When Everything’s Not Lost: A Mini Review of “The Art of Work” and My Pursuit To Live A Life That Matters

Picture of Jeff Goins' book, "The Art of Work"

Picture of Jeff Goins' book,

In my short life, I have experienced my fair share of emotional turbulence. This past month has particularly taxing, with a series of events that have culminated into one major life decision – to be a writer, fully and truly.

The primary source of my inspiration is a book by Jeff Goins called The Art of Work. While skeptical as to whether this  would be worthwhile endeavor (self-help books usually trigger my eye roll mechanism) I decided to give it a try since I have enjoyed other work he’s done. This book exceeded all my expectations. Goins’s book is more than just vague nuggets of inspiration with even more vague suggestions on how to obtain your dreams. It a roadmap, providing guidance with real life examples and practical advice while dismantling our traditional understanding of work and its significance. This book  affirmed that nagging desire to be a writer is not just a self-indulgent fantasy. It is important, obtainable and to ignore it would be a disservice to myself and to the world.

Reassured and reinvigorated, I decided to quit the job that had caused me so much anxiety, stress, and just plain unhappiness and pour all my energy into my writing. Then, just when I put in my two weeks notice, I discovered an email inviting me to present for a website administrator position. I felt happy, disappointed, confused, excited. This position would allow me to explore my creativity while utilizing my writing skills, along with hours and a salary that could allow me to create in my spare time. Even if this was not the endgame, this job could be the next step.

So I focused on my presentation with a calm and certainty I hadn’t felt in years. When I met with the hiring managers, I was confident. I could tell they were impressed and one actually thanked me three times for coming in early that day to present. I knew I nailed it. My own manager the next day emailed me and told me in person that apparently I did an excellent job. This position was mine.

Just one problem-the day I was scheduled to work prior to giving my resignation, I had called in. That entire week I had a terrible bout of  insomnia and felt pretty awful. So I rolled the dice and called in. Although it had been months since I had missed a day, I wasn’t 100% sure if this would hurt me attendance at the company, but I wasn’t that concerned either. I mean, I was leaving right?

Unfortunately it did hurt my attendance, actually putting me below the company standards. To add insult to injury, by going part time (which I did last year to manage my anxiety and depression), the amount of hours that I work count differently and if I was still full time, this one day would not have even been an issue. Sadness began to creep in.

But then I had an idea. Before going part time and losing my insurance, I had approved leave for my chronic conditions (anxiety, depression and insomnia). If I could just get a doctor to confirm this and approve this day as part of a chronic condition, then it could be excused and I would be golden.

Over the next two weeks I tried to make this happen, visiting every free clinic or low-cost doctor I could. But it didn’t work. I couldn’t get any doctor to approve it despite my years of prior medical documentation because I was not under their care at the time. Time runs out and I am told that as much as they would have liked to hire me for the position, they can’t because of this missed day.

I was crushed, devastated. I had once again ruined everything by making the wrong choice. If only I had just went, sucked it up, then I could have a job that I would have been really good at and escaped the miserable cubicle life I had been chained to for the past five years. I could feel myself shutting, depression resurfacing as I resigned to my inherent belief I am simply unworthy, that who I am, at a fundamental level will forever be an obstacle to me fulfilling my life’s purpose. I had been a fool to think otherwise.

Then I remembered a section from The Art of Work: “Each wrong choice grows your character and strengthens your resilience, readying you for what comes next. Failure is a friend dressed up like an enemy.” So even if this was some sort of massive mistake I would regret (which who knows, maybe it was always supposed to end this way) this did not mean I had ruined my chance to fulfill my true purpose. Disappointments or setbacks are all a part of the journey.  And when this happens, you don’t give up. According to Goins, you reassess and “pivot” towards the next strategy. I had almost forgotten one of the biggest lessons from his book – pursuing your calling is not a one-time event or even a single task, but a series of challenges and roles you undertake to become who you were meant to be.

With this in mind, I made another choice. I chose to believe. To just listen to the universe and trust that I am really, truly meant for something more. So I put in my two weeks notice (again) and this past Friday was my last day.  Being a call center agent had prevented me from fully investing in my dream and it was time to  follow my heart (as cheesy as that sounds).  Aside from focusing on my writing, I have also started the The Art of Work course that promises to help me in my pursuit of my calling-more updates on that later. Time will tell and I’m scared as hell (ha, that rhymed), but life is too short to wait for the “perfect” time to start doing what you feel in your bones you should be doing.

Let’s see where this goes.

4 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your post and I salute you! I believe we can do both, especially in transition – pay the bills and follow our calling. Go for it and I look forward to seeing your progress!

    1. Thank you so much for the support! And I believe we can do it too – at least we have embraced we’re meant for more, the rest will work itself out. 🙂

  2. Great article noellie. Just recently quit a job myself (and did it in a way that was a mistake), but it has set me on a course to do exactly what I want to do right now.

    This article has brought me some peace of mind, I really appreciate it. Nice to see someone else enduring the struggle.

    Life’s too short to think our goals and dreams unrealistic.

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