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Where Did My Hustle Go???

I remember when I got my first real job at 15 years old. It was at the local Jewish deli in the mall. I had babysitting jobs in the past, but this was a real job. Real money. Real taxes :-). I was definitely driven by money, as it would give me the financial freedom to have the things that I felt I needed and wanted – the right clothes, the right shoes, the right everything including a social life. And once I started driving, I was required to pay for my own car insurance and gas but was fortunate enough to drive my mom’s car. In fact, I was never even compelled to buy my first car until I graduated college and got a “real” job, for which I needed daily transportation. Welcome to the world of car payments and debt.

In a prior blog this year, I shared that I was at a crossroads in life. I had been relieved of my job and was really thinking about what came next. My priorities have changed. I personally have changed. I am not the same person I was 10 years ago when I came to Seattle to work for Microsoft. I am not the same person I was 5 years ago when Ed passed away. I am no longer a wife, and I am a widow. I am no longer a technology marketing professional, I am unemployed. My kids are adults and while I will always be a parent, my role has evolved into a much different place.

As we travel down the path of life, sometimes we look back and wonder what drives us? I think back to that 15-year-old kid making sandwiches at the deli, and it was about more than making money. I wanted to work hard, do a good job, and feel good about it after a long day. I didn’t have a mortgage to pay or car payments. I wanted to “hustle” which today means having a day job and a “side hustle” with the premise that you have one job that you pay your bills with, and then something on the side that you love — something that you are building to become your day job at some point and time. Prior generations including mine, my parents and grandparents didn’t have this. You did your job, you did it well, and you felt good enough about it as to where you didn’t need fulfillment elsewhere. That was your fun time. Today, there are those that have to work 2-3 jobs to just pay the bills. They are just “hustling” to get it done.

So lately, I’ve been thinking – when did I lose my “hustle”? When did I lose my drive to work hard and feel good about it? Have I become so jaded by corporate America who seems to care only about the bottom line, leading millennials and the aging population like myself to embrace the “gig economy” where we work hard for ourselves because of the uncertainty of when our value is diminished for whatever reason deems fit?


Yes, Stella does need to find her groove again – in more ways than one  :-). For starters, it’s time for a complete career change one where I feel good about my “hustle”.

Christina Rasmussen cites in her book, Second Firsts that in order to move forward, we have to do so slowly, taking small steps in a manner that does not put us in a place of fear. If we jump too quickly, we are likely to scare ourselves right back into our comfort zones. Alternatively, if we take small steps, slowly and deliberately, and build upon each, we can get there without fear. I think of the scene in the movie Shrek where Shrek and Donkey have to cross a rickety bridge under a sea of fire. Donkey is afraid but Shrek distracts him telling him not to look down (of course he does), and pushing Donkey back one step at a time without him realizing that he is actually making his way across the bridge. Next thing you know, he’s made it across the bridge and says, “That wasn’t so bad”.

With that in mind, I have decided that for the next year, I am embarking on small steps to figuring out my next “hustle”. I plan on trying new things and seeing what I like and don’t like. I’m doing one of those I’ve-always-wanted-to-do-this-but-have-never-had-the-time years where I just embark on everything. I started a list of these things in various places – iPhone notes, date book, napkins, scraps of paper etc., but they mostly lie in my head. Why not, right? What do I have to lose?

My current “hustle” is working in a winery tasting room, pouring wine for people. I had said this was something I wanted to do for fun when I left corporate American in January. When asked, “what are you going to do”? My response was, “I have no idea. Maybe I’ll go pour wine in a tasting room for fun. Because no one is unhappy or cranky when they are out wine tasting.” I’ve been at it for about two months now and really enjoy it. It is a ton of fun, more physically demanding than I could have ever imagined, I make very, very little money, and I can’t remember the last time I looked forward to going to work as much as I do right now.

Another “hustle” I am working on is building a new website, which is evolving into something that I haven’t fully defined yet. I started creating this site about a year ago, as I used the term “shifting sand” often in my blog posts. It’s a term that I have found describes this feeling I get when I do something in my “new life” that makes me know I can never go back. I have said on more than one occasion “the sand has shifted”, and not always in a good way, but that’s the thing about sand…it moves and we have to balance or fall. We just have to get back up. So stay tuned for more to come on that including a podcast that I hope tells great stories of great hustlers :-).


I’d love to hear from you! What’s your current hustle? Side hustle? Dream hustle? It can be anything really. I’d love to share stories of sand that shifted in ways you never thought possible :-).


Thanks for “listening”.


Strength, Courage, Wisdom…Faith, Love, and Hope


© 2018, traceyb1. All rights reserved.


  1. Rachel Brady Rachel Brady

    Great post, love that first “hustle” story. And “shifting sands”, what a great name for your website! I hope we will all be bold and courageous in our decisions and love what we do each day paid or not because that’s what makes us come alive and that’s what the world needs. 🙂

    • Thanks Rachel!!! I don’t know what I would do without you and your boys getting me through! Love to you all 🙂

  2. Maureen Maureen

    Your blogs get me to think. So hats off to you on this one for giving me some clarity on why my new gig is not so fulfilling. It didn’t give me the hustle feeling I so crave!!

    • I’m not sure what makes me happier than when someone who I consider so smart says, “Your blog made me think” 🙂 Finding your hustle is hard especially when you’ve been doing the same thing for so long. My suggestion to you – just find something that is fun just for you. Not the family – just you. Once your hustle chord starts strumming, you’ll know it and will follow. Love to you Mo!

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