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Open the doors of your past to unblock your future fast

May 25, 2022

The white fan on the work desk was doing its repetitive rounds and sending warm air to meet my face. The radio next to it was quietly singing the songs of a decade past while the hydraulic stamping machine I was commanding kept up the beat.

It was the first week of my two-week internship at an office furniture factory. I had been sent to the far end of the giant warehouse to sit in front of the hydraulic press surrounded by two-meter tall stacks of plywood chair parts.

My job was for eight hours to take one of the seating parts of the chair and stamp it with a holster for a screw to be put on later. After half an hour, it got a bit monotonous. After two hours, it got boring, and at the end of the day, I could feel my brain turning into mush and dripping out of my ear.

So you can imagine my delight when after two days, I got promoted.

Instead of sitting in the dark corner lit by a single desk lamp, I was awarded the same job but at a conveyor belt, spitting out similar chair parts at a breakneck speed and trying to keep up. 

I sucked.

It was my first experience of having a job. After two weeks, I swore I’d never do that again.

This one experience (actually, a few of them) slowly turned into a fear of “What if this is what the rest of my working life would look like?”.

So what does a young 14-year-old punk do? 

Well, I’ll tell you what he does. He does everything to avoid having a brainless mind-numbing job ever again.

In high school, I was lucky enough to discover that the hours spent face planting on snow, ice, and concrete during winter had turned into world-class skills in snowboarding, and I became a pro while I was still in school.

For almost a decade, I snowboarded around the world, representing the world’s biggest sporting goods companies such as Oakley, Dakine, Helly Hansen, and Airwalk.

After I retired, I was reminded of my fear of having a job, and so the logical answer was to start my own business so I could do what I was most passionate about. And get to do what I wanted. 

Oh, how wrong I was.

Three years later, I was out of money, out of passion, had a baby on the way, and my bank account looked like someone had been dipping in the honey jar till the bottom broke and had just kept going for more.

Hat in my hand, I was forced to face my biggest fear of getting a job (I know, I know “what a baby”).

I applied for a job at a marketing agency and got the job first try. It wasn’t too bad, actually. I had terrific colleagues I was learning leaps and bounds from. We had great clients, I had a lot of autonomy in how I did my job, and I could deliver a lot of value to our clients and their customers.

Fears caused by trauma leave mental scars in your mind, sometimes acting as invisible doors that close potential paths in your life and nudge you to another direction. Sometimes they serve you well and others not so much.

What fear has secretly pushed you into different paths in life?

A black and white photo of the author Jussi's smiling face with shortcut hair and a short beardJussi Tarvainen

Former pro snowboarder. Author at night. Multi(failed)-entrepreneur. And mostly an awesome designer (said, my five-year-old son).

plenty more loot in the vault

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