What Kind of Shit Sandwich do You Want to Eat?

Shit sandwich

What Kind of Shit Sandwich do You Want to Eat?

Everyone dreams of one day being famous or doing something fun for a living where you only do the fun part and have many people working for you that do the sales, administrative, and tedious tasks. 

That dream entails being so famous that people recognize you wherever you go and want to be just like you.

However, many with this dream fail to realize early on that it is a pipe dream. It does not exist. The rich and famous are rich and famous because they figured out what they had to sacrifice to get there too.

Don’t get me wrong. Not everyone rich and famous, has to sacrifice. Some were born into it, but many also made themselves who they are through good old-fashioned hard work. 

And that brings me to today’s point. What kind of shit sandwich do you want to eat? There is always one in any situation or work that you will experience in your life. You do have a choice, though. 

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What Kind of Shit Sandwich do You Want to Eat?

Choosing Your Shit Sandwich

Long before I worked for Conde Nast and Live Nation as a working photographer in NYC, I worked many other jobs just like everyone else. 

Straight out of high school, I got the first job that I thought would make money at a printing factory because I liked taking classes in the print shop in school, and I thought it would be fun, just like working on my own projects in school. 

Sure, I got to print things on the presses that took up the better portion of a factory-sized room. Yet, it was not my own projects that I got to work on. It was client-based work on books that were textbooks or things of no interest to a 17-year-old. 

One of the job’s perks was that when a book of interest did come along, I was allowed to tell my boss that I was interested in a copy, and we got to take home the slightly flawed ones that did not come out free.

I studied a lot from the free books that I had privy to, yet I realized one thing. I was not happy at my job. I worked the graveyard shift without connection to sunlight or social life. 

So even though it was a good paycheck and I took home a couple grand per month as a 17-year-old kid, I whined and moaned about the late hours, my co-workers that I did not connect with because they were much older than me, and sought out excuses to complain about my job. 

I eventually quit the job and went through several other positions, from Blockbuster Video to selling vacuum cleaners out of my beat-up old truck as I tried to find my way for something that I enjoyed, that made a good paycheck, and that was easier. The truth is that nothing was easier, and nothing was something that I truly enjoyed.

Stability and Responsibility vs. Escapism

One of my gigs that I worked for a period of time was at a Meijer grocery store in Michigan. I was a cashier, and two other cashiers started around the same time that I did that were around my age, Tracy and Ben. We all had a comradery of sorts, and it made the day go by much quicker than I had experienced at the print shop while trying not to fall asleep on stacks of pages that were to be bound into a cover. 

However, I quickly became unhappy again because the customers were often rude, or I had to drive into the store in heavy traffic or wear a red uniform I hated. 

I also took home much less pay than at the print shop. Yet, I could buy a couple of CDs per week over at the local Best Buy, and I could get enough money to cover my almost non-existent bills at the time and play in a local rock band that I thought I would be famous for. 

I ended up meeting an ex online, and I took a week off from this job to fly to Seattle, WA, to bring her back to Michigan with me. She also got a job at the grocery store, and we both found out we hated the job. 

It was a steady paycheck, they had benefits, and the hours were not that bad, but the grueling part was that it was the same repetitive soul-sucking monotony of unhappy customers day in and day out for eight hours per day. 

So eventually, we decided to quit quietly before kids ever thought this was a trend on the internet. We decided one day never to return to that job, and it took the store up to eight months to finally send us letters that we were fired.

I mean, eight months? Wow. One would have thought that our bosses would have given us a shit to call after a week of not seeing us at work, but hey, it proved the theory about the soul-sucking job that no one cared about anyways. 

Looking back, this was clearly escapism. And it did not solve anything short of getting us both other jobs; we eventually found things that we despised in them also. We traded one shit sandwich for another.

A repeated pattern of poor me

Now, I have a theory. The human spirit constantly thinks to itself in all of us, “Poor me, why am I suffering?”

We get so down on ourselves because we feel that people are not treating us fairly and how we feel that we should be treated in life to make it “easy” that we fail to realize opportunities in front of us. 

Let me give you an example. Remember how I said I hated things at the print shop where I worked?

Well, if I look back and constructively analyze why I hated that job, it was because I had a lot of faults of my own that I needed to learn. I never cared for myself properly to get enough sleep to prepare for work, for example.

I constantly forced the daylight hours for things I wanted to do and never ensured I was at my best for my responsibilities. This made me very tired and irritable during the night job, and I blamed the job as a scapegoat for my personal decisions. 

At the time, I also had co-workers I despised because I felt they were not helpful and talked about me behind my back because they thought I was not doing my job correctly.

Looking at my point above where I was not taking care of myself, I was not technically at my best performance. And it seemed that the shop’s attitude was always an unspoken word to do the least work for the most pay. People never seemed to want to go above and beyond, I felt in that environment. It was rarely positive.

What I could have done instead of listening to suspected drama where I had no proof that people were saying negative things, to begin with, is to remain present, do the job I was hired to do, and work on higher ambitions to better myself. I would not realize the bigger picture until much later in life.

Instead, I let my head get the best of me and went into “poor me” spirals. Why didn’t my co-workers like me? What could I do to make them like me? I chased things that really did not matter.

And if I could give my younger self some advice today, it would be to say, “fuck it, I am not for everyone, and I have to keep my head down to do my job to the best of my ability to reach my next goal.” 

How to get past the poor me patterns

Let’s be real. If you have not picked up on it from this post by now, the whole theme is that there will always be something you do not like. However, Learning to remain mindful and present are the most significant ways to overcome what you think in your mind. 

And for example, in 2023, I worked for myself on several projects I created here at Charlie Naebeck Co. People think that I live the dream, or that I am rich, and that nothing ever goes wrong. 

Well, let me be honest. Most of my work involves constant problem-solving in helping others with their photography, coaching in my Vision into Victory mentorship, coding for Creative ID Co and designing, or even trying to organize my day. 

Sometimes I wish one of my projects could go easier, yet I quickly remind myself that there are way worse shit sandwiches out in the world than I have to deal with. 

And when you do catch yourself going “poor me” or worrying with anxiety, start to breathe, remember the positives you have, and understand that what is in your head is not always reality.

A quick 20-minute meditation session, or even 20 minutes of journalling your thoughts into a notebook, also helps you regain perspective and clarity.

There will always be things you don’t like or enjoy in any task or situation, personal or professional. Yet, remind yourself of harder and more difficult times in your life than now. You can choose this tiny shit sandwich, or you can choose to make a very large shit sandwich and make your situation worse. 

This applies to personal life, professional, and even things that you love doing, such as I do with photography. Not everything goes perfectly, and that is ok. Remember to remain present and choose the shit sandwich you want to consume, and you’ll be on your way. 

Free 30-minute consultation for your goals

This week, I am giving away free 30-minute consultations for your goals if you are struggling with your career, life goals, photography, business, or other aspects of your life, I invite you to jump on a free 30-minute Zoom call with me.

I will listen to your goals and offer a suggested game plan to help you achieve them. If you wish to continue working on your goals and projects together after we speak, I can set up sessions with my Vision into Victory mentorship program. You can participate weekly or set a long-term goal to accomplish. 

To grab a seat for the free 30-minute consultation, enter your email address below to jump on my mailing list. I will reach out to schedule with you directly. 

I can’t wait to see you win!

Join us on a journey of creativity and exploration!

Subscribe to the “Creators Journey with Charlie Naebeck” newsletter to stay updated on all the latest episodes and special content.

Whether you’re into photography, tech, business, or the arts, there’s something here for everyone.

From the innovative solutions at Creative ID Co. to the impactful initiatives at Shirley’s Fund, you’ll get an inside look at all of Charlie’s projects and advice.

We’ll share insights, stories, and much more, straight to your inbox.

Come, be part of our community and never miss a moment from our creative adventures!