When I say I want to be a writer, often people will make a comment about going into journalism and after seeing my facial expression they’ll say something along the lines “oh… so like books or something?”
I took and loved Yearbook/ Journalism class in high school. Except I hated the Journalism part. Making the layouts was fun, I was gladly responsible for all the multimedia presentations, and I liked collecting the quotes and write-ups from my grad class. I was even on the cover of the yearbook in my grade twelve year, which won an award for being the best yearbook in Canada. But it definitely was not because of my double page spread on the Junior Boys Basketball Team. I had severe anxiety over talking to these boys that were my younger brother’s age. Many of them were his friends, or my friends’ brothers. Some had been to my house and I’d been to theirs. But even the thought of interviewing them left me me waking up from anxiety nightmares for weeks. I know, not logical but- moral of the story, I like making them up. Stories that is. I am not on the search for the next hard hitting news headline and I have no desire to be “live on the scene”.
I don’t like causing conflict or controversy. I live for little pleasures, making people laugh or smile and keeping things copacetic. I don’t often stand up for myself and take the punches as they come at me. I can deal with it. It’s fine. Don’t worry about me.
I started my job as a receptionist in September 2012. And I took it seriously. I made it my goal to get to know the clients and “win them over”. My desperate need to be liked by everyone is something only T.J. Detweiler would truly understand.
And I did. Turns out I am excellent with remembering names and faces. I worked twenty-six hours spread between three days. An average of ninety clients came in each day, most of whom would return every three or four weeks. Hundreds of people would pass through those doors and I could greet almost every one by name, usually asking about their babies or puppies when applicable. This past Christmas I made enough in tips alone to buy an iPod. I could hear them praise me to my bosses. I would get Christmas presents and tips and had many a Starbucks drink purchased for me. I was good at my job. I was great with the clients. I liked being liked.
This is where the seeming irrelevant story I started this post with comes in. I don’t ever want to cause conflict and I don’t want to throw people under the bus. But I put up with a lot. It got to the point where I would have minor panic attacks when going to work or whenever I received a phone call or text message from my employers. I sat at that front desk for three days last summer despite having an orbital cellulitis infection (don’t click the link if you’re squeamish), and had to laugh it off when a girl asked if she needed to “beat up the guy who did that” to me. I worked nineteen full days straight the summer before.
During the three years of working there, I also went to school full time. I’m going to be pretty forward when I say I don’t like school. I took classes that were interesting and I did pretty well but I was never excited to sit down and pull out a notebook in a classroom. Until last semester I took my first Publishing course. Publication of Self in Everyday Life focused on individuals publishing through a blog and with social media. The course was the first class I have ever received an A+ in and I honestly looked forward to going to every lecture (even though I had to wake up at 6:45 to make it on time).
As the semester ended and I had picked out my classes for January, working around my work schedule as always, I found myself staring at the course info for a continuation of the publishing class I had just finished. I hadn’t considered it before because it was on a day that I usually worked. I really wanted to take it, considering entering the Publishing Program and taking classes that I actually 100% enjoyed. After excessively stressing out, I asked at work if it would be okay to change my schedule to just working two days a week starting in January. I was told it would be fine.
Great! I joined the class, finalized my schedule and paid for the upcoming semester.
When I went back to work the next week, there was a sign on the door saying they were hiring. For the days I always worked.
I asked what was going on and was told they wouldn’t be able to fill the position without giving the other two days I worked as well. I asked if I needed to start looking for another job and was told yes.
This past Saturday at the end of the day I was told they found a replacement. That was it. My employment ended. I worked for people that despite everything, I genuinely cared about: them, their families, their business. After almost three and a half years: no sorry, no thank you, no good-bye.
So, for the first time since 2012 I am unemployed. It’s a weird feeling and I am having to make some changes to my lifestyle to accommodate my new lack of income. My long-term committed relationship to Starbucks is on uncertain terms as I near the end of the gift cards I received for Christmas and while the single $15 Tim Hortons gift card I got goes a lot farther (when I remember to bring it with me), my steeped teas are now numbered.
It’s hard not to be hurt, or angry, or bitter but I am working on it. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by people who love and support me regardless. I am taking the things I learned as experience and looking forward.
If you get one thing out of reading this (obnoxiously long) post I hope it involves a lesson on looking out for yourself. Choose what you love and what makes you happy over the expectations and complacency of other people. If you are unhappy or your mental health is suffering because of a person or environment, take yourself out of it. Be your own advocate and protect yourself from things that are damaging to yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. I didn’t do that, but life has done it for me. Everything happens for a reason.
Here’s another cliché for you: When one door closes, another one opens.
Right? I’m counting on it.
While I figure out what to do on the job front, I am focusing on school. I know I am not going to be making a livable income from my blog or social media but I am excited to be in a class that can show me how to brand myself and maybe this will send me in a direction that will open those doors that the cliché mentions. I am excited and hopeful to see where they go.