To New Beginnings
It had been a difficult year — 2018 was the year I was fired from a job in which I was overworked within a stagnant company with no clearly defined future, and no clearly defined common goal between the employer’s dreams of frivolous equity, and the employee’s efforts to make this happen — all the while obtaining only a small percentage of it.
2018 was the year I transitioned to a role in reception under harsh fluorescent lighting in early mornings, dutifully answering the phone as it rang, penning the same notes across neon post its that acted as the only source of color in the confined space. I responded to e-mails in a timely manner, created spreadsheets, and left promptly on the minute as my shift came to a close. I’d walk to my car with a significant weight upon my shoulders that threatened to press me gently into the hot pavement, until the sedans in the parking lot could smoothly run me over, experiencing only a slight bump in their travels.
Both companies provided no options to move forward — I was stuck, and rigidly so. Writing was the only thing I had ever wanted to do, since I was a toddler paging through illustrated storybooks and making up the words that stood out as enticing text on the page, for I could not read yet. I’d wanted to write since I learned how to, filling college ruled lines in several rounds of notebooks with my disconnected stories that my family would always read and tell me they enjoyed, whether or not this was true. At this point in time I’d had minor publications, stories published here and there, a year long stint as a journalist with my name splashed across front, middle and back pages in the small, controlled font. I was grateful for this, of course, but I also worried that any future potential I had in the field was slipping away, and I was watching it do so.
At this time, I was also planning a move to a new province, fully expecting to apply for and accept yet another role in reception — I had forced my resume into the inboxes of tens of companies when I stumbled across an ad requesting a content writer for a marketing company. On a whim, I applied. I saw another ad, nearly identical to the last, and chanced this, too. I refreshed my inbox upwards of thirty times that day.
Something happened that I had never previously anticipated; I ended up interviewing for both, and having to choose between them. This concept was wild to me even as it was occurring; I ended up choosing the initial role, which entailed a job description I hadn’t even known existed, and was entirely new territory for me. I ended up taking on a position that centralized around writing content specifically targeted for search engine optimization — I’m a fiction writer, half my work being short thriller stories, think pieces on political and cultural standpoints. This seemed way off base for me, and yet, I wanted to do it. I was ecstatic to do it.
The transition was made easy by a company that had vision, and was willing to train those they took in to reflect that, and work towards it. Don’t get me wrong, the learning curve proved to be increasingly difficult; I’m still learning every day. The anxiety induced by the fear of not exceeding my own expectations and theirs did loom, however, and this almost hindered my ability to simply learn, and apply my new skills.
I found that the only way to combat my fear of a new field was to learn about it. I’d complete my work for the day, come home, and perform thorough research on the industry, the top companies, the influencers, looking for inspiration within their own advice for people just like me. I looked into trends and read about SEO, what it takes, how it can be done properly, the point of it all.
I utilized the resources they had on hand — software, extremely helpful, patient coworkers that were able to offer all the advice they could to me while I ran various articles through programs that would analyze my SEO, and often tell me to improve in various areas. Though the suggestions differed greatly from the writing style I’d always committed myself to, I made the necessary changes — and as I did, the scores became better. People complimented my work as it went live, and it seemed genuine.
The good news about my extra efforts was that they paid off, almost immediately. I’d written and published only a handful of blogs and was a single month in to my new role when I was asked to take it on full time, something I had been told not to expect for at least a little while. In many senses, this was only motivation for me to work harder, and become even better.
The fear of the unknown at the beginning of this transition, and all transitions, was surely omnipresent, but it shouldn’t prevent you from taking advantage of what is being offered to you; if we never tried anything new, we’d be stuck answering phones in a basement suite, penning pieces of conversation into a memo paid from the nineties. (Or maybe that’s just me).
Though it sounds irrational, the trick is to simply not be afraid of change, and to embrace it with all the resources you can, and the best ways you know how to — especially when it’s everything you want.