Remove what robs you

Before today’s post gets under way, I just wanted to give a quick shout to all of the haters who posted their uplifting comments (anonymously, of course) on Friday’s post.
I’ve been sick lately, so that really cheered me up! Thanks guys!


The first job I had out of college was a bartender. It wasn’t exactly my number one career choice, but I needed money (fast!) to pay for the production of my first book.

Besides, how hard could bartending be, right?

Well, let me tell you how terrible I was: in addition to such blunders as “dropping chunks of cork into a customer’s Merlot” and “accidentally shattering four pint glasses in front of the District Manager,” I was SO bad, that I actually had to consult the Mix Manual to find out what was in a Jack & Coke.

Which made me pretty much the worst bartender in the history of bartenders.

Still, every night I slaved away. And whether I was hurrying around trying to serve drunken customers or frustratingly scraping ABC gum off the underside of the bar, there was only one thought running through my mind:

What the hell am I doing here?! I’ve GOT to get this book done…

I lasted six weeks. (I guess the manager made his first mistake when he hired a bartender who didn’t drink!) And I remember during my exit interview, Clyde said, “Look Scott, it’s just not working out. I’m sure you’ll go on to bigger and better things.”

He was wrong.

Two months later I started my second job out of college as a floor salesman at a discount furniture store. Worst job I ever had in my life. Complaining customers. Pain in ass boss. No money. Killed my lower back.

I lasted a year. And whether I was desperately attempting to sell a $500 loveseat to a family with three crying children or hiding in the men’s bathroom pretending to have a diarrhea so I wouldn’t have to work, there was only one thought I running through my mind:

What the hell am I doing here?! I just want to go home and check my email…

Then, in the summer of 2003, two things happened:

1) I quit my job at the furniture store.
2) I decided to pursue writing books and giving speeches full time.

Unfortunately, I learned that there is VERY little money in this industry when you first start out. Especially if:

• You’re 23 years old
• You have no work experience
• You’re just some guy who walks around wearing a nametag 24-7 to make people friendlier

So, while pursuing my writing/speaking career full time, I took a nights/weekends position as a valet parker at the Ritz Carlton.

This job wasn’t nearly as bad as bartending or slinging couches: the money was good, the networking opportunities were excellent and Ritz Carlton ended up being an awesome company to work for.

I lasted two years. (Maybe it would’ve helped if I knew how to drive stick!) Still, I sucked it up; whether I was running full speed for two straight hours during an 80-car wedding in the 105-degree heat, or standing by the lobby door until 2 AM layered in every piece of clothing I had during the biting cold of a St. Louis January.

And the funny thing is, just like every other job I’d held since college, that same thought kept running through my mind:

What the hell am I doing here?! I should be on the phones trying to book speeches…

Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore.

I knew that every minute I’d spent mixing drinks, selling couches or parking cars was robbing me of:

• My true talent
• Chances to further my career
• Time needed to grow my business
• Opportunities to make a name for myself

So, I made a crucial decision. A decision that everyone, at some point in their career, needs to make:

Remove what robs you, embrace what excites you.

And I never looked back. Best professional decision I ever made.

Look: be fair to yourself. Be fair to your talents and gifts. Remove what robs you.

And if you ever find yourself shaking your head and saying, “What the hell am I doing here?!”

…then you’re on the right track.

What job used to rob you?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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