not settling at my other job anymore just because it paid the bills. Now, I understand that this can be a lot more complicated for other people—it definitely was complicated for me too, but I encourage you to understand your strengths and your weaknesses and focus on strengthening your strengths! Maybe this is in regard to work or major at school or whatever it may be, but I’m telling you: do something that is challenging (strengthen your strengths) but not suffocating (like my other job was because I was trying to exercise my weaknesses).

In the words of Ramon Pastrano (ImpactLives CEO and strengths-based leadership trainer), “There is no such thing as a well-rounded person, but rather strong people that make a well-rounded team.”

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8 thoughts on “Don’t Settle for Less; Settle for Less Money

  1. Your post is inspirational! I do wish I would have been more advantageous a few years back to really reach for what I hoped to do! I know there is still time, but it is a little more unnerving when I have a little one relying on me to make the ends meet. 🙂 I’m excited for your adventure and hope this turns out to be an amazing life-long journey!

    1. Thanks for the comment Keri! Yes, it does get more complicated when you throw a family into the mix, but there is definitely still time. I hope you find something that you love and that it’s flexible too!

  2. This post really resonates with me right now. I am reaching the same breaking point where I am just done working at a job I don’t like and pursuing money. I just want to do something I love and I am not sure what that is but it sure isn’t working at the YMCA dealing with people who don’t want to pay their bills. Good for you for being able to pursue your passion. I believe that money will come with doing something you love. Unfortunately, we just don’t know when or how.

    1. Thanks for the comment Yer! I’m not saying it is easy, as I worry about money everyday. However, I can honestly tell you that I am the happiest I’ve been in a while because I am doing something that I care about. I think that’s the key. I hope you find that something that you really care about!

  3. Thank you for sharing about Shema! Their idea of using sewing co-ops to help empower women and give them jobs … an escape from trafficking … is so great! I haven’t heard of Shema before, but I’ll definitely have to follow their story.

    Congratulations on your internship with them. I’ve found that it’s much better to be passionate about what you do, and yet be poor, than to work a job that pays a lot but makes you miserable. Life shouldn’t be about working enough to pay the bills; it should be about learning via others, expanding yourself, and helping promote the things you believe in. I’m sorry to hear other people have criticized you for your choice, but I think a lot of people believe that having a paid job and making lots of money is the standard, traditional way to live.

    Keep following your dreams! Being happy is all that matters. 🙂

    1. Hi Anna! Thank you for your comment and insights! I completely agree–we should all be doing things that give us life and meaning. That is far more valuable than money. Please do follow our story on Instagram and Facebook (“shema.global”). 🙂

  4. This is a beautiful post. Working in your passion is the best job in the world and you’ll never work a day in your life when you do it because it feeds your soul. Congratulations to you!

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