Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fading to Black

Two weeks before I graduated from college, I received a phone call from the ad agency I interned at asking me to come in for an interview. They were creating a junior copywriter position and thought I might be interested. $30k to write every day?! Heck yes I was interested!

I got the job and spent almost 4 years learning the ropes of agency life. Around year 3, things started to change. Our biggest account was Microsoft and when they made the decision to consolidate their agencies, we were left in the dust…with about $6 million less coming into our office.

I watched coworkers get laid off. It started with higher-ups who were far enough removed from me that it didn’t really sting. But wave after wave, it crept closer. And it began to hurt. Then it hit one of my favorite people in the office.

I had bonded with this guy and several others—spending long lunches with them, hanging out on weekends, even traveling to Vegas to see U2. The thought of not seeing him every day broke my heart.

Slowly, the unraveling continued and eventually I was laid off. I felt somewhat relieved—I was ready to work for new clients. But I also found myself mourning my past life. Change didn’t agree with me.

On an almost visceral level, I missed the carefree days at the agency. When we could get ice cream after lunch and throw a super ball around my office. I missed the feeling that everything was right and okay. I missed being excited and having fun on a daily basis. The halcyon days had faded to black.

I’m the first to tell the people around me that change is a good thing.

“With it comes growth and opportunity.”

“When I was laid off, I wrote a manuscript for a novel.”

“It was the greatest four months of my life.”

The truth is, I also cried a lot.

I’m at a point again where change is crowding in around me. The stable life I knew last year is rocking back and forth, preparing to go topsy turvy like a pendulous theme park ride. And I don’t want it to. I don’t want to grieve for the good days gone by. I don’t want my heart to ache because I miss old coworkers. I don’t want to sense the prickles of fear that the fresh, limitless sense I had with Mr. Wonderful has given way to familiarity and a need to shelve the romance and focus on the logistics of our future.

The past few weeks of ups and downs have left me feeling like the dance floor I was waltzing across has fallen away, board by board. Change is after me. And I’m scared. I don’t want to get off my tiny square of hardwood because I know it so well. I know the dance I was doing made me happy. And the thought of learning new steps just makes me want to cry.

12 comments:

The Coconut Diaries said...

It sucks to have the life you've created, especially if it's one you love, change. But you're a trooper. You're the woman who looks at a challenge, a marathon, a new relationship straight in the eye and says "Bring it on!" If being amazing was easy, everyone would do it. GOOD LUCK!!

BTW- You made $30K at your first job?? You were rich! That's right, you don't work in Education so you actually got compensated for your degree. My bad.

Mermanda said...

Aw, I'm sorry. I hope everything works out for the best.

Nilsa said...

Times they are a changing. I think even for those people where nothing really changes that everything is changing. No one feels safe. No one feels immune. Everyone feels like the world around them is rocky. Just remind yourself, no matter what happens, you will pull through. And you will look back on this time with wonderment about what the human body and mind can do.

Mandy's Kidding said...

Thank you for writing this. It's good to not feel alone.

And you will be fine. I think you told me the same thing ...

;-)

Alysha said...

Completely understandable, but the new squares hold new dances and new adventures, possibly more tears as well, but the future is going to be good for you. I know it!

varietyisthespice said...

Being in my 3rd job this year, I totally understand! It's like the ground beneath your feet keep shifting and you just want to hold onto SOMETHING you know. It all drifts back into place eventually. Take it from the girl that absolutely fears change, but for whatever reason, keeps going after it...

-Jane

Anonymous said...

There is a Buddhist teaching that "the only way beyond is directly through." It seems pretty basic and straightforward until you recognize how often we fight against challenges and change rather than meet them head on and deal with them. Experiencing changes, both good and bad, should surely signal one very important thing to you...you're living!

brookem said...

i hear you, woman.
some days i absolutely CRAVE change. others i am scared to death of it.

Semicharmed said...

I too hate change, especially this kind of change. While this change may seem impossible now, who knows a couple years later it could be the best change ever.

Michael C said...

Boy do I get what you are laying down!!! I worked at an agency that was carefree just like that! I still miss being there to this day. And, I found out late last week that I lost my job because of a medical leave technicality...

I wish, actually I pray, for the very best for you. I am very glad that I get to consider you as a new friend I have made this past year! Hang in there, ok!!!!!!

Dingo said...

I don't mind change when it's carefully planed, fine tuned, meticulously orchestrated, and fail safe. The kind of change you are talking about scares me to death. However, it's been the change that I can't control that's had the biggest payoff whether it's been in jobs, relationships, or my personal growth.

Hold on, girl! Change is coming your way but I have no doubt that everything is going to be okay.

Laura said...

Well, at least it's not change that is thrust at you, at least you have time to mull over it's imminent arrival. Nothing worse than unexpected change.

Keep dancing, just on a different square.