Mary worked as a telemarketer. She hated her job. Being an introvert who was very sensitive to criticism, this particular job was very difficult for her. She was expected to call people every evening around dinnertime and was met with a great deal of hostility. They would hang up on her, call her names, insult her - basically every nasty thing you can think of. Every night she would come home crying. Her husband, Mark, would try to cheer her up. “Try not to take it personally,” he would tell her. But she did take it personally. She just couldn’t get over their nasty comments.
This went on for many months. She would go in, make the calls, and hear the commentary day after day. Over many months, her job situation was causing her depression. She would just begin to feel better from the day before but then have to go into work again. Her husband was very concerned.
“Why don’t you look for a new job? It hurts me to see you like this every day,” he would tell her.
But Mary was a tough nut. She tried harder and harder to keep the job and adjust herself to it. There were parts she liked, after all. There was just one problem - the telemarketing - but it was a big problem for her. It caused her a great deal of anxiety and depression. The one thing she struggled with started to overshadow the many things she enjoyed and was good at.
Finally, the inevitable happened: she was let go. Instead of her leaving, the company made the decision that it wasn’t a good fit. She was a loyal employee who didn’t make any move to leave, but now she was forced to leave anyway.
She was crushed. She tried so hard to keep her job, and yet her best attempts resulted in failure. She took it personally and let it erode her self-esteem.
But Mark was a kind and caring husband, and he would not let her suffer. He told her, “Mary. Look. You hated that job. Right? It wasn’t a good fit anyway. Maybe there is something better out there for you. Did you ever think of that? Have you even tried to see if there is something better waiting for you? You are educated. You have skills. You have more potential than anyone I know. Instead of wasting this time feeling depressed, why not use this time to prove to yourself that you can do it? Why not look at the job of finding a job as a job? If nothing else, it will keep you busy, and you might even find something you really like. Maybe losing that job was destined because you are not supposed to be there and God is guiding you to where you will truly be able to apply your talents and be more happy? Maybe losing a job you hated was all done for you to find a better job or at least one where you don’t come home crying every night? I mean there are tons of jobs out there. You’ll find it. Just keep trying.”
Mary set her mind on finding something else. She was young and didn’t have much experience in the job market. She bought some books and started to read. She set up a goal and a schedule. Eventually, she started to get callbacks, but every time she went into an interview, she took her prior defeat with her. She wasn’t getting jobs, and she had no idea why. She was frustrated and depressed.
“Mary,” Mark said to her one night, “do you think the reason you are not getting these jobs could be because you are taking the toxic energy from your last bad experience with you? You’re still lugging those ‘rocks’ with you. Maybe you need to let them go, see this as a new day with new light, and just start fresh. Today is not yesterday. It is a new sunrise. Every day is. I know you try hard at work and adjust whatever you need to toward your goal. Just look at this process as a learning experience. Adjust what you can to get better TODAY, and maybe keep your focus ahead of you instead of always looking at what’s behind you. Let go of the rocks so you can fly.”
Mary was at the end of her rope, so she tried what Mark said. On her next interview, she tried to just focus on that one interview, forgetting the bad experience at her most miserable job. She even tried to point out some good things about her last position. It wasn’t easy, but she let go of the months of rejection from other employers too.
Eventually, she found an even better fit than the one she left behind. She finally realized that, had she stayed in her last position or given up after they let her go, she would have continued to be more and more miserable. That company did her a favor. They helped her move on to something better.
She realized that if you stay stuck, you never grow.
“Life is too short to be in a job you hate” Mark had told her, and she realized how lucky she was to have found such a wise and caring man. She had let the toxic job go. It was the best decision she ever made.
What does it take to interview, record, transcribe, organize, write, edit, and design a 400 page book with over 65 full color photographs about your dad’s life growing up as a Croatian during the years following WWII? Well, it takes a lot of work, perseverance, time, optimism, and . . . ice coffee.
But this book is particularly important to me because it is about our family. It documents what would have otherwise been lost for all generations. Since we Croatians living in the US have left, we may never know what it was like for our parents unless we listen and document their stories. Our parents are quickly aging, and times are changing. I realized that if I did not do this now, I would miss this chance forever.
I hope the memoir of my dad’s life can be passed down to my nieces and nephews, and I believe the story will resonate with others, especially second and third generations who grew up in the US. Children of other immigrants will relate because it helps give at least a little insight into the question: “Why did you leave?”
After having consistently worked on it for over two years, the book has now finished its last round of edits. It is going off to be designed. How extraordinarily exciting and breathtaking!