Unfortunately, job loss is a part of life, but knowing this doesn’t make anything less painful or scary happen to us. However, even if it feels like the end of the world, sometimes beautiful new beginnings come from painful endings. Jesse Devine, a former artistic director and theater instructor, learned this firsthand when she lost her dream job in 2018.
A once in a lifetime opportunity
“You know that feeling that you are exactly where you are supposed to be? Like where your feet are planted is exactly where they always should be? “Jesse said.” When I walked into the lobby of that theater, I felt that kind of knowledge in my soul and the job description felt like it was created for me. “
While waiting to receive news about the work, he finally received a call from the theater one day. Jesse felt like his heart stopped, like the whole world had stopped in that moment. She eagerly anticipated the response she would receive on the other end of the line. However, he was pleasantly surprised. In fact, he heard the words he expected.
“We would like to offer you the position of Artistic Director,” they said.
Jesse thanked the woman who called, holding back tears of joy and excitement. After hanging up, she immediately called her husband and dad to tell them the wonderful news. She felt like the star of her own real life movie, and every experience she’d had finally made sense. To her, it felt like she had finally found her home.
“I went to almost a decade later, on May 21, 2018 at 10:10 a.m. … when a large part of my identity, that job, was taken away from me.”
They told him they wanted to go in a different direction, and Jesse was completely shocked and heartbroken. He couldn’t breathe and didn’t even know if he wanted to do it anymore. Feeling like a criminal, they escorted her out of the theater for the last time. When she put the last box in her car, she heard them redo the code for the door behind her.
“295 nights a year of great programming, produced in black, at a salary that kept me and everyone I supervised in the red,” he said. “50-70 hour workweeks, years without health care and / or benefits, and yet here I was, on the sidewalk with the garbage.”
She had taken the job because of her love of the theater. and drama, not the benefits or the pay. So the unexpected job loss affected her even more, because it hadn’t been just a job, it became her identity.
“What should I do? What do you do when you lose your identity?” He thought. “Well, at first I didn’t do anything. The relative silence of a community that I loved and dedicated myself to doing anything but breathing impossible ”.
Job loss can lead to an identity crisis
Of course, he eventually got tired of reflecting on the past, so he took advantage of his artistic side. She wanted an answer to how she could move on with her life and recreate herself to feel whole again. So, she dug deep into herself, taking the puzzle apart piece by piece. Day after day, she thought and searched her soul, trying to figure out where to go from there.
“I went to the burrows of YouTube, which led me Ted speaks, podcasts, audiobooks. This led me to new questions, which eventually led me to ask myself the right question, ”he said. “Spoiler alert: looking inside for answers really helps!”
He realized that identity is not defined by a person, place, thing, or job. Suddenly, she had an epiphany that her sense of self comes from “what we bring to each person, place, or thing we interact with.”
He felt that he finally wanted to breathe again, if his idea of identity could manifest itself in reality. From there, he thought deeply about what he brought to the table that no one else did. What could I offer the world?
In letters that he kept for decades, he found his answer. Her former colleagues, employers, employees, and students helped her realize what made her stand out.
“His words helped me regain my true identity and what my soul once knew,” he said. “I brought two non-negotiable things: 1) a fierce determination to fight and support the homeless, regardless of the consequences, and 2) the ability to find and bring out that special spark in someone. A spark that I think everyone has ”.
“I give it oxygen, I help it grow. I’m a fire starter, and this identity cannot be lost, taken away, or taken in a different direction because it’s inside, ”Jesse realized.
He was finally able to catch his breath after finding the answer.
Loss of work It happens to the best of us, because nothing in this life lasts forever. We can’t always plan for something like this to happen, but that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just means that you are ready for something better and the universe intervened for you.
“People, places, jobs, they have always come and gone and will continue to do so, no matter how much we love them and wish they weren’t. So choose it to define and root our identities as something that is within us and that cannot be removed ”.
If you define your identity outside of your job, you will always have something to build on when everything around you collapses. This discovery led Jesse to discover his true self: the fire starter.
“The indestructible identity within all of us is no small thing. It is all that matters. Because the world needs everyone’s spark, especially now. “
Jesse hopes her story can help someone breathe again and remember their true identity. His experience shows that even if you have lost your dream job, you can find light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps the loss of a job can open a new door, a new opportunity, that lights the fire in your soul even brighter than before.