I’ve been thinking a lot lately about blessings in disguise. I experienced a very difficult life change when I was 24 years old that I am now very grateful for. Here’s my story:
The year was 2001, and my husband and I were newly married. I had a job in media planning for an advertising agency and my husband worked as an account executive at another agency across town. While the job didn’t have anything to do with what I studied in college (it involved a lot of math and number crunching!), I had a steady salary and good benefits. We made the decision to purchase a small starter house in a beautiful neighborhood. It wasn’t huge, and it needed some TLC, but we were thrilled when we were approved for the loan and moved in.
Two months later, I lost my job, along with more than 100 other people. I walked out of work with my belongings in a box and a heavy heart. I had no idea how we would make ends meet and keep our bills paid. I felt like a failure.
I spent the first few months sending out countless cover letters and resumes and did a little freelance copywriting with some other agency folks who had also been laid off. I collected unemployment. Then the work dried up and interview after interview failed to result in a job. Desperate one afternoon, I wandered into a local restaurant and told them I had experience waiting tables and needed a job. Luckily, they hired me on the spot. The first time I saw the movie “Office Space” I laughed my head off because Jennifer Anniston’s character could very well have been me at that point in my life, flair and all.
It was a hard time for me. I was very humbled. My husband and I worked different schedules and rarely saw each other. I wrote a lot of really bad poetry and fiddled around with a few short stories as a way to pass the time, but never did any serious writing. I was too depressed. One night my husband came to see me at work, with an e-mail printout in his hand. I had a nibble for a job. A local public relations agency five minutes from our house had a position to fill and wanted me to come in for an interview. I almost jumped for joy right then and there. Actually, I probably did. I was tired of spending my nights cleaning out sweet tea urns and rolling silverware for very little tips.
Almost a year after getting laid off from work, I landed a job at that public relations firm. Not only did it pay me better than my ad agency job, but it got me back to writing. I wrote every day—press releases, magazine and brochure copy and product taglines and descriptions. I will forever be grateful for that opportunity, because I might still be running competitive reports for a tobacco account and dreaming of being a writer one day if I hadn’t accepted it. Even though that time period was a very hard time for me, I now consider it a blessing in disguise. I was meant to write for a living, and that experience helped get me back on track.
What blessings in disguise have you experienced in your life?
Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor who blogs at Renee’s Pages.