In August 2008 I lost my job. It was not the first time I had experienced the situation. So the panic that often accompanies these events did not consume me. I had learned first hand, that my world would not end. But I also knew it would change.

The next few months were no time to look for a job like the one I had. Financial markets were crashing. Our fear based culture and the media that likes to perpetuate it created a dismal picture. I tried not to take on the negative energy. For a few reasons.

For one, I’d lived through enough recessions and economic downturns that I knew we would eventually make it to the other side. Hell, I’d grown up in the late sixties and early seventies when riots were an every day occurrence.

But the bigger reason I tuned out to the doom and gloom was I had no intention of continuing the twenty-five year corporate career path I had carved. I had already worked for two of the largest media companies in the world, CBS and Time Warner. There was no allure in working for another one. Except for maybe health insurance or an expense account. I had a great run - but I was done. I had learned first hand what really goes on behind the Wizard’s curtain.  And it no longer worked for me.

I knew I wanted to grow. Personal and professionally. I knew that keeping things fresh and trying something different was the secret elixir to staying young and vital.  And if I wanted that kind of environment, finding another network job was not the answer. I was going to have to do something entirely different and figure out a way to make money in the process.

WHAT? they all said.  Have you lost your mind? Do you know how hard that is? Especially at your age, you fifty-something woman, you! And you want to write? Don’t you know no one makes money writing!

To which I replied, NO, I have not lost my mind.  Yes, I know it will be a challenge. Yes, I intend to write. A LOT. And besides, if not now, when?

So I jumped.

Off the ledge into the unknown.

I did what I would have looked at with scorn had I heard my story when I was still on the “inside”, too fearful to make that kind of a change. Yes, I had jumped before. When I was teaching seventh grade English in suburban Philadelphia and left to sell radio commercials for a country music FM station in 1983. And when I left radio and Washington, DC for cable television and New York in 1997. But that didn't make this seem less scary.

I jumped off the ledge without a well thought out, detailed plan of what this would all look like.  Yes, I knew I wanted the agent who I had signed with just before I left the big office to sell that novel I had been writing in my spare time.  My hope was it would all get clear then.

It hasn't happened quite like that. 

What I know for sure is this is how it was supposed to unfold. 

There are no straight lines to where we are meant to go.

Had I, the daughter of first generation Greek-Americans, not chosen this circuitous path out of the apartment I grew up in Glen Oaks on the outskirts of Queens I would have less to write about.  A BA from Rider University and a MA from Temple afforded me the educational background. 

The life experiences I have had make me a better consultant. Would I know as much about social media and digital marketing had I still been working in the land of let's wait and see if this catches on?  Probably not. Working for corporations like CBS and Time Warner and now being an entrepreneur expand my vision and benefit those I work with. I can speak from the perspective of someone who has walked the walk. And that agent. She never got me the book deal. So I jumped again and joined the ranks of the self-published.

Today I call myself a Storyteller, Marketing and Sales Consultant and Coach, and a Digital Evangelist.  I'm an adjunct Professor of Digital Marketing at NYU. I teach. I speak. I write.  I'm also the self-published author of two books, It Takes An Egg Timer, A Guide to Creating the Time for Your Life and The Secrets The Kept, a novel.  My articles have appeared on The Huffington Post,  and BlogHer. 

It's been quite a ride. In fact some days, it feels like I'm just getting started. If you want to stay tuned, you can subscribe to my blog here and/or my newsletter here


Anonymous said...

a very good story

Unknown said...

As I read your story I am thinking this is my story too! You are right there is no particular path to get us from here to there, but our circumstances move us where need and want to go.I feel a little more empowered after reading your story. Thanks for motivating me to keep moving towards something better that is what I want to do for the next stage of my life.

Unknown said...

I am glad this inspired you! Look forward to hearing what you do next!