The road map of life gives us countless avenues, U-turns, alleys, side streets, ol’ dirt roads, highways, exit ramps, bypasses, detours, overpasses, fast lanes, railroad crossings, pit stops, and forks in the road. We’ve all hit a fork in the road in our lives at some point. Some more than others. I hit one recently. A pretty big one, at that. It’s going to change how I spend most of my time. I lost my job. I guess there’s a first time for everything. I always have a plan, a backup plan, and even a Plan C. Just in case. I’m a planner. It’s what I do. It’s how I operate. My anxiety is mostly worrying about the future.. because the future is unknown, unpredictable, and scary.
I gotta admit.. I was blindsided. Hell, I’m still recovering from whiplash. Luckily, the damage that’s been done hasn’t diagnosed me as totaled. I’ve been given a severance package, which is nice. I will receive a payout for my unused PTO. Awaiting to hear whether I will receive my bonuses I earned/accumulated from last year. Pretty sure I won’t, which sucks! I keep forcing myself to focus on the positive and be thankful for how this ended. I’m fortunate to have such a strong support system in my life. Sure, the road flares are lighting up the dark night sky; but my air bags deployed properly, my hazard warning lights are flashing, and my road crew is taking care of me.
I first spoke of my job in my first blog post:
“For the past five years, I’ve been desperately craving a creative outlet because my day job, while it has great benefits and flexibility, is at an IT company that I find monotonous; however provides me the luxury of ample spare time to express myself outside of the cookie cutter IT world.”
Maybe this is my opportunity to explore creative positions the world has to offer.. well, at least in the metropolitan area. I am open to a remote position where I can work from home. With the way technology is advancing nowadays, remote positions seem to be more common than not. I theorize, someday soon, if we must report to the office or meet a client that our presence will strictly be in hologram form.
In Kindergarten, I was assigned a project where I had to lay down on a large sheet of paper, trace my body outline, and draw/color in my future-grown-up-self. The stereotypical “What do you want to be when you grow up?” assignment that every kid in the world is asked at some point in their young lives. Most kids’ answers were: firefighter, rock star, athlete, veterinarian, astronaut, president, etc. Nope, not me. I wanted to be a Planeteer. Specifically, Linka who had a magical ring that could create and/or manipulate the element, Wind. I have cared about the environment from a very young age because my parents recycled way before it was the “cool” thing to do. I’m proud to say that I’ve never littered in my life and don’t intend to.
Interesting how kids’ answers change throughout their young lives because they are asked that stereotypical question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” over and over. I remember changing my answer several times. I wanted to be a Veterinarian once when we got our first pet, a black and white bunny named Oreo. I believe I changed my mind about that career path because I couldn’t stomach blood or putting an animal down.
I remember briefly wanting to be a singer in junior high. We had a guest speaker in our Health class, they tricked us into thinking that our answers would be confidential and placed in a time capsule for however many years. I thought.. I had a good voice, but now.. I’m sure it’s only good enough for karaoke, haha.. Disney karaoke, specifically! I highly recommend visiting the bar formerly known as Video Archive, now known as Tiki, where they have Disney Karaoke on the last Thursday of every month.
I was not fond of being forced to take a Study Hall period in junior/high school because we weren’t allowed to talk or get up from our seats whatsoever. I volunteered to work at the Library as an assistant in lieu of study hall. That was where my love of reading and books skyrocketed! I thoroughly enjoyed organizing, alphabetizing, and categorizing books on shelves. Creating displays, coordinating events, and interacting with faculty/students. This is where I obtained my exceptional skill of multi-tasking! I wanted to be a Librarian! I’d love to be a Librarian today. I happen to know a couple librarians and they rock! You know who you are!
I decided to accompany my junior/high school classmate to try out for our school’s dance team. This classmate was one of those people who couldn’t go anywhere or do anything by herself. She didn’t drag me there, but I wouldn’t have tried out on my own. So, in a way I thank her for helping me discover my love of dance! I tried out and made the team! I had never done any formal training before, so I was quite surprised to say the least!
I remember one pep rally; our Dance Coach couldn’t attend for whatever reason so the Cheerleading Coach stepped in to assist the Dance Team during our performance. I was super nervous, as I always was before any routine in front of whatever size audience. The Cheerleading Coach decided to turn us a different way, away from the bleachers, and toward the Freshmen class (including the marching band). These were my people. My Freshmen class. Some friends of mine cheered us on. Cheered me on. It helped shake my nerves, so.. I just let loose. Put it all out on the floor.
The crowd was ROARING! I think it also helped that our routine was the longest one in our arsenal and.. it had a lot of pelvic thrusts and booty shakin’ moves. When we changed formation positions, I noticed the other girls weren’t really putting their all into each move and their facial expressions weren’t lively or animated. This made me feel good that the crowd’s positive, loud response was most likely for me. My theory was proven to be correct after our performance as I tried to leave the gymnasium. I had several of my classmates, some I knew and some I did not, come up to me, pat me on the back and compliment me on my dancing skills. I felt a little taller as I walked down the hall. Made me feel good.
Then.. the Cheerleading Coach (who coached our undefeated National Champion Cheerleading Squad) came up to me and asked if we could speak in private. I always initially have that stomach dropping moment where I feel like I’m in trouble and am being sent to the “Principal’s Office,” even though nine times out of ten, I haven’t done anything wrong. She asked me if I was interested in transferring over to the Cheerleading Squad! I. Could. Not. Believe. It. What a compliment! I knew the majority of the Cheerleaders were having issues landing their back handsprings. They were having issues with gymnastics, in general.. and that was hurting their squad. They were losing their edge.. and of course, increasing their chance of losing their undefeated title in the upcoming championships. I politely declined because I did not know how to do a back handspring or any gymnastic move for that matter. Also, my cheering voice was not great, haha.. She seemed disappointed, but I knew it was the right decision.
Even though dance was a short-lived experience in my adolescent life, I did want to be a Dancer when I grew up (not so much anymore since my knees gave out on me, haha..). Being a Dancer was up there on the list. Right next to Librarian. If you’ve read my first blog post, Once Upon a Blog, (go on, click it.. read it, I’ll wait.. I got all the time in the world now.. #FUNemployment); I talk about how I developed my passion for creative writing and photography, which spawned into my Graphic Design college major. I like to think that I am a creative person all around who has to wear many hats. Graphic Design includes being your own photographer, creative writer, web designer, social media specialist, print designer, etc.
I was apprehensive to publicly share my career setback this week, however, am glad I took the risk because I think humility can be a compelling attribute. I admire those who possess and share this quality. I hope the next time you hit a fork in the road and you just can’t seem to make it safely over to the shoulder; know that your road crew will be there for you: previous colleagues, professors, classmates, and/or family members. It’s important to network til you land on your feet. “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” -Proverb. Trust that you are not alone. Please share your fork in the road stories in the comments. I’m interested to hear about them!