How Beyoncé Changed My Life

I’ve recently become more stressed than usual about my finances. This is most likely because I’m going to have to start paying some of my student loans next month, and also because I had an expensive post-Halloween-celebration-hangover-breakfast that included a $10 Bloody Mary (woops). I think it’s safe to say that my college education and a night out with my friends were both money well spent, yet I still feel guilty and have unsubscribed from banking alerts that tell me when my balance is dangerously low, solely because they make me cry. This may or may not be a good thing.

So what did I do to fix this? I watched the 20-minute Beyoncé documentary, Year of 4. Though I didn’t make money while watching this gem of a short film, I was reassured that because I am a strong-willed, hard-working young woman who knows what her passion is, I can and will succeed in whatever I plan to do with the rest of my life. I never thought a documentary about a world-famous pop star would inspire the likes of me, a former indie-music snob who refused to listen to Top 40 radio and made fun of people who did (my outlook has recently changed, and I love Beyoncé, Britney and Rihanna equally), but Beyoncé truly has a way with words. Here are some quotes from the film that really made me fall in love with the extremely talented musician, as well as my current lifestyle and future plans.

1. “I don’t need people to think for me.”
Everyone has something to say to those of us that are unemployed. Though the things they say are often words of encouragement, or the common, “You’re not the only college grad in this position,” others are full of advice. Trust me guys, I know that I can search Craigslist and LinkedIn for jobs and that new ones come up every day, and that I should just apply to everything because it doesn’t hurt, and that I should check in on resumes I’ve sent out and that I shouldn’t give up. I, like Beyoncé, don’t need people to think for me. When they try to do so, it simply makes me feel like I have to prove myself to them or defend my actions and let them know that I’m already doing what they tell me to do. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate their interest, but what I’d appreciate more is an actual job. So, advice-givers, how about an entry-level position at the company you currently work for? That’s what I thought. I’ll find the right job when it’s the right time, and I’m already doing my best to make this time the right time. It’s tough out there for us writers and editors fresh out of college, but we’ll find a way to make it work. We always do. Please note, however, that there are certain types of advice-givers that are exempt from this, and they are named Mom and Dad. Their advice is different than that of New York Times columnists and 20-somethings who work for their parents. It’s much more relevant because they know you better than anyone else, especially when it comes to how hard you’ve worked to get where you are today.

2. “You can’t be too comfortable and too confident [in your line of work].”
One day I will not be unemployed, and I’m sure that on that day I will feel a lot more comfortable with my financial situation, and a lot more confident in my work abilities. But hearing Beyoncé, who is essentially a walking empire, say that you can’t be too comfortable and too confident was eye opening for me. Just because someone will one day want to hire me doesn’t mean I’m the most skilled in the field or guaranteed to have that job forever. If I were to become too comfortable or confident, I would most certainly lose sight of what was important, and what is important is to continue growing as a person and employee. We can always do better when it comes to our jobs, and its unsafe to think otherwise.

3. “You should be doing it just because you love it.”
I decided a long time ago that I didn’t need a job that would enable me to make millions. I realized that what’s important to me is happiness, love, relaxation, comfort and being satisfied with my life outside of the workplace. While money can certainly help with some of those aspects, it’s not necessary. This is why I’m happy with my life right now. Though I barely make enough to get by, I’m doing things that I love to do on a regular basis. For example, I don’t get paid to write for this website, nor do I get paid to write for Cat Tales, a non-profit newsletter for a non-profit, no-kill cat shelter in Escondido, California. But being able to write for these two outlets is so unbelievably satisfying that I put my heart and soul into the words I type, and talk about them incessantly to my friends and family. These two writing gigs are what make me feel like I’m doing something with my life, and it gives me hope that I will always be happy as long as I’m writing.

Watching Year of 4 while drinking coffee and taking notes on my server notepad was a really important moment for me. It revealed to me in the clearest of ways that writing is what I want to do, and a writer is what I am. But most of all, it showed me that even if I don’t get paid to do what I am most passionate about, every article, column and story that I write is still an accomplishment that I should be proud of.

The documentary also reassured me that it’s okay to be taking time off between working hard in college and working hard in an office. I used to feel guilty about not yet having a career job, but I now see that I earned this break and should be using this time to learn more about who I am outside of school and work. Trust me, I’m learning a lot.

Thank you, Mindy Kaling, for recommending this documentary on your blog. It forever changed my outlook on what it means to be successful, and what it takes to get to where I’m meant to be.

Check out Year of 4 here.

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