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.