On a typical Friday evening, I sat down on my sofa to check my work e-mail to pick and plan my next script. I read these words:
Unfortunately, our proofreaders told me that they very often return your scripts and re-write a lot. I’m really sorry, but I don’t think we’ll be able to keep working together. I wish you all the best on other projects! You can create Custom Work, and we’ll pay you for your scripts.
Thinking I had misunderstood, I read them again. I called my husband and asked him to come downstairs to help me with something. I handed him my laptop and proceeded to stare at our wall in disbelief. He quickly read the message under his breath.
“Is it what I think it is?” I asked, halfway hoping that I missed something and my understanding of the message was completely off. He sighed, and said, “Yes.”
It typically takes me time to respond to big news, good or bad. The process usually goes as follows: I receive said news, file it away temporarily, and then it comes flooding to the surface at the most inconvenient times: when I am alone, with no one to console me, or when I am at church or another place surrounded by people.
This time was different. After realizing that I had just been fired from a job for the first time in my life, the tears immediately fell strongly and quickly, making it hard for me to see, much less talk. I had so many questions. The loss of a job I held for two months sent me into a tailspin of grief within 24 hours: I was in shock for about 5 minutes, sad for nearly 3 hours and then angry the next day.
I was short with my husband and children, completely irritated that I was in this situation, not fully understanding why things had transpired the way they did without so much as a warning.
The Writing on the Wall
When I first decided to apply for this writing job that seemingly fell from the sky (my cousin sent me the job description via messenger), I had a strong feeling that I would get it. In the world of writing, rejection is common and often occurs more than successes. Still, I knew this was it; this job was going to be mine. And it was.
I tuned out my husband when he asked, “Do you think you’ll be able to swing 1,400 words a day?” as was stated in the original job description, and pressed on, thrilled at the idea of finally being paid to write. I was going to do whatever it took to make it work.
I chalked up my feelings of not being sure about certain aspects of the company, and not being excited about some of the writing assignments, to the newness of the job. I was only a few weeks in, so certainly my learning curve would lessen and I would get the hang of things, right?
A Full Circle
Immediately after speaking with my husband, I called my mom. I knew she had experienced job loss, oddly enough, when she was close to my age– nearing 40. I was in my sophomore year of college when the largest retailer in our city let her go after 20 years of service. I received a letter from her, then, that she had written while processing on the beach.
Then 20 years old, with the world as my oyster, I felt terribly for her and prayed. It wasn’t until Friday, November 1st, of 2019, though, that I had a small inkling of what it must have felt like for her.
“I’m so sorry,” I choked out in between sobs, “that I didn’t know what it was like for you.”
She told me not to worry, and together we remembered how she had walked all alone, her office belongings in a box, down the long corridor to her car when she was told her services were no longer needed.
Through My Son’s Eyes
Life doesn’t stop when someone is grieving. The very next morning, after receiving the dreaded news, I accompanied my son to his most recent Taekwondo test. I sat on the bleacher with many other parents and guardians, watching the process of about 50 students get promoted to their next belt.
During one of the sessions, participants spar against each other while wearing full fighting gear (a helmet, gloves, shin guards and boots). My firstborn fought against a formidable opponent who showed no mercy. He swung, multiple times, at the sides of Jack’s head. Confident in getting out of tough situations, my son kept moving around, quick on his feet. But the boy wouldn’t stop, and I could tell with each blow, Jack grew more and more discouraged.
Eyes wide with apprehension and slightly teary-eyed at the end of that round, he searched for me through his helmet. Holding back my own tears, I gave him a confident thumbs up and nodded, as if to say, “You’re okay. You’re going to make it. You need to see this through.”
The irony was not lost on me. This is my life right now, I thought. I tucked the illustration away in my heart, remembering who and, more importantly, Whose, I am. My faith reminds me that this job simply was not meant for me, and in the grand scheme of things, this will be but a scratch on the surface. Has it been difficult? Yes. Has it been humbling? Absolutely, face down in the dirt humbling.
Already I have seen great lessons learned from this tragedy, and I give thanks for the opportunity. Like past lessons and those yet to come, I will dust myself off fully, slowly get up and keep moving forward. It’s what every child does when they know they are fiercely loved by a good, good Father.