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Bullet Train

When Passion Gets Derailed

Passion is a bullet train, speeding down a track that you think you know all too well.  Your train is well supplied, brimming with the resources and technology needed to keep it going at full speed.  The path is seemingly predictable, as passion doesn’t deviate from its target, so too does a train not derail from its track.

However, what your train never sees coming, whether because of its velocity or its inherent belief that it can’t be stopped, is the one thing that will always stop it.  For a train, that one thing can be any number of problems or objects, from a mechanical failure to a collision.  Similarly, the derailment of passion can be caused by any number of problems, but they all result in the same endings: disappointment, pain, and disorientation.

My train was derailed last Friday, when I resigned from an organization that I had stuck by for 3 years.  Resigning from any position with that type of tenure is difficult, but resigning from a position that was fueled by passion and love for the organization is even worse.  My derailment began with not being promoted within the organization, despite my passion and its physical embodiments.  Tenure seemed not to matter, nor hard work; being the first one to arrive and the last one to leave meant nothing in this environment.  My plans and ideas, putting pen to paper to express what my passion meant, carried no weight.  My references and what others could say about the quality of my work, my determination, and my accomplishments had no impact.  In essence, my derailment was laid out ahead of me, and despite my best preparations, there was no way to avoid the conclusion.

Now of course there were mistakes of my own.  Did I throw too much coal in the engine?  At times, yes, and I let my intensity get the better of me.  Were my dreams of what the destination looked like too grandiose?  Perhaps, and so my ideas may have been perceived as unattainable or unrealistic.  And while I recognize these shortcomings, I do not credit them solely with my downfall; rather I see them as just a little rust on the wheels, issues I didn’t see until after the crash.

Maybe more importantly, the derailment occurred because the track was broken from the beginning.  Having been with the organization since freshmen year and visualizing the destination, I could never have foreseen the problems and issues that would occur years down the line.  By the time I realized the problems were there, it was too late to divert the train.  My fate had been sealed.

So what’s the lesson here?  To speed down the tracks slower or maybe get a different mode of transportation?  I don’t believe that will solve the problem.  In fact, I truly believe that passionate people get the most done when they are speeding down their defined track.  When everything is working as it should, they are able to cruise along and meet every deliverable, create fresh ideas, and add value at every twist and turn.  Some people will get hurt, as I have, and it will take time to redirect my passion into something else.  At this point, that’s all I can do; I can’t afford to just lay by the side of the track.

All in all, I don’t regret having spent the time that I did with this organization.  I know it’s in good hands with a leader who shares my vision and will be around long after I’m gone.  I have many other opportunities to pour my heart and soul into.  I keep the company of great friends from that organization.  However, I will not forgive nor forget what those at the top did to put me in this situation.  In addition, I can’t say that I will be at the same level of happiness working on anything else, not for a long time anyways.  And despite my best intentions, I don’t know if my new “bullet train of passion” will ever be as fast or as sleek running on a different track.  I just don’t know, at least not until I reach my destination.

Reflecting on London, Looking Toward the Future

My last day in London was pretty bizarre.  I photographed the President of the United States at work, I had one of the most extravagant milkshakes of my life (topped with a face-sized cookie and a blow-torched marshmallow), and I said goodbye to some really amazing coworkers and friends.  I guess now that I’m typing it all out, it doesn’t sound so “bizarre”.  I mean it wasn’t as if I went to the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” in Piccadilly Circus?

No, I think the strangeness of the day came from the realization that it was that specific day, April 22nd 2016 that ended my study abroad experience.  I never would have believed that my last day in London would consist of being the POTUS photographer, consuming my weight in ice cream and milk, and saying goodbye to people I didn’t even know 4 months ago.  It was a weird feeling, but please don’t think I’m getting emotional.  While I loved every minute of my time in London, I knew it eventually had to come to an end.  Every one of us who studied abroad had to wake up to reality at some point.

Besides, I have so much to be grateful for from this experience. I grew professionally from my internship and personally from my coworkers at Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel.  The sites I’ve seen, performances I’ve watched, and the food I’ve tasted all contributed to my study abroad adventure.  I visited beautiful countries and developed a few British mannerisms.  Finally, the friends that I’ve made and the memories we made together all translate into one of the best experiences of my life and I plan on using all of them, the good and the bad, to find further success in the future.

So no, I don’t “miss” London.  I think I’ve gotten everything out of my time there that I possibly could.  I also do not consider myself a “Londoner” and no one who studies abroad in London for 3 months ever should; in reality we know much less about the global financial center with 10 million people than most of us would care to admit.  But I’m not concerned with what’s in the past.  I’m looking forward.

I have honed two very important concepts while abroad that I plan to capitalize on during the rest of my time in university: passion and confidence.  I have rediscovered and affirmed my passion for hospitality; that is the industry that I will enter and I will do everything in my power to prepare myself for a career in hospitality.  With regards to confidence, I’ve never been more confident in my abilities and my goals since studying abroad.  I now know what I want and I will not be afraid to do what it takes to go out and take it for myself.  Both of these ideas have empowered me to pursue big dreams back in the states, and I will not be backing down until I achieve success.

Stay tuned for more developments from my site, as I try to refocus and reorganize my brand.