The path to a new endeavor can be circuitous indeed. People sometimes ask how I became an independent writer and editor, as if one day I simply decided to do so. I did begin my creative writing on my own, during a break from corporate and government jobs, but I started doing freelance work for clients because somebody asked me to. (For a few years I combined it with full-time employment.) There's an interesting back-story to my association with the corporate executive who turned out to be my first client.
In 1997, after nearly a year of looking for employment in a new location, I was hired for a contract writer position at a Fortune 500 company. Two weeks into the job, I thought I was going to lose it (the job, that is, not my temper). The person who was "losing it" in that regard was the high-powered (and high-paid) consultant who took issue with an innocent question I'd asked him in a meeting. After expounding upon value of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator psychological assessment system, he invited questions. I said I was aware of the system and agreed that it was useful, but wondered about the absoluteness of the four categories of characteristics. "Since people evolve throughout life, isn't it possible for a person's Myers-Briggs designators to change?" I asked.
The consultant rose to his full height (more than a foot above mine), his face turned crimson, and he bellowed at me: "No, the Myers-Briggs types never change! Whatever you test out to be stays the same for life!" He was so angry that for a moment I feared he might strike me. Not wanting to be hit or to lose my job (this man was well regarded by the vice president who had hired me), I assured him that he was right. I said that apparently I didn't know enough about the system and was sorry I'd asked the question (the latter was true). He calmed down, and nothing came of the incident.
Five months later, after my original contract had been extended by management, I had another run-in with the consultant. This time he was trying to obstruct my progress on an important last-minute project I had been assigned: to complete an extensive application for a prestigious award. On my own, with the cooperation of various coworkers, I would be able to meet the just-short-of-impossible deadline. With the consultant's interference, we would have to ask for an extension, which almost surely would spoil our chances of winning the award. And the award was important to the vice president, the top executive at the site and the person I worked for.
When I take on an endeavor, getting between me and doing a good job is like getting between a dog and its meat! This time I had no fear of the consultant. I continued with the project in my own way and submitted the award application on time. Afterward, in a meeting with vice president and the consultant, I boldly and forcefully told the consultant never to interfere with me in completing an assignment, ever again! Both men were speechless.
Now, over 16 years later, I still am doing work for that vice president, who now is president of his own company. When I became an independent writer and editor, he was my first client.
Was the consultant being an ogre when he yelled at me? From my perspective as a fledgling at the company, I certainly thought so. But from the perspective of a slave-labor worker who is beaten for not having produced enough after 10 hours of continuous physical toil, the incident I experienced would seem pretty mild.
Everything is a matter of perspective, and all energy expressions "count." In (finally) standing up to that tyrant of a consultant, I like to think I put some energy toward the empowerment of oppressed workers everywhere. Yet those seemingly negative incidents were part of what led me to create a business that I can take with me anywhere.
Alexi Paulina's ebooks are available at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/alexi3