We're so excited to share this multiple-part journal entry featuring some voices in our community!
By: Jessica Lee
Steve Jobs, successful and brilliant, said, “We believe people with passion can change the world for the better.” Then why do surveys show that less than a quarter of workers are passionate about their profession?
Every day, I go to work and feel joy bubbling inside me. Even on the hardest days, I still feel confident, knowing that this is the best job for me, that this is what I was made for. Looking around on social media, I see a lot of people complaining about hating their job, not knowing what to do with their career, feeling stuck. This hurt my heart, and I thought to myself I can’t be the only one who loves their job! So I asked around, checked up on some people, and found several who can easily say that their job is perfect for them.
I have interviewed people in the medical field, people in the education system, people who work from home, people with big dreams. You will see their past, their passions, and their careers differ from each other. Be encouraged by that. Everyone has different passions, and you’ve got to keep fighting until you find it.
Karina Patterson // Cosmetologist
My interest in hair, makeup, nails, and basically all things beauty started very young. I was 13 when I decided to start coloring my hair and experimenting with different styles, playing with makeup, and tapping into my girliest self. I remember my stylist at the time saying that I'd end up becoming a cosmetologist before I knew it, and she was right. When I graduated high school, I applied to 4 universities and got accepted to all 4! Nothing really drew me in, and I couldn't decide what it was that I would major in when the time came. I decided not to attend any, and pursue cosmetology. I signed up for classes last minute, and started school the next month. A lot of learning, hard work, and dedication went into my schooling. 9am-4:30pm, I would attend school and cut hair on the salon floor, and after going to school (which was equivalent to a full time job), I would work part time as a cashier from 5pm-11pm. My biggest challenge would have had to be overcoming my anxiety. I have extremely severe anxiety, and the thought of carrying on a conversation with a complete stranger terrified me. I had no idea what to talk about, how to make connections, or how to understand what my client was looking for, but eventually those skills developed. I started to find myself excited to work with people day to day. The customer/stylist interaction was what I began to love the most. Being able to meet new people every single day, all with different stories and life experience was something I started to crave. Not only that, but I could directly impact how they felt about themselves. Everyone loves to feel pampered, and I got to provide that! I got the satisfaction of a happy customer every single time. I graduated in September 2016, and began working in a salon shortly after. I decided to leave the salon because a full time job presented itself, and I couldn't pass up the wonderful opportunity. I still work for myself cutting hair, and my hope is to open my own salon one day. I love what I do, and I wouldn't change it for the world!
Mary Ashton // Teacher’s Assistant (3-6 year olds)
While assisting at a Montessori school in Pittsburgh, I decided to pursue my certification in Montessori. I fell in love. Now this year while studying I worked as a self-directed intern and essentially taught my own half-day class as a long-term substitute while one of our teachers was on maternity leave. During this time I also worked as an assistant in the afternoon. Now I work as an assistant to both morning and afternoon classrooms and love it! After studying early childhood education and realizing that I wasn't too jazzed about the public school system, I knew I wanted something a little different. I feel like Montessori offers a much more hands-on approach that fosters independence differently than I've ever seen in a classroom. When I walked in a classroom and children were working independently, asking for lessons, reading books at 4 years old (sometimes younger), caring for their classroom and selves, I knew this was what I wanted. It may have been the experience that I had in the public school that jaded me, but I didn't care! I was awestruck. There is a conviction in my heart to give children what I feel is best for them and in my opinion, Montessori is how I feel I can give that to them.
Aaron Lodato // Chef and Youth Ministry Leader
I actually do two things that are more than I could ever ask for. In 2011, I began attending what is now the University of Valley Forge for a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries. After my first semester and spending all of my graduation money, I realized I needed to start looking for a job so I applied to a few places and was hired at Wegmans. This is the first of my two jobs. I graduated in December of 2015 and then moved home, transferring to another Wegmans near my house. It was at this time that I began to do two things that I loved. I was promoted to being a chef at my new Wegmans thanks to my manager seeing potential in me and I began working heavily with the youth ministry called Marlton Youth Church (MYC) at my church. I love being a chef because food is what my family is all about, I'm half Greek and half Italian. It honestly was not something I was trying to do, but I am so happy doing it and growing in something that was previously just a hobby. I love working with MYC because doing ministry is what I felt I was made for. I'm working at my home church, and I have the opportunity to be part of a teaching rotation which allows me to speak to about 150 middle schoolers two times a month. I couldn't feel more alive, God has blessed me beyond belief and I can't think of anything else I could be doing with myself right now!
Haley Delcid // Dance Instructor
I began dancing when I was 2 1/2 years old, and I continued dancing until I graduated high school. I knew I wanted to be a dance instructor, because not only did I LOVE to dance, but I loved how influential my instructors were in my life. I felt that they played a large part in shaping who I was, and who I am to this day. I knew I wanted to make an impact exactly like that! I've had to overcome direct challenges in dealing with difficult students and parents, and of course facing my own insecurities of feeling like I didn't have enough education (or as much as other instructors at the studio). This is my eighth year teaching and the past 4 years I've had anywhere from 7-8 classes per week. I absolutely love investing in my students, getting to see them grow and advance. I LOVE the studio director! She is an incredible employer, I'm convinced there is no one as great as her! She entered my life as an instructor, and became my employer, and now I can honestly say she's one of my closest friends! I have grown to love not only her, but her family and her business, and I love assisting in any way possible. It's very rewarding to be in an environment that changes so many lives for the better and gives them a great dance education.