From Corporate Stressed Life To Helping You Live Your Best Life
Hi, I’m Andy and my story starts in 2006
I had just dropped out of air traffic control school and felt a horrible wave of disappointment. For the first time in my life I had let my friends and family down; after all, this was my life plan that I had repeated an uncountable number of times at my high school graduation just 2 years prior. Now what? I found myself lost with no direction in life, no idea what my passions where, and tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt that I had no idea how I was going to pay off.
I decided to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a firefighter/EMT. I figured it would pay the bills while I got my life in order. After finishing fire school I set out into the job market and tested for every career fire dept. in the upper mid west (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). I eventually was hired on to the city of Bismarck, ND through a strange technicality; they were hiring 9 people, I was #13 on their list. The #8 and #9 people went out and celebrated their new job by getting DUI’s (disqualified) and #10 and #11 took jobs elsewhere. Lucky number 13 gets the job and the guilt of feeling like I didn’t deserve it. Turns out I really loved being a firefighter, little did I know, I was going to get a crash course in how short life can be. There are a few bad calls that stick with me today, one in particular changed my whole outlook on life.
The day that changed my life
The call came in for an 8 year old drowning victim, CPR was being actively performed. When we arrived on scene we immediately took over resuscitation efforts. By the time the kid was loaded into the ambulance we got his pulse back but no breathing and he was posturing (hands and feet curling), an indication of brain injury. Even if we saved this kid’s life, there was a strong chance he would have significantly reduced brain function. I stood in shock as the ambulance took off. Less than an hour ago that kid was talking, laughing, playing in the pool and now all of that was over. I learned what I consider my most important life lesson in that moment: Anyone’s life, young or old, including my own, can end at any minute, so make sure to live the life you want. Although I loved the job, Bismarck, ND was not the place my wife and I wanted to be in our early 20’s, so two and a half years into the career I had worked so hard for, my wife and I decided to move to Madison, Wisconsin, a place we both loved.
Finding my way
With two and a half years of experience I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to land a firefighting job in my new city… I couldn’t have been more wrong. After testing for 8 years and never getting picked, I decided to hang my bunker gear up and try something new. After all, wasn’t firefighting my dad’s dream? Enter in again that same feeling of being lost, no direction and no idea what job I could do that would make me happy. Out of desperation I took the first job I could find… being a server at a restaurant. I went from saving lives to slangin pizzas. Ego crushed… flawless victory. I hated every minute of it.
Broke but happy
Eventually I found my way into being a phlebotomist (collecting blood for those not in the know). Once again, I had found something I loved to do. Travelling from town to town everyday to work blood drives was amazing to me. Getting to meet the donors, my awesome co-workers, doing something that was saving lives, in the immoral words of Bender from Futurama, “I’m back baby!” I loved that job so much, but after 8 years of frustrating management, pay freezes, working weekends and holidays and missing out on time with my wife and newborn son I decided to leave the non-profit sector for a 9-5 gig in the corporate world. What was not to like? The pay was better, I got stock options and bonuses and my weekends back. Spoiler alert… the grass wasn’t greener.
Don’t chase money
Little did I know, I had been hired into a newly created position, one that a lot of other veteran people at the company had applied for and obviously not gotten. So I entered the new workplace with a target on my back. I was going to have to win them over. I grinded at the expense of my mental health to please my new team (there’s a lesson here to be learned here), and just as I was getting comfortable in my new position… drumroll please… COVID hit. Oof. Fortunately, the company I was working for was a biomedical company and in order to survive, they developed a covid test. Unfortunately that meant all new procedures needed to be built from the ground up for this new test. Double unfortunately most of that landed on my shoulders… me… a firefighter with no biomedical background. I was in over my head. Eventually, with the help of some amazing people, we managed to patch together a few procedures to get the lab through COVID. Triple unfortunately, the new director of the dept. had her head up her pooper and stalled or killed most of our work and ideas, just to turn around and claim our ideas as her own. I had just gotten my first taste of corporate politics and I needed to get out before I threw myself in the automated box cutter.
You know that feeling where you feel trapped and you’ll do whatever you can to get out? That was me for a full year. I applied for any and every job at the company that would get me out from under that director. I was so desperate that I was considering going back to college just to get a degree for a job in a field I knew I would hate, project management. Alas, the clouds parted and a supervisor of training position popped up. Training has always been a thread through my career going all the way back to when I became a CPR instructor for the fire department I was on and continuing through my tenure as a phlebotomist. I had also successfully started and ran a CPR training business starting in 2013. There was no way I was going to fail at getting this job. And I did get it. And the grass was greener on the other side… until it wasn’t.
Your job is not your identity
I had escaped Shawshank, or so I thought. I lasted in my training supervisor position for a little over a year. My team was amazing, my boss was amazing, my cubicle was… eh, at least I was out of the lab. I thought I finally found my calling. Slowly the 8 hour days behind a computer screen, fumbling through excel spreadsheets and loads of bureaucracy caught up to me. I became depressed. I felt like I had no impact on anything and was just getting on the hamster wheel day in and day out. I kept telling myself, “If I can hang on just a little longer XYZ will happen, and then I’ll be happy.” My relationship with my wife and son were starting to bear the brunt of my exasperation. I developed a short temper and would leave the house so I didn’t go off the deep end on my family. My work ethic plummeted. My work from home days turned into, “Take a nap in between meetings” days. I was a wreck and I wasn’t willing to face what I had become. November 2nd, 2022 was the day everything changed.
It started with a notification on everyone’s calendar, followed by a text from my boss about making sure I came in to work that day. Odd, I thought, I normally come into work on Wednesdays. When I got to work, half of the training team was in a meeting room and nobody knew what was going on. Our director started the meeting and informed us that the company would be reducing the workforce by 5% and that most of us would not make the cut. The whole room went silent, then burst into tears… but I was cautiously optimistic. This could be my ticket out. One after one, my co-workers went into meeting rooms and emerged in tears as they lost their jobs. Those who got to keep their jobs wept for the teammates that were axed. I was eager to have my meeting and I was hoping for some “bad news.” The time came. I walked into the meeting room, got the “bad news” and emerged with the biggest smile on my face. I WAS FREE! Not only free, but free with a 3 months severance package plus other perks. I couldn’t believe it! This was even better than I had imagined. I now had 3 months to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. And that’s how, at 36 years old, I decided to trust the voice inside my heart.
I stayed at work that day, longer than I needed to, to comfort my teammates that were taking this news very hard. I watched as people I cared about were inconsolably crying. This was when I learned one of the most important lessons ever: DO NOT ATTACH YOUR IDENTITY TO YOUR JOB! You are so much more than just a job at a company that most likely doesn’t give two hot steamy turds about you. Your life is meant to be amazing, beautiful and full of everything that YOU want to do. I’m on a mission to show you how to live the life of you dreams.
Your happiness beats money every time
And that’s how AndyHova.com was born. I truly want to help you break free from your soul crushing job and set you on a path to live your best life ever. What makes me different from other lifestyle design guru’s online? Well, for one thing, I’m not a guru. I am just starting on this path of freedom and abundance. You get to get on at the ground floor of this journey. You get to learn from my victories and mistakes. I hope you’ll join me on this adventure and I can’t wait to see you succeed!