I Lost A Supposedly Cool Job And Gained An Actually Cool Life

The Devil Wears Prada
The Devil Wears Prada

I was unbelievably, unheard-of lucky to find a job immediately after graduating college, especially with a writing degree.

I used a connection left over from a part-time college job and what little networking skills I’ve picked up to land a six-month temporary position at a very cool, very Silicon Valley online clothing retailer based in my home city. And I was ecstatic about it, despite that daunting “TEMP” label that glared at me from the end of my job title. I was ecstatic in a cocky, I-told-you-so-Dad, creative major kind of way.

A week ago, that six-month contract ran out and my cockiness left me blind to the deadline, until my boss pulled me into a conference room and told me that my job had run its course, so to speak. So to very passive aggressively speak. I cleared my desk in stunned silence.

I’m not going to say that I didn’t freak out about being suddenly 23 and jobless, with rent due in a week and a pile of college loans to pay. I’m not going to say that I didn’t cry in my car in the dark alley behind my apartment, call my mom, consume an obscene amount of Thai food and red wine. I did all of those things, I certainly freaked out, but a few days later I realized that I didn’t really freak the fuck out. In a weird way, my freak out was almost productive. It was almost a little stimulating.

I realized that I was more upset about surface details — money, feeling caught off guard, finding a new job — rather than losing the job itself. I knew that what I had been doing wasn’t writing, which is what I’d always dreamed I’d be doing, but I convinced myself that because I loved the company, I also loved the job. Not so. I found myself daydreaming about finding a job with more creative freedom, more to “sink my teeth into” (as college teachers and also douchebags say), more writing, when I should have been sad about my job ending, which made me realize the job wasn’t right for me to begin with.

I contacted anyone and everyone who I had been in contact with in the past, through internships, jobs, even chance encounters, who seemed like they were doing something that I wanted to be doing. I was hesitant at first, but it seemed like everyone I spoke to was excited to help, like they all wanted to do as much as they could with what they had to give me guidance. I realized that I should have kept in contact with these people all along.

I went a little crazy. I drank a lot of wine, I danced like a maniac with no regard for my alarm clock, I couch surfed at friends’ apartments in New York City for no apparent reason. But everything that I did felt good, really good, like things I had wanted to do all along.

This is the change I needed, even if it came sooner than I was ready for. Now I just need to harvest this manic, terrifying excitement into something productive. Here’s to new beginnings (and likely a lot more wine). TC mark

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