One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

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 My writing experience is a tall stack of handwritten journals that date back to 1985, a three-year-old blog, and some unpublished work few people have seen.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.


  • Mary Vanderplas January 27, 2014 at 5:22 am

    How good that you are able to see the positive things that have resulted from the setbacks/disappointments and to move forward in a spirit of hopefulness instead of giving up and settling for less than what you know in your heart to be your calling (and instead of becoming cynical and expecting that things won’t work out). I admire you for this. And I hope that this new chapter is everything you hope/expect it will be. Congratulations!

  • Stephen Helbig January 27, 2014 at 11:02 am

    “I’m ready to be disappointed for there is a correlation between the depth of disappointment and the positive outcome”. 🙂 ~ Groaning and gaining in the book of life with a newness of insight and skill; ~ Living The Zoe Life one can only begin to imagine; ~ABUNDANT LIFE ALICE~ “dunamis”

    p.s. “I, (Jesus), have come that you might have Life and that more abundantly.”

    p.s.s. 🙂 ~ Love “id est” (that is) ~ I AM

    p.s.s.t … Smelling sweet of the best ointments. … Because of the savor (saviour) of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth…( S. of Sol. 1:3)

  • John Dean January 27, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I think you have some of my traits. We both shared a very similar experience in a church setting, and we both moved on to pursue our dreams. I finally am doing what I should have been doing for years and I am happy. I think you will find the same satisfaction that I am feeling now that you are realizing your dream. I don’t expect it will be too long before you see yourself being published. I am proud of your decision to do what you really want to do. I hope you enjoy your new work and that you continue to find inspiration for your writing. Love, Dad

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