When was the last time you took a loss and how did you handle it? Hopefully it was more graceful than my eating cold cuts in my underwear while trying to solve the crimes in Law and Order more quickly than Olivia Benson.
In May 2017, I was fortunate enough to have secured a position as Director of Social Media at an advertising agency a mere three days after graduating. I was proud of myself for the first time in a while and felt like things were finally falling into place for me. Life was finally starting to get easy.
Then, I started work. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I was brought in to create a social department for a company that didn’t fully understand what social media could achieve. I was under-qualified in a position where I was I was forced to act like I knew what the hell I was talking about. They don’t teach you in college how not to make an ass of yourself when the CEO puts you on the spot and asks you questions in front of the whole company. Most of the time I fumbled through my answers, praying that they would make sense. Michael Scott once said, “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” I never related more to that man in my life and it’s a scary thought when Michael Scott becomes your role model.
Message: Come into my office
“We’re letting you go.”
A five word email followed by a five word statement. The rosy world-view established seven months prior that had been crumbling was finally smashed.
“Where am I going?” was the first thought that popped into my head. I’m out of a job. I am unemployed. A million thoughts raced through my head and my stomach sank to my butt. I was escorted to my cubicle to clean out my things and the only thing going through my head was the song End of the Road by Boyz II Men.
What do you do when life doesn’t go to plan and how the hell do you file for unemployment? Seriously, why don’t they teach you this stuff in college? Why don’t you learn practical life things like “Checkbook Calculus” and “Embracing a Quarter Life Crisis 101”.
The first week of unemployment was filled with depression and self doubt. The second week was cold cuts and racing Olivia Benson. They say life imitates art; like a true millennial, my life imitates memes. My life had become the meme of the dog saying “this is fine” while being consumed by fire.
Maybe it was the depression talking, or maybe it was listening to All Star by Smash Mouth for the 27th time, but the lyrics were starting to make sense. “You’ll never know if you don’t go, you’ll never shine if you don’t glow.” I was so focused on what had gone wrong that I couldn’t see the silver lining to this all. I wasn’t living to my full potential at that job. Maybe being let go was actually for the best.
Now, I could sit here and list off a bunch of clichés to make you feel warm and happy inside, but that’s not life. Life is real and ugly and messy. Life is unpredictable and wonderful and short. Unemployment has been one of the most eye opening experiences for me. There is light, even in the darkest of times (and yeah I think without realizing it I just paraphrased a Harry Potter quote but JK Rowling is wise as hell and I stand by what I said).
Highs need lows, lights need darks and maybe you have to appreciate the bad times in order to have some perspective on the good times.
Here’s to the good times, a new job and a better perspective on the things to come.