Discover more from Nourish Me
On uncertainties and unknowns
Plus, is everyone a better writer than me? And other existential questions
But this is not one of those “I quit my job to pursue my lifelong dream” kind of story. Rather, it’s one of those “I quit my job and I have no idea what’s next” kind of story.
First, let me back up and tell you how I became an accountant.
I came into accounting many years ago because I had worked in the finance sector as a bank teller. One day, while I was chatting with a former boss, he told me that I would make a good accountant. At the time, I was going back to school for some accounting courses because I figured I needed some specific knowledge in my background other than “customer service,” something solid that can translate into a real salary beyond the meager $12/hour I was making. Yes, my friends. I did the “Asian thing,” which is where you give in to other people’s opinions and declarations about what you should do career-wise and opt for the option that seems to be the most stable. I became a walking cliché.
Fast forward to this conversation with my old boss, a nice guy even though he played favorites. (I don’t think I was one of his favorites). He told me that I was a very detail oriented person, someone with the ability to plan ahead, that I cared a lot about accuracy and integrity of financial information, that I was very organized, and able to look beyond numbers to find nuances and solve problems. That I understood the precarious nature of banking and finance. All of this was true of course, and I can say that with his opinion in mind I thought I would be a good accountant.
You’d think that’s what I did next but nope, I didn’t. I stayed in banking for a while and eventually quit altogether in November 2014 with no idea what to do next other than spend time with my daughter, who was a year and a half at that time. So I spent time with my daughter, and that time turned out to be so valuable to me that I never regretted it at all. (Never mind the fact that I was not in a good financial situation. My husband was still in school and working part time…yeah.)
Eventually I went back to work but I never went back to banking. Then summer of 2016 came along and I got a job as an accounting assistant for the same university that I had attended and graduated from. It felt like a dream come true! Somebody actually gave me a chance. I think I did okay but a year later, I felt restless and confused again. What the heck do I do now, I asked myself.
You can see where this is going.
I left that job for a higher paying job where I was bored 80% of the time. I spent the other 20% of the time caught up in the drama and glory of working for a high end successful company. (Free meals, endless cappuccinos and the most beautiful city view ever…I mean, come on). I wondered if I truly belonged there. I also wondered why they were paying me this much money to do almost nothing. But I digress.
It’s not surprising then that I was laid off during the beginning of the pandemic. To be honest, it felt like I was relieved from a burden. I didn’t have the audacity to quit myself, so I let chance take over.
I always knew that accounting wasn’t exactly the right fit for me. But I justified it by telling myself I’d be happier if I simply focused on getting better at it. Accounting is a lucrative career (supposedly) and besides, every company needs an accountant. I’d be happier if I just do what I’m supposed to do.
But doing what you’re supposed to isn’t going to make you happy if it’s not a good fit for you.
You’re probably wondering: what does happiness and fit have to do with a career?
I think it has everything to do with a career. Sure, you don’t have to be happy all the time with your job, but you should at least feel that this thing you’re doing is something that excites you and challenges you at the same time. You should be able to see more opportunities on the horizon.
With accounting, I didn’t see any of it. With writing, I can.
“Many of us have been conditioned to see happiness as tied to certain big milestones in life, such as finding a partner, getting a promotion, buying a house, having a child,” wrote Ingrid Fetell Lee. “We tell ourselves that securing these things will complete the puzzle and give us our “happily ever after.” But the reality is, we’re not always especially good at predicting what will make us happy.”
I’ve spent the past five years cultivating my portfolio. But I’ve spent the past few months comparing myself to others. I go through these “stages” (or mental health blocks) where I begin to compare myself. Just on Substack alone, I see an incredible selection of writers, poets and storytellers and every time I read something fantastic, it brings me down a spiral where I’d think, “Is everyone on the internet a better writer than me? What can I possibly offer that is different than what everyone else is doing?”
The mathematician John Allen Paulos once wrote, “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is. Knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is. Knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” - John Allen Paulos
Perhaps there is a connection between comparison and uncertainty after all. To me, comparison is a way to measure oneself against others, something humans have always done to survive. But uncertainty has always been a part of our lives too. Comparison can lead to misery but it can also be eye-opening. Even though I’m overwhelmed by all the talent I see online, it also makes me think, “Wow, I can learn so much from these people!” The result will only help me become a better person and a better writer.
Soon, I’ll get out of my slump, I’m sure. In the meantime, I’m writing, editing, and figuring it out as I go along.
Food (and non-food) bits
As you’ve probably noticed, June was a busy month for me. As I prepared to leave my job, I also did A LOT of pitching and a lot of writing, mainly for The Takeout (their editors are awesome, btw). Here’s a few recent ones I wrote:
The breakfast aisle is so underrated. I feel like it has more uses than just breakfast. Here’s how you can take better advantage of it.
Speaking of breakfast, EGGDROP sandwiches are the hottest thing in South Korea. But I think they mainly eat it for lunch. Still, eggs are my favorite breakfast item. Here’s how EGGDROP became so hot.
Have you heard? The Gilmore Girls Cookbook just came out, along with hundreds of others based on popular TV shows and/or movies. I wrote about its proliferation here.
Qdoba is an interesting fast casual chain…interesting because they just released some bling-bling products. I’m going to stop right here and let you read for yourself.
If you’ve got at least half hour or ten free hours on your hands, why not check out these awesome YouTube food channels filled with delicious things? I curated a list of my favorites.
I tried a bunch of frozen pizzas and reported back on it. Not surprisingly, DiGiorno’s made the top of the list. I’m sorry, but cauliflower pizza—you’re going to have to do better.
Ever wondered what probiotic sodas can do for your gut health? I’ve got the answer for you in this article. (Hint: it’s not what it’s hyped up to be.)
Do you like jigsaw puzzles as much as I do? I’m hoping someone out there is so we can start a jigsaw puzzle club.
In case you missed it…
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