I recently had a bad fight with my fiancée, Reina. The type that she texted me and told me she needed some time off. A week or two she said. Damn! That night I didn’t sleep too well. I was worn and torn. The whole ordeal kept repeating itself in my mind over and over again. And when she said she needed some time out, it felt to me as though I was losing her every second I waited. It’s a hard place to be Amigos.

Love sometimes hurts, and so does a lot of other things.

In retrospect, I look back at how this year has shaped out for me. It’s been what I’d call a rollercoaster experience. Certain things have worked out well in my favour, whereas other things have refused to yield or gone terribly wrong in my eyes. I had this job I really loved working at. It was my introduction to the advertising world. A career I’ve always wanted to pursue straight out of high school. I was at a good place with this job. So much that at some point I started getting a bit too comfortable. I hadn’t realized it until I lost the job.

The company was going through some financial challenges and a retrenchment process ensued. It was bloody painful. The thought of losing something I held so close, that brought a lot of meaning and purpose in my life was devastating. It got even worse when I couldn’t quite figure out what next. This was around April. One thing I learnt through the whole experience was this; ‘you can be the best at your job and love it to the moon and back, but when the going gets tough and the management needs to cut you lose to keep things afloat, that’s exactly what will happen. They will cut you lose. It’s business, nothing personal.’

Before I knew it, some form of luck struck my way and I landed this other job. I was happy. I mean, how does anyone loose one job and manage to get another within the same month? Is that cool or what? I’ve heard of people who stayed on the bench for longer, probably months turned to years before they got back in the game. Little did I know what I was in for. After two interviews, of which I met the set expectations, I got the position. I was a bit desperate and despite the offer not been all that, I took it. I was eager to give it my best shot and have more bargaining chips (proof of my work and skills) for the next round at the negotiation table after the three months’ probation elapsed.

They say, ‘all that glitters is not gold.’ The job was fairly fine, more work and roles to play than my previous job meant growth. The job also entailed more writing which is really my passion. I couldn’t be more excited. The big problem was the toxic company culture around and even bigger a problem was the Boss. A smart gifted individual who led the place with so much ruthlessness like a small god of sorts. To put it in perspective let me share this short story with you. During the time I was there, I interviewed a budding writer but she didn’t get the gig. She kept tabs with me as she had my number. We chatted last week Friday. I told her I left the organization and she enquired why. At first, I didn’t want to get into details but she persisted and this is what I told her.

Working with him (the god) requires a lot of sucking up, been brain dead most of the times (agreeing to his BS) and managing the shitty office culture that will intoxicate you and leave you with a bad taste in the mouth. But for cutting him and his ‘big’ organization some slack, you will hone your skills as there are more challenging tasks and you have a profile to show. But I wouldn’t advise anyone to join that organization or work with him (the god). That’s my opinion. You may wonder why I’m whining, bothering to tell you all this. Am I trying to get back at anyone? Certainly not. I’m simply sharing some lessons I’ve gathered this year. Which brings me to what I learnt working at my second job; ‘always know your worth and defend it. Stand for something. Defend your beliefs and people will respect you for that.’

I couldn’t continue working there plus they weren’t willing to pay me more for my value’s worth. Once my three months’ probation period was over, it was my time to bounce. I was back in the woods. Sketching out my next plan on the drawing board. This time round, I wasn’t devastated, I want to believe it was time. I was ready.

I’ve also come to learn that; ‘never underestimate the immense power within you. You never quite know the amount of value you hold inside of you until you are stripped off everything (your job). Then, and only then, will you realize that your ‘nothing’ can turn to everything you need to be successful.’

Thankfully, my next step was to plunge into freelance writing. And boy has it been a beautiful journey! I’d be lying if I said it has been easy. It hasn’t. But with all the challenges I’ve faced, I’ve grown to believe more in myself and my skills. What I literally had in my hands – my writing passion – has become my everything. Now, I make a living writing. It pays the bills. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I am not where I was a while back. I’m growing this skill with every waking day. It’s rewarding to pitch and meet clients who find value in what you do, and pay you for it.

I share my personal lessons and hope they inspire you to keep believing and working hard and smart. 2017 awaits us, and it sure will be a good year. If only you believe it.

I’ve taken to listening to some albums as the year comes to an end. I’m a hip-hop head and an R&B aficionado – I took so much of it from my Big Siz growing up (hey Mary!) One of the albums I’m listening to has been quite a sport. It’s by Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid M.A.A.D City – it’s a captivating adrenaline pumped 15 tracks story about his childhood and growing up in his hometown, Compton. It wasn’t a pretty childhood to say the least. He had to believe in something and fight his way out of the projects to being the renowned rapper he is. If I can borrow a line from one of his tracks from ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ album, it will have to be this, we gon’ be alright. I’m getting into 2017 with that line playing in my head and so should you. It doesn’t matter what’s happening around you but you should have that audacious faith charging you up.

Happy holidays Amigos!

Oh, Reina and I are good now. We sorted our issues out. I’m glad we did. I don’t know what I’d do without her love.

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