Moving On: When You Learn Lessons You Didn’t Know You Needed

Wow! Brittany and David moved to Knoxville! I wonder how they’re doing. I haven’t heard from them since they moved.

Here’s a check in.

You haven’t heard from us because we have been STRUGGLING.

Before we moved at the beginning of June, I accepted a job at Elavon Merchant Services to answer phones for $15/hour full-time. Sweet gig.

I had already scheduled a second interview with Aflac for the following Monday, so I figured, “what the heck? might as well go even though I know I’m not going to take the job.” Man, in those interviews, it sounded so great. All the money you could ever want. A simple plan to follow in order to achieve your goals. I weighed the pros and cons, and eventually the potential for enough money to pay off student loans and help my mom fix up her house and donate to all of the charities I wanted won out. I chose to go with Aflac, so I emailed the HR person at Elavon the night before I was supposed to start to tell her I wouldn’t be working for them. (Rookie mistake, I know, but past Brittany had high hopes.)

A job as an Aflac sales agent probably would be great to someone who is already financially stable, knows people in the area, has health insurance through a spouse’s work, and has a super reliable car and plenty of money for gas.

I am none of those things. None. I held out that if I just kept following the plan we put together, eventually the money would come. I held out for a month. No money. Not even a penny. I spent almost $200 in gas money, had to borrow money to pay our month’s bills, and it was an all-around horrible situation for me.

On top of the financial struggles, I also fell into probably the deepest depression I’ve ever experienced. For people who knew me right before we moved, I was in a habit of going to the gym at least 6 days a week. I loved it. I felt so weird if I didn’t exercise. I exercised, ate healthy foods, and splurged on unhealthy things when my brain said we should. After I started this job, however, we didn’t have money for food. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the gym or run or anything. I worked and I prepared for the next day’s work. I followed the plan. I kept working even though everything in me wanted to give up. I wasn’t eating regularly. I couldn’t bring myself to eat breakfast anymore, even though I’ve always been a breakfast person. My stomach was constantly in knots. By the time lunch came around, I didn’t have food to bring with me to eat nor did we have the money for me to eat out like most of the other Aflac agents do. I would bring a Clif Bar in my bag, but most days I wouldn’t eat it—if I don’t eat it today, then that’s one less I have to buy to eat this week. I lost 10 pounds in less than a month. I felt horrible.

I was alone all day. In my car. Driving around wasting gas. Sure I technically talked to 15-20 business owners each day, but when most of these people have been taught to do everything they can to keep salespeople out, you are really alone. Sales just isn’t for everyone, and maybe I’m just soft-skinned and I gave up to quickly, but it did not make me happy.

One of the things I admired about the company, though, is how dedicated their agents were. These people believe so much in their company that they become “the Aflac guy” who just can’t stop telling people about all of the great things the company does and what it can do for them. They are always talking about it. Everyone in their circle knows that if they hear of anyone needing insurance, they can send them to that person.

That is not who I want to be. I want to believe in something that strongly, but I don’t necessarily want it to be my work. I don’t think I have enough stamina to be “the Aflac guy.” I prefer to draw the work/play line and leave work at work. In that job, however, work was everywhere. In my car, on my personal computer, my cell phone. Maybe that was why I burned out so quickly. Maybe that’s just not for me.

So here I am: unemployed, super poor, but honestly, happier. Last Friday as I was getting ready for my last Aflac meeting, I was dancing and singing as I got ready. I went to the gym that morning. I even put on makeup. It was exhilarating. Do I wish I had started looking for jobs two weeks ago? Yeah, kind of. Do I wish I had just stuck with the Elavon job in the first place? Yeah, kind of. BUT I think God had me go this route on purpose. I have shed so many tears and prayed so many prayers for me to see the way I’m supposed to go, and He has done that for me. We have found a great church with great people. We have the support of so many friends and loved ones. I have learned so much from this experience.

Now we begin the process of getting back on our feet. We’re going to be just fine. It’s gonna take time and lots of frugality, but hey, at least we will both have steady paychecks once I get a new job.

(Also we would really appreciate prayers <3)