It’s a weird feeling when you lose a job you’ve had for so long. After doing something you’ve genuinely enjoyed for multiple years, it’s like losing part of yourself.
All the time spent, the effort put into it, the constant stress of wondering whether or not anything you’ve done is good enough – all of that is gone and while that might seem like a relief, it’s not.
Instead, you’re left on your own to find another gig as soon as you can because, in this day and age, you’re either working freelance or in a deal that means getting unemployment isn’t an option available to you. It also means you have too much time to sit around and do self-analysis.
“Am I any good at this?”
“Have I ever been a good writer?”
“Am I out of touch?”
“Is it time to just pack it up and get out?”
With all the time now afforded to you, those questions never stop and neither does the comparing. You compare yourself to others still dutifully chugging along and wondering what it is you do that makes you not good enough to continue doing what you love. That kind of self-analysis doesn’t do a lot of good when you’re already feeling low about being cut loose.
The strange part about going through all this is keeping track of how often your own identity gets lost in being part of something else. You cease being just your own person – you’re the main guy for that group.
When that happens, it makes scouting around for other work when you know your own foundation is crumbling beneath you a lot more difficult.
It’s something I didn’t really think about in that particular way at the time, but while interviewing for another position the first question I was asked was, “Why in the world do you want to work here?”
Whether it was because they viewed their position as me taking a step down or they thought since I was with the Peacock that I’d be crazy to leave there I don’t know – but it’s that connection with the latter that made me wonder if places who saw that on my résumé figured it meant I’d ask the world of them in salary talks and figured it’s easier to just pass and say “No.”
These are the idle thoughts left behind now that my future is undecided and it’s unpleasant. Something has to fill the void eventually, right?
That’s essentially where I’m at now. A guy with a lot of free time to write and report and not enough outlets to do that. When you’re a writer all you want to do is write. Same goes for reporting. You hear great things being said and you’re busting at the seams to get that out there – you just don’t have a place to do that.
I could do that here but that’s not helping me pay bills. Perhaps it could eventually if it grabs someone’s attention but then it’s back to square one:
“What if I’m not good enough?”
It takes equal parts shameless self-promotion and ability but there’s also a massive amount of good forture, too. That’s how I wound up with the Peacock in the first place after all. Luck can run out and maybe I’ve used all of mine up in other situations and areas of life. I mean, it’s fortunate I’m even here to write this, never mind everything else life offers up.
It probably doesn’t help that I don’t really belong to any particular group. It’s not an unfamiliar way of being for me. In high school there wasn’t a particular clique I belonged to – I was just there. In college, I spent so much time in the media center that that was my social circle. It made sense and it was natural and so many of those people are dear friends to this day.
In the professional world, it’s different. You have a lot of colleagues and plenty of people you’re more friendly with than others. There’s even some people you just can’t stand though and the feeling is likely mutual, but that’s never a hindrance, it just is.
There are cliques though and that’s just not really something I’ve fallen into. Maybe that’s to my own detriment, but it is what it is. Maybe that comes from not being as open as others, but something it does do is limits your support system.
Being a writer means always doing things on your own, but there are days where you have to escape your own headspace and breathe. Not having that go-to group makes it harder when you’re trying to escape your own brain. I guess that’s when some people will turn to the bottle or to drugs to just get away from themselves, but that’s never been my means of relief. Being stubborn to myself sometimes comes in handy I suppose.
I’m not asking for compliments and “atta-boys” for what I do. I’m just trying to sort through my very frustrated headspace. To have something you love doing and, for one reason or another, not being able to do it is the kind of thing that gives you ulcers and makes you feel 20 years older than you really are.
I keep saying, “This too shall pass” and “Things will get better” but those mantras get worn out and the reality keeps swarming day-by-day.
I’ve chosen this path and I know I can deviate from it anytime I want to, but sometimes you’re just caught up in knowing that this is what you’re meant to do. It’s the thrill of doing something you love to do and knowing deep down, despite the self-doubt and the anxious mind, that this is what you’re good at.
It’s like I’ve made myself into Sisyphus and damn it all, that boulder is going to get all the way up the mountain even if I die trying.
The season starts next week and then I can feel more normal, but for now it’s tough.