This morning I lost my job. I lost my job in one of those ways that makes you reconsider everything. Your life. Your career. Your decisions. Your degree. Your talent. Your capabilities. I sat in my car, two boxes of things in my backseat, and thought, "I am 29-years-old, and I have no idea what I'm doing."
A year-and-a-half ago this was my dream job. Life just happened. All the good things I waited so patiently for fell in my lap. I felt complete. Successful. Ready. Now I have a year-and-a-half of experience and office tchotchkes sitting in a box in my backseat. I don't know what I do with those things. I didn't get to say goodbye to the people I spent nearly every day with for a year-and-a-half. I didn't want to say goodbye to some of those people.
The job and I didn't fit. I wanted it to fit for so long. I tried, I failed, I tried harder, I still failed. In the end. I came into the position with an entirely different background than the industry I was jumping into, but I had hope. I excelled in the area I have talent, but flailed in the areas where I lacked experience. In the end, reality won. And now my reality just sucker-punched me in the face.
This morning I drove myself to work, and this afternoon I just sat on hold with unemployment for 17 minutes only to find out there is nothing they can do for me until I am officially off the payroll and benefits of the place that just let me go. Unemployment has welcomed me with its arms crossed. To the rest of you unemployed folks, I wave, begrudgingly, and take hesitant steps in your direction.
What do I do now? Journalism was my career of choice when I was young and naive, and when "journalist" was still a viable career choice. The job I just had was fantastic, but its intricacies were just out of my grasp. I felt like I was forever running to catch up to something that wouldn't let me catch it. So what does that make me? Where do I go? Where do I belong? I don't want to believe that I'm not talented. But what the hell am I?
That's a hard question to answer when you're defeated, crying and eating cake on the couch at 11:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. Panic gripped me when I looked at a near-empty gas tank and realized to fill it would suck my checking account even more dry than it already is, and that's a well that's now going to stay pretty dry. My refrigerator is near empty. Except for that cake. I curled up on my bed for about 48 seconds and let myself cry as hard as I could, but then like the good, little grownup I'm trying to be, I forced myself up and out and into action, updating my resume, my LinkedIn profile, and contacting the people I know who can be of help.
So here I am, Internet. Is this Square One? I'm scared of it.