The Upside of Getting Fired… TWICE

The thing about office jobs is, they’re not for everyone.

If the last three years — but especially 2016 — taught me anything, it’s that I (much to my surprise) am not an “office person.” And you know what? THAT’S OKAY.

On paper, I’m a shoe-in for office life — I’m friendly, I communicate well and bust ass to meet deadlines, I actually enjoy meetings (usually), I’m a quick learner, and — as it turns out — I decorate a mean cubicle. But in retrospect, I think somewhere in the back of my mind, I’ve always romanticized the whole “office” environment. The cute, office-appropriate outfits; the coming and going between meetings; the bottomless cups of coffee; the camaraderie and excitement of a good day… Hell, I even love TV shows that take place in office settings. (Parks & Rec = BAE, and if you disagree, just go.) And don’t even get me started on shopping for office supplies… I own a Kate Spade stapler, guys.

BUT NOTHING SAYS EPIPHANY LIKE GETTING FIRED.

… TWICE.

……. CONSECUTIVELY.

I know you’re thinking, “UH, aren’t you trying to sell yourself here?”

And I am… But that’s exactly my point.

THIS TIME, I’M SELLING ME.

I’ve been unsuccessful recently because I’ve been trying — somewhat unconsciously — to be something I’m not. I idealized the office lifestyle. I thought it was what I was supposed to do, the ticket to the future I wanted… The Carrie Bradshaw in me wants to compare it to finding the perfect pair of Jimmy Choos just a half-size too small, but they’re on sale so you cram your feet into them anyway. (But let’s not get carried away here — I don’t have it like that.)

Anyway — what I’m saying is, I’m not above using Carrie Bradshaw metaphors, and for me, working in an office is kinda like wearing shoes that are just a little bit too tight.

But here’s the craziest part:

I’M NOT FREAKING OUT.

Sure, I’ve been freelancing for years, but it’s always been a side-job for me. So for the first second time in a long while now, I don’t have a steady, full-time gig to rely on. I don’t have a 401K or a company policy for health insurance. But for the first time ever, I understand that that’s okay. Office life just isn’t meant for me — the same way that some people aren’t meant to be bartenders or lawyers or CEOs…and that doesn’t mean that I can’t or won’t be successful. It’s just not how I work best, or where I’m happiest. In fact, the only reason I’m not rocking back and forth in the fetal position, hyperventilating into a paper bag right now is that I have amazing freelance clients to keep me motivated… and I’m so happy.

SO, THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO DO WHAT I LOVE, IN A WAY THAT WORKS FOR ME.

Freelancing is a beautiful thing, friends… but it isn’t without its own set of hurdles. Freelancers hustle hard, and there’s a never-ending stream of deadlines to meet and projects to fulfill. It isn’t always easy — but for some of us, the hustle is worth the independence and the creative freedom. (And totally worth being able to turn off the goddamn alarm clock every now and then — amiright?!)

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if I’m an office person or not. I’m creative and talented and driven and smart… and my friends are, too. So that’s why I started Salthaus Collective — because it’s impossible to be good at everything, and struggling to fit the mold is futile. But in the right setting, with the right people, there is endless power in collaboration and so, so many opportunities to be had.

…and that’s lucky for me, ’cause I keep getting shit-canned.

This post originally appeared on the Collective Thoughts blog. (8/27/16)