Today is my first day in my new career with id est productions.
During my time at UCF and ever since graduation, people ask, “What is your degree?” My response: English, Creative Writing with a Digital Media minor. Inevitably, there is a follow-up question, “So what do you plan to do?” I’ve always wanted to give a one or two word answer. Other graduates do it all the time. Accountant. Software Developer. Market Analyst. Mechanical Engineer.
My answer seems so wishy-washy and dreamy. I say, “something that involves writing, creating videos, graphic design, doing some intense creative brainstorming, etc. Is there a nifty little title for that?”
The problem for me is that most of the vacant positions available for those skill sets require a professional portfolio and five years of experience. My writing experience is a tall stack of handwritten journals that date back to 1985, a three-year-old blog, and some unpublished work few people have seen. That doesn’t really count in the professional world. My video creation and editing experience is limited to my youtube channel, a non-funded Kickstarter campaign, and a couple of promo vids as an intern at Voxeo. My experience and knowledge doesn’t pack a punch in the “real world,” whatever that is.
So, armed with my English degree, I got a language arts teaching job. I just needed to take night classes for a year or so to get certified. In the past, I had tutored on a volunteer basis and enjoyed it. I thought I could invest myself in teaching. But being a volunteer tutor and being a teacher are two completely different roles. I learned that the hard way. I finally had a nifty little title. Teacher. But my heart was homesick. Dust was settling on my dreams. I needed to make a change.
When I got the phone call last week, it seemed too good to be true. And then the interview, which actually felt more like having lunch with a couple of new friends, also seemed too good to be true. They need someone who can write, create videos, do graphic design, and has a creative mind. Apparently, my non-professional experience matters to them. Now, I’m ready to be terribly disappointed.
What if I don’t meet their expectations? What if something goes wrong, and I have to start all over again (again and again)?
I’ve been considering these questions all weekend. It may be because I so enjoyed creating publications at my job with the church, and then I got fired for something that was totally unrelated to job performance (challenging doctrine). It could be because I wanted to give voice to people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and then I realized that the financial resources to do so would be much harder to come by than I had ever imagined. It could be because neither of my long-term internships resulted in a full time position.
I see a pattern. Thankfully, that pattern is one step back, two steps forward. Each time I have tried and fallen short of the goal, I gained some new skill or insight. Another pattern I notice is that there is a correlation between the depth of disappointment and the positive outcome. Let me explain.
If I had not lost my job at the church, I might not have the discovered the freedom and simplicity of following The Only Shepherd. If I had acquired the financial resources to give voice to people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, then I might not have discovered the depth of stigma and lack of interest associated with people who have these conditions. This missing observation is crucial to include in the book I wrote. I could go on, but I won’t.
My capacity for fortitude has been stretched often enough and thoroughly enough that I’m ready to be disappointed. What I’m not saying is that I expect to be disappointed. I expect that I’m beginning an new, engaging chapter in the book of life.