Reflecting upon the past 365 days has me emotional just thinking about it. Around this time last year, I had made the brave decision to leave an abusive marriage solely because I was convinced there had to be more to my life than feeling undervalued and unworthy of good things. I was scared and broke. But I said, “Enough!”
Then, seemingly out of the blue, I got fired from my job of three years mid-January. This was three weeks after I asked for a divorce. This was my version of rock bottom.
I remember spending that weekend grieving the life I thought I would live. Being married, having kids, moving up in the company I was working for… none of that was certain now. Not one pillar in my life. Not even my family, as my parents were going through their own stuff. I had no choice but to move forward, even if it meant crawling there.
The Monday after I lost my job, I packed up my laptop and sat in a Starbucks for 8 hours revising my resume and portfolio while vigorously applying for jobs. It wasn’t so much that I felt determined or fiery. It was more like, “I have bills. I have no second income. I have to find something.”
This is when I remembered my trip to San Diego a few months prior. I was in love with the city. I had a couple college friends there. Maybe it was worth starting over and moving to California, I thought. I had very little confidence and self-esteem at this point and didn’t even know if I was worthy of a “California marketing job.”
Nonetheless, I applied and applied and applied. After one week of annoying the hell out of Starbucks baristas for refills and hunching over my laptop on a sofa chair, I had applied to over 200 jobs.
I was interviewing for multiple jobs that next week, including Verse, and had no idea where I was going to end up. It was extremely anxiety-inducing. I lost 35 lbs in six weeks. Every interview, I would spend a whole hour prior preparing what I would say. I had 3 papers, front and back, of notes and potential responses to questions. This was around the same time I was reached out to by Raymone, the Senior Marketing Manager at Verse.
My first phone call with him was so pleasant. I was babysitting during the hours I wasn’t applying for jobs and remember taking the call while “on the job.” It felt like I was talking to a friend and the chemistry between myself and this job felt… so right.
After this, I had my second interview with Verse and the marketing team. Immediately after the hour and a half Zoom, I knew they were my #1 choice. One week later, after presenting a researched blog on behalf of Verse for the final interview, I was offered a job by Verse and one other company in San Diego.
I chose Verse. This was three weeks after I had been fired from my previous job.
I packed my bags, broke my lease, and sold what I couldn’t fit in my car before taking off for a 22 hour road trip to San Diego from Tulsa, OK… just nine days after accepting the position. My car blew a head gasket 1 hour out from San Diego. I blew a tire right after. It felt like every feasible obstacle was being thrown my way, telling me I wasn’t worth it or that I couldn’t possibly make such a big change in my life, telling me that I had failed. My car even broke down again on my way to my first day on the job at Verse. HA.
But I continued onward.
To say I was determined was an understatement. Nothing was going to stop me from taking control of my life at this point. I’d come so far in just 8 weeks. And when I say this job changed my life, I truly mean it changed my life and it wasn’t until months later I realized why.
Upon arriving in San Diego and starting my new job, I felt immediate peace. I knew I was right where I was supposed to be and it felt like California was my true home. I never felt like Oklahoma was where I was supposed to end up. The team at Verse was so welcoming, so excited for my arrival. I felt so important and validated. More importantly, I felt like I belonged. That feeling of belonging was truly the medicine I never knew I needed.
I hadn’t signed a lease or ended up anywhere permanent yet in San Diego because I was waiting on friends from Oklahoma to join me in their own new, SoCal jobs so we could settle down together… then the pandemic hit.
We lost half of our marketing team at the beginning of the pandemic and it was hard. I loved the team in the short time I knew them. I was also scared about what this meant for my job and the risk of losing it after all I did to get out there.
Still, I continued onward.
I sat in an AirBnb for 2 months alone working remotely. It was isolating and lonely. With fiscal cutbacks in the company, I was sitting on half pay with a lot of bills and an expensive lodging that I did not expect. I would wake up and fall asleep worrying about money and wound up struggling to find connection with people being so isolated.
Yet, I coped and continued onward.
I had to make the tough decision to fly home and wait out the pandemic with my family.
I didn’t actually end up moving in somewhere (semi) permanently in Tulsa, OK until August, moving in with my parents and my grandmother at 2 different points that summer while debating between rushing my timeline of coming back to San Diego and doing what I truly needed to in order to get back out there. Honestly, I was living like a nomad with only what I had in my suitcase and my purse. Constantly, I wondered how I survived such a “go with the flow” year, when I was very much a planner and an organizer.
When reflecting in my gratitude journal this fall, I kept realizing the pages were filled with stuff pertaining to my job and work. Something about gratitude changes you as a person. The more I spent time on the things I had instead of didn’t have, the more I found strength to lean on those very things.
Verse was my constant this year. Truly. And I’m lucky for that because not everyone was afforded the same and I’m very aware of the gift I was given to work at such a great company, even during a pandemic.
No one at Verse, besides maybe my team to some degree, really knew what I had been through this year or the season prior. No one knew the heartache or the loss I was feeling. No one knew I was coming from brokenness.
For me, Verse and my job in particular taught me a life lesson: the comeback is always greater than the setback. If the people in my life, co-workers and loved ones included, have seen anything from me this year, it was growth. I pivoted like it was going out of style. I took everything one day at a time, sometimes even one hour at a time. I worked hard, spent much of my off time learning and soaking up new tools and skills, had tough conversations with loved ones, set boundaries, and figured out who “Megan” was and what she needed as a person.
I’ve had other hard things happen this year, as we all have with COVID-19. But I am stronger now. I am more confident and capable than I was a year ago. My team and the company as a whole were unaware of how much they supported me in putting the pieces back together. I feel like a different person. My friends and family will attest that the version of “Megan” they knew a year ago no longer exists and for the better, too.
This change in me has incidentally inspired some of my closest people to make leaps in their own life and take chances. From leaving their own toxic relationships to career changes to even learning how to sit with uncomfortable feelings.
I hope I can now be a resource and a light to those I encounter. Some people from other teams in the company and I have bonded over our similar losses and grief. I have gained some incredible, life-long friends simply from allowing myself to be vulnerable and leaving space for others to do the same.
I’m really fucking proud of myself. But I cannot be naive and say it all came from me. Thank you, team, for believing in me, seeing good in me, and supporting me, even if it was just an “I love the blog you wrote this week!” Thank you for supporting me professionally and personally. Thank you for leaving space for me to mess up, fall flat on my face, and pivot to greater things. I cannot forget the impact the tough things have had on me this year, but even more so, I will never forget the support, love, and kindness I received in tenfold throughout my time here at Verse.
You guys changed my life.