When I was very young, Dad no longer felt like he could go to work anymore, and my mother was forced to support all of us on a teacher’s salary. Because of my father’s illness, having a job was something that she always found to be extremely important, so when I was out of work, she saw a huge red flag. I’m sure she wondered whether or not I had inherited my father’s illness, or perhaps I was headed down some other sordid road.
Looking back, perhaps I had ADHD. I’ve always been pretty hyper, and my inability to multitask made it hard for me to concentrate when more than one thing was thrown at me. I never managed stress very well, and I always felt like a train was barreling down the tracks toward me whenever I was in an office situation.
I know my mother worried about me. Periodically, when I would lose my job, she would call me. Because she was a nervous person, she would start stuttering a bit when it came to my employment options.
“So, how’s the job search?“
I knew her concern was genuine, but beneath her inquiry, I knew she wondered if I was also going to make a mess of my life. But in my mind, I thought that I was just too creative to be confined to a corporate job.
Eventually, I went into sales because I could bounce around doing different tasks throughout the day. My creativity could be exercised with my ability to attract clients. But inevitably, after about two years, I would usually get laid off.
My mother’s periodic phone calls would always make me feel worse. I didn’t want her to worry, because I always landed on my feet, securing another job with better pay and a good signing bonus.
But this was never enough for her, because there was always that imminent tornado hanging on the outskirts of every job, wondering how long it would last before I was discharged once again.
I finally got out of corporate life after realizing that I couldn’t manage stress like that anymore. The guilt of leaving my sales career was hard, because even though my mother was dead, that nervous voice of hers still made itself known.
Once I gave myself permission to get off the corporate conveyor belt, I eventually decided to devote myself to my creative interests. It was such a relief not to feel like I was dangling on the edge of a cliff, or answer to bosses who made unreasonable demands.
Now, each day is a blank palette, filled with the excitement of many forms of color.
So Mom, in answer to your question “So how’s the job search?” It’s fine, thank you.Read More From Mary
Mary McGrath is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in a number of publications including:Chicken Soup for the Soul (Jan. 2019), Newsweek, Wall St. Journal, Betterafter50.com, Purpleclover.com, LANG Newspaper Group, and Good Housekeeping, Please find her work at www.marymcgrathphotography.com