Trying to Figure it Out (Confused)

One of the hardest things about life is, trying to figure out what it is you want to do. You grow up hearing, you can be anything you want, but that isn’t always the reality. It’s getting harder and harder to get ahead these days and finding manufacturing jobs these days is very difficult as many of those jobs are being lost to automation or are being shipped overseas. The days of finding a good paying factory job and being able to buy a home and support a family on your wage are gone. A high school diploma doesn’t hold water anymore and a Bachelors’ degree is beginning to spring leaks of its own as a Master’s degree is increasingly becoming the standard in order to find a job.

This is the problem I’m running into. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies and Political Science and despite three internships and extensive research throughout my college days, I’m having a difficult time finding work. Every type of job I want to hold requires either a Master’s degree or five plus years of experience or both and my experience doesn’t add up to enough. I’m currently working a job that is sort of in tune with my fields of study but the pay is fairly low and there is a lack of work/life balance and upper management doesn’t care about your needs outside of work all that much. I would still like to get my Mater’s in Public Administration but recent trends show that the job outlook for people with such a degree is shrinking. I’m asking myself, do I want more debt in student loans if I’m not guaranteed a good paying job to pay off that debt and live on? The shrinking job market is why I decided not to pursue journalism which was my childhood dream, because the need for journalists is shrinking and is projected to continue to dwindle away, and the odds of landing a high paying job with a major network are pretty rare and getting anywhere as a freelance journalist is much more difficult than some make it out to be.

I always told myself that no matter what happened, and no matter how many of my goals I failed to accomplish, the one dream that I refuse to fail at is being a writer. Writing has been my dream since I was eight years old which is when I picked up a pen for the first time and wrote a story. Ideally, I would have liked to have some things published by now, but life and college got in the way. I’ve thought about getting another degree in creative writing but again, is the extra debt worth it? And what kind of job outside of a low-paying job will I find with that? I’m better off sticking with my current degree or pursuing another one that will earn me a decent paycheck and continue to write and work towards publication.

I often think, how great would it be to be able to be a stay at home dad when I have children? I would do the housework, take care of the kids and spend the rest of my time writing. It’s 2017, gender roles don’t or at least shouldn’t exist where it’s unacceptable for the man to stay home. The problem is, I have my own debt, student loans especially. I can’t expect somebody else to pay that off if I’m not making a good chunk of change off of my writing. There’s self-publishing yes, but even that, even with more affordable outlets, it takes time to get a name for yourself and start making enough money to live on. Not everybody will sell as many books as Stephen King even though that is the dream of every writer.

This is what I’m trying to figure out. What would you suggest if you were in my shoes? What are you trying to figure out for yourself? Are you in a similar position? If so, please share in the comments. I hope you figure it out. Let’s figure it out together. In the meantime, I’ll keep job hunting and continue to write and hope to have something ready to go for publication this year, even if it’s a shorter work that is self-published.

-Brett T. Mazzoni



I inherited my Grandparents’ Stubbornness

I have been called many things, some good and some very hurtful. For the most part, words don’t bother me all that much. The last time a word really hurt me was when I was called a loser by somebody who I loved very much and dedicated five years of my life to. But since I refuse to dwell in the past and insist on moving forward, what hurt me then, cannot hurt me now. As the saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. Growing up, I was bullied and was called almost every terrible thing in the book. I’ve never had an issue with embracing labels for they do not matter as long as you know the truth. One thing that I have been called throughout my life is “stubborn”. And this is truly a label that I’ve come to accept and a trait which I inherited from my grandparents, though I don’t see it as being stubborn, but rather determined.

My grandparents never had a lot of money, in fact—at one point they were so poor, my mom recalls living in public housing on the south side of Chicago when she was very young. Eventually, my grandfather was able to get an office job with General Motors’ Frigidaire division, the pay wasn’t great, but it helped get the family out of the projects. My grandmother also worked various jobs here and there. They were stubborn in the sense that they refused to allow their children to go without food and shelter. And when my grandfather was forced to retire from GM early and take his pension, he got into real estate and did alright, but he never became wealthy by any means. My grandparents worked a lot of hours and made a lot of sacrifices to take care of themselves and their children. They wouldn’t let the injustices of society keep them down, instead, they were stubborn enough to fight the system and get by in a rich man’s world.

My mother inherited this trait as she made great sacrifices to take care of her children, especially me when it was just us for many years. Stubborn? No. A good parent? Yes. I too inherited this trait, and the reason I bring it up at all is because, when talking to my mom recently about pushing hard, hard, hard to launch my freelance journalism career, and build up an extensive portfolio within the next six months to a year so that I can land a job with a stable and respected media outlet, she said that I will succeed because I’m stubborn like my grandparents. As stated, I see myself as determined. When I was in college, I struggled with math and had to take a few of the remedial math courses more than once. Whereas most students drop out because of these classes, I was determined to pass them and earn my degree in the two fields that I studied. Eventually, I got through them and graduated with a high GPA. My mom made the point, that I’m so stubborn (or determined) that I’ve never let anything stand in my way before, and when it comes to my passion and to my dream, I shouldn’t let anything hold me back now. In all of my struggles, setbacks, and pain—and in my battle with depression, I’ve never let anything keep me down, for as down as I may get, my stubbornness or determination will get me to where I want to be and hopefully soon. So I say, screw it, be stubborn because it usually works out for the best in the end.


To be Somebody’s Inspiration

We all have people who we look up to, who we view as our heroes and those who inspire us in one way or another. But to be told by somebody that you are their inspiration is a feeling that I cannot describe. This is a feeling that I had recently.

I look up to many people in my life, mostly political figures and those who stood up for equality and tried hard to pave the way for a more equal and just society. People such as; JFK, Malcolm X, and Barack Obama. And of course there was my mother who struggled to raise her three children and taught me to never back down , never give up, and never let anybody push you around. She also showed me a lot of tips and tricks to save money for we were far from rich, and I’m still far from it. But recently, a good friend of mine told me that I was his inspiration.

I have known this friend for some time now, he lives in Chicago and I met him when I worked in retail throughout college. We worked in the same department and became good friends. He eventually went onto a different job while I stayed but we kept in touch. One day he came into the store and we began talking. I told him that once I had graduated with my Bachelor’s, I was moving to California. It’s no mystery if you’ve read some of my blogs from last year that I left Chicago with nothing but my clothes and the few belongings I owned and made the nearly 3,000 mile drive. I didn’t even have a job lined up, I just had my dreams and my goals, and the faith that the Devas would guide me in the right direction.

Recently, I got a hold of this friend and I asked him how things were with him. He said that they were alright but he was hoping to get a different job. His dream, he told me was to coach basketball at some level and eventually coach in the NBA. I told him that he could achieve that goal so long as he was willing to work towards it and never gives up. He then told me that I have always been an inspiration to him. I told him that I was touched, and this was his explanation.

He said that when we first met, I had nothing, I was working long hours for low pay, dealing with my mother’s alcoholic boyfriend at the time, going to school full time, taking on all of these hard classes and working on all of these long and extensive papers and projects and holding so many internships. He said that when things weren’t looking up and even when he knew I was down, I always looked ahead. He continued to say, when there was little opportunity in Chicago or in the state of Illinois in general, you weren’t afraid to take that risk and move across the country to seek opportunity and to follow your dreams. I told him that I was working in private security and still working towards my goal of being a published author as well as my political endeavors and looking into graduate school in the next year or so. He said, “See, always fighting and never giving up.”

To hear these words from a friend, from anybody in general are truly touching and for them to be said of me, somebody who came from nothing, watched his mother struggle to get by, was picked on and bullied and told that his dreams and his goals were stupid and that they would never come true, even by those in his own family, to be told that I inspire someone truly touches the heart.

As I go forth and continue to chase down and capture all of my dreams, I’m sure I will inspire many more before my time on this earth passes, like my heroes and my mom did me. And for it, I don’t want nor do I need gratitude, knowing that I inspired you to never give up and never give in without a fight, or to not be afraid of taking risks and making sacrifices to make your dreams and your goals come true, is worth more than all of the wealth in the world. As the saying goes, “One person can make a difference in the world.” That one person can be you as a result of your actions, or the both of us inspiring each other to always move forward.

My Four Life Rules

  1. Never give up.
  2. Sacrifice everything or accomplish nothing.
  3. Remember that there is no progress without struggle and sacrifice.
  4. Never dwell in the past, doing so will only wear you down. Always look ahead.