Sunday, April 14, 2013

And then everything came together: the tale of my accidentally awesome April


“I know this is a long shot,” the text began. It was from my best friend, Yennifer, and it made my heart sink because she was right. Whatever she needed, whatever she was about to propose, I had a feeling I’d have to turn her down, which I did not want to do.

It was mid-March and, as usual, my life and finances were in chaos. I was struggling trying to balance my demanding day job, my ongoing freelance job which I’d just started weeks before, my social life and my marriage while struggling to get the bills paid. I knew I had no time or money to do whatever Yennifer was asking me.

But what she was asking me was simply too wonderful to pass up: returning to my beloved Las Vegas. She’d been planning the trip for months with her friend A, but when A contracted a horrible case of mono, Yennifer knew she wouldn’t be able to go. And for the cost of my flight, I could take A’s place. I told her I’d have to see, but inside I was already crunching numbers.

I requested the time off work, got my first freelance check as well as a check from another writing job, and booked a flight down for a remarkably low price. And right away, something shifted in me. While it won’t be my first or even my fifth trip to Sin City, I am just as excited to go as I was the first time. Just having that light at the end of the tunnel, a break in my daily routine with someone I have missed dearly, woke me up from a funk I didn’t even know I was in.

My mood improved. I started talking to my co-workers more and being nicer to strangers. If I started to feel down, I pictured myself sitting by the pool with Yennifer and the other ladies who are going, and I felt better.  I never would have been able to plan a Vegas trip at this point in my life, but having one placed lovingly into my lap like that was beyond awesome. By the beginning on April, I had an official itinerary and a ton of excitement.

Something else happened, too. While trying to raise money for all the overpriced Vegas entertainment, I started brainstorming creative ways to make money from my writing. I started writing an Ebook on Vegas (which I would publish if I had five minutes and a working laptop…seriously, I’ve killed two laptops in a month which is NO BUENO FOR MY WRITING CAREER). I started applying for more freelance jobs. And on one rainy Saturday afternoon, I applied for a writing job I found on Craigslist just for the hell of it. I have found a few gems on Craigslist, but overall I find it to be saturated with scammers and jerks who ask you to “write writing samples” they end up using and not paying for.

This particular job was for a website that made party invitations and stationery. They were looking for someone to write about parties, aka the perfect little side job for me. I fired off my resume and a cover letter, not expecting much since it was Craigslist. The following week I received an email stating that I was a top candidate, asking for a writing sample that they’d pay me for if they didn’t hire me. Fair enough. I spent a good deal of time on my writing sample, figuring if nothing else, I’d have a nice little bonus.

Then I had a phone interview with one of the owners, followed by an in person interview….followed by an offer not for a side job but for a full-time position. It all happened so fast, I couldn’t believe it. I asked for a day to think about it, laughing at the fact that my offer had come on April Fool’s Day and no one I texted believed me at first.

After a chat with Mr. W and a good night’s rest, I realized that this opportunity was exactly what I needed. It’s an awesome shot at helping a great company develop their voice and a chance to really get creative. It’s an escape from the stressful monotony my job has become. And best of all, they’ll allow me to work from home part-time. Saving an hour a day a few times a week will mean more workouts, less money spent on gas and more time to write about what I want to write about. That Wednesday I put in my notice at work and signed an offer letter to begin the new job upon my return.

So, completely by accident and within a month of feeling discouraged and lost, I’ve managed to line up the perfect April: finishing up my current job, taking a week off in between to relax and live it up in Vegas, and then starting something new that I’m really excited about. My friends and family have been overwhelmingly supportive. My co-workers and managers seem genuinely bummed to see me go which means I must have done something right. A lot of other little life details have fallen into place too, so much so that I’m actually considering gambling in Vegas and seeing just how far I can ride this lucky streak.

I have always believed that life can change in an instant, but now I am living it. After two years in Seattle I can finally drop the “fake it ‘till you make it” mindset and just make it. After all, someone selected me to represent their company above hundreds of applicants based solely on my writing. In a city like Seattle that is full of genuine talent, that must mean something.

The best part is... I am just getting started.

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