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I had a great career by some people's definition, but not by mine. I worked for a large, "stable" company, in a salaried position with full benefits....But I wanted more.
My complaints were the same as most: underpaid, underemployed, and at one point I even had a manager who refused to speak to me. She would silently walk by my desk, go into her office and email me. When she failed to give me a performance review I knew I had to leave. No performance review meant no argument for a promotion. Nothing I was doing was being documented!
There was such an overwhelming sense of dread going in to work. I wrote the word "temporary" on a post-it note and stuck it on my computer screen. I used up most of my vacation days. But instead of going on vacation, I spread them out and used them one at a time for what I called "mental days". I remember telling my family member "This ain't living". My coworker and I would go to the park every day at lunch and they would have to give me a pep talk so that I would actually go back and finish out the day. I couldn't imagine being there for years.
I knew what I wanted, I wanted a new job with a new organization. I wanted progress. I wanted to climb the ladder of success that everybody talks about.
So I put a picture of a woman in a business suit climbing a ladder on my vision board... It worked!
A short time later I got an interview with the federal government. And then they made me an offer!! YES! But that's not all. See, I knew nothing about the government setup, I had never worked in that area and didn't know anyone else who had. I had no idea that they refer to their positions as "Career Ladder Positions" and each year you get a "step increase". I was floored.
The position I accepted was just what I needed at the time. I was there for a couple of years, and every every year I was there... I got a promotion.
My intent was simple. I wanted to travel all over the world so I placed a picture of an airplane circling the globe on my vision board. Before I knew it (a year later) I was on my first flight to another continent, ASIA! The opportunity completely fell into my lap...and it was Free.
At the time my brother was in a leadership program at the company he works for. As a part of the program, every six months, for two years, he rotated to a different area of the organization. This company has an office in Singapore which is in Southeast Asia. When my brother found out about the Singapore office he told me all about it. I encouraged him to show interest in rotating there for six months. He did. They agreed. And he moved. We later found out that the company would pay for the flight of a family member to visit him while he was there. I was that family member!
To say it was a trip of a lifetime would be an understatement. I spent 7 days in Singapore and the casual mention of Indonesia by my brother's coworker led us to book a last minute trip to Bali. Little did I know this was only the beginning. The flier miles that I accumulated from the trip to Asia combined with the flier miles I accumulated from traveling for work gave me the ability to buy another flight for a highly discounted price. Six months after my trip to Asia I traveled to Durban, South Africa!
Impressed with my success in traveling with frequent flier miles I got the idea to start paying very close attention to airline promotions that let you buy miles. I quickly realized that I could buy miles during the double miles promotion deals and it would cost less than actually outright buying a ticket for a flight. And that is what I did. Six months after that, I traveled to Paris, France!
I'm from a very small town in Alabama, so small that there are no traffic lights and no stores. I do not know anyone who has traveled like this. I am truly grateful for the opportunity. In my case I think it was good that I was generic with my request. I could have never picked the locations that I had the opportunity to visit.
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