Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Finding fulfillment after failure


I've always thought writing was my talent, my calling, and the way I would earn a living.   After nine years in newspapers, I transitioned to the marketing and corporate writing world, and my plans fell apart.  I was let go from two jobs in the span of seven months.  Even though both dismissals were due to budget cuts and changing needs, I still took it personally.

I felt like my writing skills weren't good anymore.
I felt disposable.
I felt lost.

As I searched for a new job, I tried to find another writing or communications role, but they were few and far between.  I applied for all the ones I saw and liked, but there wasn't much interest from those companies.

My confidence slipped further.
Maybe I really wasn't a good writer.
Worse ... maybe I wasn't a desirable employee.

I widened my net to include any job I thought I could do and make enough to pay my bills.  As I neared the end of my financial cushion, I connected with a staffing agency who helped me land an entry-level loan servicing position.  Even though I was glad to have a paycheck coming in again, I was a little embarrassed to be taking what I considered to be a huge step back in my professional life.

I didn't even update facebook with my new job.  Part of the reason for that is because this is a temp-to-hire job, meaning there are no guarantees I'll be there very long, but a significant part also has to do with my perceived failure. I'm no longer using my degree or the skills I thought I had honed to a high level. I believed I had let people down.  I believe I had let myself down. I believed I had given up on my dreams and everything I always wanted.

But what you want isn't always what you need.
Sometimes you have to fail to let go of something that isn't working.
As Stephen Kellogg sings, "Sometimes the best thing that can happen is you take a punch in the face."

It's taken some time, but my feeling of failure has finally passed.

My new job suits me quite well. I like my co-workers (most of them anyway).  I like being busy all day long.  I like seeing my numbers from the previous day.  I like the constant stream of praise from my supervisors about my production level.  I like feeling useful. 

I never imagined I'd be doing the work I am now, but sometimes that's the way life goes.  I haven't completely given up on my writing.  Actually, I think working in a non-creative field will actually help my writing because that part of my brain won't be drained every night when I come home.  I still plan to work on novels in my free time, and I'd like to find some freelance writing opportunities in my community. I'm working on that.

In the meantime, I'm content with where I am, and I'm thankful to be able to pay my bills.

Are you working in (or toward) your dream job?
How did you decide when a job was right for you?
Have you had a drastic job change?


  1. I can relate to this post a lot. I feel like a failure because the job I'm in right now is NOT going well, and it's definitely not where I should be. I haven't posted about all the details, but I am very close to the end of that chapter in my career. And the truth is, I don't know what I want to do with my life, really!! I've done a lot of thinking, and I *think* I know what the next step is, but I'm afraid to take it. I need to just jump in and take a risk, but it's hard. It would definitely be a big change from what I'm doing now, so hopefully it all works out.

    But I'm glad you've gotten that feeling of failure out of the way! That's a horrible feeling to have and it's not easy to enjoy your current job when you have that feeling.

  2. Did you see Ashton Kutcher on the Teen Choice Awards? How he said that he was never too good for any job he ever did? I've thought of that as I went back to substitute teaching this week. It's insulting and it hurts...to know that I hold a professional teaching certification and 3 years experience in a state I'll never teach in again. But, I have to do what I have to do, right? I've gone back and forth with this..feeling like a total failure (trust me, I understand you!), but it is what it is.

  3. I applaud you for working so hard for your dream. I definitely took the practical route and put my dreams on hold, and am only now coming back to them. Be proud of the road you're taking towards your dream. It's not a straight road, and there will be pitfalls, but each "failure" is a chance to learn and grow and become even better than you could have possibly imagined. (Was this too cheesy? It's true, but maybe cheesy. Sorry ;))


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