I lied about the end of my career

I got fired from the last newspaper job I’d ever held.

This isn’t earth-shattering or even surprising to those who knew me. I’d had moments of promise. I wrote better than my editors at most of the papers I worked for. I crafted compelling headlines. My ideas in budget meetings came to fruition and even became popular with readers.

The day I sat in HR, given a chance to explain away my latest photo caption error, the decision had been made. I was being fired — for the first time in my life. I’d managed to leave two weeks notice everywhere. Grocery stores. Pizza joints. A party warehouse. (Actually, I didn’t give notice from the shady gig selling impostor cologne out of my trunk. And I kept the remaining supply. I suspect this’ll resurface on Medium someday.)

Back to newspapers.

The lie began to keep a sunny disposition on my resume. It’s hard to glow after that, especially from your career. Your dream job. At the paper where you busted a hump at afternoon rags and understaffed midsized newspapers. You reached your pinnacle — then got canned because you used the Iowa State mascot in a caption, not Iowa’s? It wasn’t as simple as that.

To breathe life into the lie, I related a tale of quitting on a Thursday, believing the specificity would make this a story of empowerment. It wasn’t unlike the compulsive liar who adds in all the details they’ve concocted so that it feels like they’ve covered their bases — and their asses.

I pushed the daily story budget to the middle of the table and declared . Cinematic. Untrue. I’d prattled on about moral decay and inflexibility and although those weren’t completely fabricated, they were not any of the reasons my employment ended that day.

I got fired because I was no longer good at what I did.

And it was my career. It was the baker fowling up the cupcakes. So as I had to patchwork the gaping hole in my writing career and resume, I took myself down a road of fight-the-power righteousness that contrasted heavily with the teary call to home as I drove home in the rain.

More firings to come

Ultimately, I found work writing again.

But also, many more instances of being fired. From jobs I hated. From the jobs I liked. All from jobs, I needed to support my family. That newspaper firing seemed to toss me. I careened into work I did just to work. To careers, I entered that weren’t careers. Call centers. Hotels. A writer who doesn’t write anymore can handle a few calls and check-in guests, but he’s so far out of his element it’s doomed from day 1. At least for me.

So, I still relate the story of the day I chose the moral high ground to evacuate a career because of the righteous inner compass that wouldn’t allow me to continue another day. Trust me — I’d have toiled many years in that condition had I any idea how long it would take to write for money again.

Kind of like the truth I tried to create.

And that feels sort of justified if I give it much thought.

I’m not going to lie.

Coach, father, writer — sometimes all at once. Writes content for the 💸 by day, writes blogs for the 😍 by night. coachdaddyblog.wordpress.com

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