Life is always full of surprises. Sometimes they are good surprises, like free coffees on your birthday, a toy prize in the cereal box, or when that first date you went on on a whim turns into something much more exciting. Sometimes they aren’t so good, like when you are excited about your career because the company has let you take on more and more responsibility in the office and then you get laid off due to “budget cuts” instead of the promotion you were hoping for (I mean, they love your work and think you’re a great employee but the corporate office in New York just can’t handle the financial responsibility of running a company and you’re the one who’s going to have to take a fall for the team so they can make the books look better by the end of quarter).
If my examples feels a little too specific, it might be because I recently experienced ALL of it. My career since graduating college has been full of “leaps of faiths” and “surprises” — both the good and the bad kind. Let’s back up for just a little bit: For anyone who doesn’t know, my professional background is in journalism. I got my start working as a staffer in the “glamours” world of magazines and newspapers before making the leap to freelance work and eventually becoming a staff copywriting job at an advertising agency.
I really enjoyed being a staffer. On top of just liking the work and my coworkers, it felt like it offered a sense of security in what has become a rapidly changing and utterly insecure world. (I’m a liberal living in “Trump’s America” and while I have faith that there are enough people in my country who believe in basic human rights that we can band together to protect those rights, I also believe that Trump’s atrocious economic [and foreign] polices—coupled with the natural rise and fall of economic cycles—will eventually put us in a position of economic hardship not too different than the recession that shaped my 20s. I’d also talk about my concerns on the lasting harm he’s administration is causing to the environment, but that tangent will have to wait for another blog post or I’ll run out time to talk about unemployment.) My plan on accepting a full-time staff job was to stay and advance within the agency for three to five years before (fingers crossed) becoming a full-time blogger, writing a book, and working for myself again.
Sometimes the best things can happen when life doesn’t go according to plan. A couple of weeks ago, my timeline of staying staff for three years got shortened to just a little over one (thank you budget cuts). It was a curve ball for sure, but thanks to decade of post-college life experiences, I had already learned some very valuable lessons that made this unfortunate situation a little easier:
I lost my job and that can be a little scary. The thing in my life that symbolized security wasn’t so secure after all. But life is what you make it. So I decided to take a scary moment in life, where the future feels foggy and mysterious, and turn it into an exciting opportunity to rebuild and focus on my goals.
Fortunately, being laid off actually does have a few perks. First, I got a severance package from the agency that I can use to help get me through the holiday season while and get my started on my next great adventure. Also there is a Self Employment program run through Unemployment that is full of helpful resources for turning hardship into something spectacular. It’s all very exciting! I alway intended to go back into working freelance and for myself again. While I had originally planned on waiting a while to do this, I have an opportunity to do so now—as scary as it is to rebuild my freelance career without the safety net of a regular paycheck while I’m rebuilding, sometime you go to take opportunities whenever you find them.
This means I’m going to spend more time focusing on some of my creative projects, such as the blog, freelance articles, social media campaigns, my book pitch, and a new YouTube series I’m launching in January. (I also have a podcast I’ve been playing around with, so maybe you’ll see that in the future as well.) Additionally I’ll be spending time on more of my traditional freelance work (contract assignments, ghost writing, etc). Building up client work and paid blogging opportunities will be a lot of work, sometime even an overwhelming amount of work. But I also feel really excited for it. For the first time in a while, I feel like I’m actively believing in and investing in myself enough to go after my life goals.
I’m very lucky to have a fantastic support system. My family is very supportive of me (even when my career can be a bit stress inducing) and I have fantastic group of friends who keep me feeling upbeat and positive in the face of shitty situations. As my readers, you can also support me as I make this big career jump in a few very simple ways:
1. You can follow, like, comment and subscribe. If you’re not already, following my Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube channel is a super easy and nearly effortless way to show support (and it helps a lot)! Liking my social posts and leaving comments on my blog posts, Instagram posts, and YouTube videos also helps me out tremendously and let’s me know what content people are enjoying the most. (You can take a step further and even share any of my work with people you think would also enjoy it.)
2. You can sign up for my newsletter in 2019. I’ll be launching a monthly newsletter with updates about what’s new on my blog, on the YouTube, and even news on exciting giveaways I’ll be doing. I understand we all get WAY TOO MANY emails these days and promise to 1) not spam your inbox and 2) keep my newsletter content relevant to you, my readers.
3. Finally for anyone who feels they can give financial support, you can support me through my Patreon page. You can donate as little as $1 per-month with each level of support earning you different perks. All the money raised through my Patreon goes directly into creating better content for you to enjoy—be that investing in better equipment, allowing me to take on more interesting projects, launching a podcast, or creating fun merchandise!
I greatly appreciate any form of support, especially when life is feeling so topsy turvy. The littlest things really can add up to make the biggest differences.
GRETCHEN IS A WRITER-BASED IN PORTLAND, ORE. SHE GOT HER START AS A JOURNALIST WORKING ON THE SUSTAINABLE FASHION AND RESTAURANT BEAT BEFORE MOVING INTO COPYWRITING AND ADVERTISING WORK. SHE CURRENTLY BLOGS AND WORKS AS A FREELANCE WRITER.