Nah, I’m Good, I’ll Keep Reading…
Joining The Evil Empire:
My final paycheck, a modest stipend, and my mother’s disability check were the only sources of income my family had. My brother decided to move out (since he was of age, no other reason), so we didn’t have his income anymore. We still had rent, 2 car payments, 2 insurance premiums, and not to mention our daily needs.
Even when I had a full-time job, I was drowning. Health insurance, taxes, and my 401k devoured my mediocre paycheck. Normally, I’d be in panic mode, worrying about where my next loaf of bread would come from.
Instead, I took my unemployment in stride. I smiled more than I’ve done in the past three years. My friends no longer felt pity for me, but envied me.
Looking back, this was my first “paid” month off since graduating from high school with an A.A. Degree.
My first two weeks of freedom consisted of:
- Quit the Gym (no money, no runny)
- Stared at the wall quietly, and daydream
But, here are some things I quit:
- My antidepressants
- Beer & Wine
- Crying myself sick on Sunday nights
While my brain took a vacation from stress, I decided to look for work (very contradictory). As an intelligent, 21-year-old insurance professional, with three years of customer service experience, an A.A. Degree, fantastic writing skills, and a calm demeanor in hectic situations, finding work’s a piece of cake.
I hopped on Indeed.com, Monster.com and other job sites. Instead of going back to insurance, I searched for a new exciting career:
- A histologist (didn’t know what it was)
- A creative writer at a firm in Tampa
- A number of marketing jobs in Tampa Bay
- A couple of county and city jobs.
No pulse. No response to my perfectly crafted resume.
Did all the things you’re supposed to do when you send out your resume:
- Cold calls
- Follow-up emails
- Create a cover letter that would make the POTUS proud
Still nothing. Until the following week, an interview popped-up in my inbox. Success! It was in the bag. Oh wait, it’s a phone interview. Okay, no problem. It took twenty minutes to realize, I blew it.
Keep at it girl.
Onto the next one.
Next interview was face-to-face. A similar position to the old one. I was polished, prepared, and had copies of resume in hand. The hiring manager laughed at my witty banter. She was impressed by my youth and product knowledge. And, she asked about me exploring different positions within her company. At the end, a much older and therefore experienced candidate got it.
Running out of options (and money), I sat in front of my laptop, depressed again. Maybe, I should just file for unemployment, go to a job fair, and/or try a fast food gig?
Everyone knew, I hated my old job. I didn’t tell them getting fired made me feel worthless. I failed at something I excelled at. My intelligence, charisma, and college experience failed me. How?
The things they told me in my college success classes:
- You need a degree.
- Pursue a career where you’ll make good money.
- Don’t end up like those people who can’t get their life together.
- You can’t fail, if you work hard and do your best.
I bought the hype. Didn’t go to university (couldn’t afford it), but I thought I was on the route to being successful. Like an ancient Israelite slave looking back at Egypt with fondness; I missed my old job.
I followed the rules and kept quiet (for the most part), and still got fired.
But, what would happen if I changed the rules?
Or rather what if I started making the rules and living in my truth?
The week of my failed interview, I went to my best friend’s house. Her mother had my belongings from the cubicle. The HR packed my crap in a small copy paper box. Now it sat on the floor in my best friend’s garage.
Forgot to mention, my best friend’s mom was one of the VPs at the company. She understood my plight, they fired a close friend of hers, two years prior. To this day, I still respect her.
I looked through my office supplies. A couple of bobble heads, pens, a ton of torn stress balls, and a copy of a partially edited sci-fi manuscript. Same one I’ve been working on since middle school.
I forgot about it in my desk filing cabinet. How embarrassing!
Read it. Liked it.
I thought my writing was crap, while employed. Now, it wasn’t bad. Wasn’t great, either. Can it be better? Finding the old draft in Google Docs, I decided to re-write it.
On a bright, Tuesday morning, with a 300 page draft completed. I felt accomplished. Just one more job application. At an insurance company. Felt so good, started editing my novel around 11 AM. A heartbeat after sending in my resume, saw a missed call from the company. They wanted to interview me at 2 PM.
I sat down with three managers and a talent recruiter. They asked me about myself. My education. My tutoring gig. My least favorite thing about working. They thanked me for interviewing. This place felt right. I couldn’t believe how nice and genuine everyone was.
After the second interview, they hired me. Meanwhile, I started researching traditional and self-publishing routes for my manuscript.
About my new employer, they are the direct competitor of my former employer. Former co-workers referred to this company as “The Evil Empire”. I started my perfect job 25 days after getting fired. My new company’s motto: In order to put client’s first, you need to put your employees’ first.
I proudly, joined the Dark Side.
To Be Continued…