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A LOT that has been on my mind lately…

This was an email I sent out to a couple groups that I thought would be equally beneficial to post here.

Have several thought processes going on right now, so bear with me…

I got married to a military guy in February of 2002. He was oversees literally half of the first four years of our marriage. Coinciding with that: I have bipolar disorder, and had been in the hospital 5 times in a year and a half from October 2002 to April 2004. I quit working in May of 2002 and didn’t get a “job” again until late 2006, and struggled to hold one down. It wasn’t until I started working at Panera in September of 2008 that I actually managed to hold down a job, and I’ve been there ever since. I’m way over-qualified for the work, but fell in love with it to the point of wanting to become a manager.

I became a [Passion Parties] consultant in February of 2006, right before we moved to another state as expected. My idea was to get my kit before we moved, and do my launch after we got to North Carolina. The town we lived in was full of churches, and I was having trouble getting leads on my own. I was also just starting a new cocktail of bipolar meds, and was finally starting to come out of my long, dark depression. I wasn’t exactly the most motivated to get out on the street to find party leads. I’m very quiet and reserved, an introvert to the core, and the thought of walking up to some random person and trying to persuade them to give me their info terrified me. And it still does.

I have been in the need of a steady job since my husband finished his schooling in late 2007. My inability to work for 5 years due to my bipolar completely depleted everything we’d saved while he was enlisted. We also moved a lot as things carried on. I got my kit in Georgia, right before moving to Mooresville, NC in April of 2006 for Dave to go to school to become a mechanic. In January 2008, after his schooling had been completed, he took a job in Ft. Bragg, NC as a contractor working on military vehicles. He worked there for only 3 months before being included in a huge layoff. In the beginning of May, our house got broken into and my laptop was included in the items taken. At the end of the month, Dave’s father passed away. Shortly after that, we found out the house we were renting was being foreclosed on, because the couple who owned it were going through a nasty divorce and decided not to pay the mortgage. In August, we moved to the Quad Cities, on the Illinois side, so we could take care of things with his father’s estate. We decided to buy a house in January 2009, and plan to stay at least long enough to avoid paying back the $8,000 first time home buyer’s tax credit. After that, there’s a possibility of moving back to North Carolina.

During all that time mentioned in the last paragraph, I had my Parties on the back burner. We needed guaranteed steady income, on both our parts. I had so much difficulty getting my business launched, I only took a few parties here and there and usually paid out of my own pocket to guarantee I didn’t become inactive, after battling with that for a while as well.

I’ve recently started picking up more parties than usual, but am still terrified to go out there and get them on my own.

And I’m uncertain about things at Panera now.

I love working there, and had so desired to work towards management. I need full time hours there for the hours, not the benefits. But those two things go hand in hand. Corporate laid it down a few weeks ago that if I don’t start working at least 36 hours a week, they’ll put me back to part time. It wasn’t my fault I hadn’t been getting my hours, but at least at that point I knew I’d get them.

It’s not an easy job, it’s very physically demanding, involves regular heavy lifting, and I sweat a lot for each paycheck. But I can’t imagine my days not being there, not seeing the customer’s I’ve grown to think of as more than just customers or acquaintances. The work is hard, but at least when I get paid I know I’ve earned it.

For the most part, I get along with all my coworkers and management. There’s one manager I’ve felt from the beginning has had it out for me, and even though we mostly get along I can’t shake that feeling. Yesterday I was sick but told him I didn’t want to go home early, but he sent me home anyway. Today I burned myself with coffee, and instead of just allowing me some time to pull myself together, he sent me home.

I’ve been struggling all along to get my hours, and a large part of that has been because of requesting off for the few parties here and there I have gotten. Even though the lady who does the scheduling is like a mom to me and encourages me to do my parties, I feel like the more parties I try to do the more I get screwed on my hours for whatever reason.

They keep hiring new people to work there, even though a lot of the people currently there complain about not getting their hours. That was me for a long time until the corporate crack-down on my hours, and I’m sure it’ll be me again if I can’t stick out my shifts.

I have gone through a lot of personal growth to keep my job at Panera, and there have been a LOT of times I’ve questioned whether or not it was what I really wanted to do. Up until now, I have always decided that, for whatever reason, it was what I wanted to do. Even now, as I’m writing all this out in hopes of getting feedback, I’m still leaning towards becoming a manager there. But if I were to decide that, my Parties would never truly be on the front burner. In order to be a desirable manager, I have to have open availability, which is something I don’t really have as long as I continue to do my parties.

My husband gets paid more than twice hourly as me, but even with that he doesn’t get guaranteed hours due to the industry, so our paychecks lately haven’t been all too good. I was also out of work all of December due to still ongoing stomach issues, and racked up way too much in medical bills. We only have our heads above water now due to a couple parties that I’ve been able to squeeze in, and a check from the military for retroactive stop-loss pay. And I need a new car, mine is 10 years old and has worn and torn itself out.

I know that an average party can make me more money than I make in a week at Panera, and a good party can make me more money than an entire paycheck from Panera.

I also know that I’m highly qualified for an office job if I so desired.

I have a decision to make, and there seem to be 3 options. 1) Stay at Panera and continue with my dream of management despite the uncertainty of late. 2) Find an office job so I can continue having a guaranteed paycheck, and hopefully a larger one than I’m getting now at Panera. 3) Go strictly part time at Panera, focus on my Parties, and set a goal so I can have consistently 4 parties a month and quit my job altogether.

I’ve tried option 3 before, when I was still having problems with my bipolar disorder. And it didn’t really work out to my benefit. If I were to choose that option, I’d need someone constantly riding my tail, providing support, encouragement, motivation, and being hard on me when I needed it, just so I could achieve the self growth needed to get out there and take control of my business and be my own boss. I’m too terrified of going out there right now, walking up to people I don’t know to try and get their info so I can try and persuade them to do a party. The only people I know in this town are coworkers and customers from Panera, so anything I do to get my parties afloat is basically from scratch. I’ve been doing this for over 4 years, and I still haven’t the slightest idea how, for ME, to get out there and DO IT.

There’s a huge part of me who wants to choose option 1, because I fell in love with working there. There’s another huge part of me who wants to choose option 3, because it makes so much more sense when you think of the numbers (money). And option 2 would only be to give up on option 1 and 3 together… and achieve a higher paycheck then option 1 so I could get a car.

So, I have to decide, and that’s on me… but I would love some feedback. Particularly, how I could succeed if I chose option 3.

If you read all that, thanks for your time… and I hope to hear back from you!

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