After several years of hardship, pain and unhappiness, things had begun to feel like they were getting better. I had a good job doing the thing I had advocated for so many years to so many companies. We lived in a lovely house in a great and picturesque location and all of our kids were happy.
Losing my job came as a huge surprise. I will admit that I didn’t like the job nor was I comfortable with what I was being asked to do, as the resources at my disposal were incredibly limited and support, though always promised, was never truly forthcoming. Part of me rejoiced as I sat listening to my boss trying to justify why he was sacking me but that part of me was drowned out by the part of me screaming “I said you weren’t good enough… I said you couldn’t be happy and shouldn’t get comfortable!” and “I told you this would happen!”
The thing was that I had been expecting it, not because I wasn’t doing a good job or that I wasn’t capable, but because that voice of self-doubt was always so convincing. They call it imposter syndrome, where you find it difficult to believe that you are worthy or good enough to be in the position you are. The fact I had worked incredibly hard for over twenty years building my knowledge and experience to where I was acknowledged by the man now sacking me as the most knowledgeable person in my discipline in the entire group. But these were other people’s opinions, and I don’t hold much weight by those.
So, holding back the tears, I accepted my dismissal without complaint or animosity. After all, what could I do to change his opinion? I sent a couple of emails as I cleared any data I had saved from my laptop and OneDrive account (I leave nothing I have created behind, as why should they have access to my knowledge if they won’t pay me for it!). Ten minutes later I had switched off my laptop for the last time, leaving it on my soon to be old desk, before saying my goodbyes to those in the office I knew. I had only been at the company for a year, so the shocked looks on the faces of those I said goodbye to were a surprise to me.
Clearly, no one knew this was coming!
On the drive home, I called my wife to let her know I was on my way home. I had messaged her immediately following the news as she also worked for the same company, and I didn’t want her to panic or think her job was in danger. I held back the tears again while talking to her, saying I wasn’t bothered as I didn’t like the job anyway and other such excuses and reasons for me not being outwardly upset.
In truth, I was devastated! Not because I had lost my job or the career, I had been promised within the business but because once again I had let down my family. Where was the money going to come from for the bills? Who would pay for food and other necessities we had come to enjoy such as the occasional, or regular, take away or the streaming services we watch and enjoy. My wife’s salary is not going to cover these outgoings and even if we are fortunate enough to get a decent universal credit uplift, we would still be short of the amount we would need to pay all our bills.
Yes, I had let everyone down.
The days that followed were internally dark. I maintained the outward blasé attitude to the circumstances, assuring any who asked that it wasn’t a big deal. I would get a job quickly and I didn’t like that role anyway. In truth, I know my role is incredibly rare.
The business who hired me had done so during a time of transitional change from traditional means of information management to a more holistic digital strategy. They had realised during my tenure that they were, in truth, not ready for the level of change both culturally and to their systems and processes to meet the targets the set me. Which is why they let me go.
Now I am a person with a CV that screams senior management and a list of achievements and knowledge areas that come at a cost. There were few roles out there could cover this or businesses who are at the point where someone of my skill set and expertise is wanted. Truthfully, change is a slow process and businesses look internally for candidates who know their ways and understand their business and ways of working to manage this sizeable change, especially where it involves the culture of the business itself!
So where am I left? I am applying for jobs I am overqualified for and that won’t pay what my knowledge and experience deserve, but such is life, right?
Three weeks after leaving, I have been working hard to understand social media marketing for my books. I have also commissioned a professional design company to create a new book cover for Father of Storms as the ones I have used haven’t had the intended impact on readers being hooked on the cover enough to click on my book and then buying themselves a copy. I have also realised that I still love to write. My dream is to be a writer and be paid for the work I do. The saying that if you enjoy your job, then you’ll never do a day’s work in your life is true. So, I committed to making writing something I would focus on. This is my dream, so I will work to make it a reality.
Weeks passed with little to no interaction then in June something amazing happened. My books began to sell... in their thousands! Somehow, somewhere, something had happened, and the result was people were seeing my work and buying it. 360,000 copies of my books sold within a month. Reviews poured in with ecstatic readers waxing lyrical about their enjoyment of my stories. Life had made a turn towards happiness at last.
Two weeks into August, I received an email from a literary agent who had read my books and wanted to meet with me to discuss representation. They also mentioned they had spoken with a friend who was keen to make a T.V. show out of one of my stories and, given his connection with the producer, I would be best placed to let him sort out the deal for me.
Following my meeting, I was heading home on the train and my head spun with the craziness of the last few hours. Less than six months after almost losing hope, I had signed a deal with a literary agent and a deal for my book to be made into a 6-part drama on Netflix.
Writing is now my life and full-time passion. It is not a job of work, it is a hobby I love to do that just so happens to pay for my new house, cars and holidays. I still have that voice of self-doubt, but it is a mere whisper compared to the bellowing cacophony of gratitude and thankfulness that I feel every day.
I am glad I didn’t give up on my dream. Glad that I stayed strong in the face of impending financial, emotional, and mental distress because without that belief, that faith that I would succeed, that my stories would be loved I don’t know where I would be now. Most of all I am thankful that I was sacked because it is that which soured me to action, gave me a reason to focus on my dreams and rekindled my belief that I am good enough and my stories will touch people.
Never give up on your dreams, always work purposefully towards them even when it looks bleak or feels like it won’t happen. Remember to have faith. They say Faith can move mountains, well for me it kept me moving towards the thing I love and delivered me from a darkness I may not have escaped.