Life threw me a curveball last month. I was let go from a job I started 18 months earlier. I travelled almost 2,000 miles to Portland from Chicago to take what I thought was my dream job. Or at least my dream industry. I had been actively looking for ways to get into the sportswear industry for two years. I thought I finally got my foot in the door.
It seemed like a great opportunity. Sadly, it did not work the way I had hoped. I won’t bore you with the specifics except to say that I was a causalty of a leadership change. These things happen.
It sucks to have this situation forced upon me but there’s no point in dwelling on it. It’s better to put the situation in the rearview mirror and think more about what can come of this.
In some ways, this is a relief. I never really fit into Portland’s culture, but felt compelled to give the city more time. I no longer need to burden myself with trying to fit a square peg (me) into a round hole (PDX).
When I moved west I told people that there were two companies I would go to Portland to work for and one of them gave me an offer. The way I see it now is: No job, No Portland for me. (I no longer desire to work for the other company either)
You might ask yourself why I’m giving up after one bad experience? I don’t view it that way. Not only did I feel out of place in Portland, I was also homesick.
I hated getting on a plane to see family for the holidays. (What a pain in the ass that is!) I was already talking to friends and family about ways to move back closer to home. There is something to be said about being in physical proximity to your support network. As such, I’m now living with my parents while I push the reset button on my life.
OK, now what?! Honestly, I don’t know what I want to do next. I grinded it out for a long time to find my last job and thought it was what I wanted, but now I have to question my motivations. Did I want the job mainly for prestige to feed my ego? Maybe so….
One thing I can say for certain is that I’m going to own my unemployment. Living with your parents as an adult is never going to be the cool thing to do no matter how much George Constanza wants it to be true. But I don’t think there’s shame in being out of work. I’ve known too many smart and capable people who have lost jobs for reasons unknown to be embarrassed now that it has happened to me.
In some ways I feel liberated. I have zero debt now since I sold my condo back in Chicago last fall, and I did a great job of saving for the first 16 years of my working life. Some friends have expressed jealously because I have no obligations. I can basically go anywhere and do anything. I could take a trip around the world for the next year if I wanted to. The only thing stopping me is that I don’t find that very compelling at the moment.
In any case, I have no regrets. Had I not moved to Portland I would have never start this blog, which has been a challenging and rewarding experience to date. (Thanks Erica!)
Many people have given me positive feedback on the blog and my writing so far, including my professional writer friend Shawn who encouraged me to submit an article to Made Man, which ended up being published. Believe it or not, I actually got paid for the 1800 word harangue, which has me wondering if I can start making real money writing.
Taking that job and moving away from home was without a doubt the biggest conscious risk I have taken in my life (currently). It’s too bad that it didn’t work out, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s the beginning of a new life. I probably should have been taking more risks like this in my 20s and 30s.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you’re hiring.