It was mid-winter, 2009. Which in Minnesota means: if you go outside with damp hair, you’re going to be sporting a head full of icicles, like a frosty Medusa.
I had a job interview. (Or so I thought.) In an empty food court. Next to a Potbelly Sandwich.
The position? A mash-up of communications, social media strategy & governmental relations. All in the name of keeping public radio alive (rah, rah, siss boom bah!) A good job, by any evaluation. A major pay spike, for me. A visible step-up inside the company.
My ego wanted it, gruesomely so.
My interviewer & potential boss-dude sat me down . . . to tell me I wasn’t getting the job.
My eyes prickled with tears. I willed myself to keep it together, Franzen, dammit.
And then he asked me a question I wasn’t prepared to answer . . . with any sort of cohesion or clarity.
“What do you want to do?”
(subtext: with your life, your career, your talents, your inimitable Franzness?)
And then, I cried. Big, blubbering tears. Somewhere between five-year-old-dropped-her-ice-cream-cone and young-war-widower-getting-the-hideous-news. And it had nothing to do with the job I hadn’t gotten . . . and everything to do with a life I hadn’t wanted.
I handed in my quittin’ notice for my current job, shortly after that. I made a commitment to freedom. To total vocational reinvention.
I don’t cry in food courts, anymore.
But I’m glad I did. If I hadn’t gotten sloshy, vulnerable & weepy — in front of a trusted colleague, in public, natch — I might never have admitted to myself that I was profoundly unhappy. No admission? No reinvention.
Oh, and by the way? The fella who triggered my sobfest? He’s still rocking his job (which he loves) AND starting an entrepreneurial biz on the side. We recently reconnected. Coffee is on the horizon. Full circle, baby.
There’s no high moral to this story, other than to say:
If you’re happy & you know it, clap your hands.
And if you’re unhappy & you know it, cry in a food court. Then change your life . . .
as humbly or dramatically as you can.
And now, a brief word from our sponSOAR . . .
Want to know what makes us HAPPY?
Dr. Susan Mathison has a theory: it’s BEAUTY. How exquisitely simple is that?
In her TEDx Talk — “Beauty Makes Me Happy: Inside Out, Outside In and Upside Down” — Susan explores how we define beauty, what makes us indefinably magnetic, and why it’s so easy to recognize & appreciate beauty in others, but so bewilderingly hard to recognize it in ourselves.
Dr. Sue is one of the gentlest, more grand-hearted human beings I’ve ever met — a holistic cosmetic surgeon, double-board certified physician, and firm believer that every woman has the right to create her own definition of beauty, without judgment — whether it includes bare feet or stilettos, overalls or couture gowns, chapstick & wrinkles or tattoos & Botox.