Less than three minutes. That’s how long it took me to realise that my job on a magazine that I had put my heart and soul into for three years was over.
I had worked above and beyond the call of duty, enabled something through my extensive experience, which had been distinctly average, become award winning and had helped to build a brilliant team who were all happy in their work. And then one Friday afternoon, in a café full of screaming children, a man with a bad haircut looked over my shoulder beyond my gaze as he told me that due to a ‘restructure’ I no longer had a job. The restructure turned out to be replacing me with someone young enough to be my daughter. Younger. Cheaper.
I lost a stone. I had a virus which I couldn’t get rid of. I had to fight to be paid what I was owed. I received a nasty final e mail which upset me greatly and for some months I ‘put the world away’. My friends were wonderful, The Husband outdid himself listening to my tearful rants against the unfair world and my family and children were hugely supportive. And then quite unexpectedly I had a serendipitous meeting. When you are at a low ebb and your confidence is shot (because that’s what losing your job does to you, it destroys your self- confidence), it’s very hard to get back from that place and you need someone to take you back along a positive path to help you grow your self -worth again. Enter Chrissy Taylor, my partner in crime on Magpie who listened, advised and then grew the germ of an idea alongside me in an enthusiastic and positive way. And so The Magpie Anthology was born. I’ll never get scurvy working with Chrissy as she makes me eat quantities of enormous oranges and feeds me salads and soups. I have laughed proper belly laughs over ridiculous things and whilst I am not invincible, I’m in a far better place than I’ve been for a long time. Launching a new business is never easy but it’s a kind of positive stress and it was just what I needed.
So, what have I leaned from all of what has happened over the last eight months? That you need to look forward. Positive thinking won’t get you your job back but it will make you feel better in the long run. Look forward, keep busy, be practical. Do things that feed your soul. I took to walking somewhere every day rain or shine. I looked at the trees, the countryside, the sea and felt better for it. I read books, magazines and listened to music – all things that I’d been ‘too busy’ to do before. Matisse said that ‘there are always flowers for those that want to see them’. And lastly, if you can, accentuate the positive as the song says – I was still alive, the virus eventually went, I still had great friends and family, I got more work because of my good reputation and most of all, when the dust settled I felt a kind of release and relief which made me think that the man with the bad haircut had done me a favour in the long run. And lastly and perhaps most importantly, remember, it’s not all about you. There are far worse things happening to other people and sometimes a little perspective is necessary. Onwards and upwards.
Enjoy our Anthology and please, if you’d like to, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Words: Amber Beard (written on World Mental Health Day 2018)
Picture: Christine Taylor