…Because dreams really do come true!
The reason you love your best friend has a lot to do with backstory; you don’t have to start every story anew. You just start talking and they know the hows and whys. Well, prepare to meet another really great friend. Me. I’m about to give you Ella Rucker and the unabridged version of how I went from Wall Street to Walt Disney while taking a wild ride on the welfare local.
Five years ago I got let go from a job I wasn’t in love with anymore. I got a decent severance and unemployment, and was encouraged to find the right job for myself. My quasi stepsons were new to my life and they in mine; I thought, “How perfect the timing. I get to ‘play’ stay-at-home mom for a while. This isn’t so bad.” About six months went by and another job was offered to me. Easy-peasy, right?
Well, it turns out this particular company runs on contracts and since there were none for my niche, they let me go after five months. I saw the writing on the wall, left graciously, restarted my unemployment and my job search again. Of course, this time I was über optimistic. It had only taken six months to go back to work the last time, why would this be any different?
Now during this time I had the good fortune of also having saved my 401(k); there was my savings and my retirement to lean on as well. I had plenty, but there was one bill I didn’t want to foot.. my birth control. I had problems conceiving when I was married and even though my doctor said I was clear, without a baby you never truly believe that especially when your ex is procreating like a bunny. Suffice it to say, the question of will I ever get pregnant was answered with two pink lines on a plastic stick. Yowser!
You know what they say about pregnancy brain? Well, I will never cop to that, but I will say I fell asleep at the wheel. My unemployment ran out the week after Joelle was born. I also hadn’t given my car a tune-up and the wheels were literally coming out from under me. A woman who had it together, however marginally, now needed to dig deeper. I tapped my stocks, my 401(k), and my retirement. I made some horrible decisions because I’m a new mom and did everything I could to secure a home for my child, and having lived without a lease to establish rental history, I was at the mercy of someone who took advantage of me.
So with my new rent, new mouth, and new status of hoofing it – baby in tow – life changed in a blink of an eye. It was Joelle’s dad that suggested I apply for welfare. And that’s what I did.
If you know me or follow me, you know that I’m pretty sure of things. “Something wonderful is going to happen today” is something I can be heard saying. I got that phrase from a book I’ve read multiple times by Brian Tracy and I believe all of that. So when welfare told me they had a job program I grabbed my interview suit, my “can do” ‘tude, and went to get me that job.
Whoa. It ain’t that easy. Period.
After a year of red tape, and with my credentials I still wasn’t blazing any trails. I couldn’t get work – not even at the chain stores during the holidays – and in my field, I was overqualified. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but something wonderful was going to happen. It HAD to.
I was watching a talk show one day and I see this naturally-coiffed, naturally effervescent person talking about and apparently making a living at being a mother. Cool, right? There’s no way you would believe how connected I felt to the person unless you knew how well we work together now.
I reached out to this woman for some mentoring and at some point in each email she apologized for being busy. Well, I’m the opposite of busy, how can I help? She checked my resume and said she didn’t have anything in my field. No problem. I’m a fast learner and on some level, I’ve always done administrative work. “I can’t pay you,” she says. “I need something to fill the gap on my resume. Just let me say I work for you and that’s payment enough,” I pleaded. I don’t know how many ways this woman told me “no,” but I had a reason she was wrong each time. I know I could have gotten plenty of the other jobs if I had had the same time with those interviewers that I had with this gem. I’ve never been one to push, but, oh, what a day to start, right?
Eventually I told this blogger I fancied myself a writer, that that was the passion that drove me to New York. I’ve been living my dream since that admission. Now I’m heading to talk shows, downing sangria with new friends, and loving the live of virtual work with the occasional fabulous physical rewards. I also get to find nice little emails for me at four in the morning and every hour after that because we work very hard at producing good stuff.
My new employer gives up her assistant (me again) to the traditional 9 to 5 from time to time so I can add cash to the stash. She knows I’m a mom on a mission. She knows because more often than not when she sends those four a.m. emails I’m usually up answering her. Crazy birds of a feather…..
So how did I get to Walt Disney after all of that? You work hard, stick your neck out, speak up, take risks, take direction, see the acorn for the mighty oak it can be and “by golly!” (said in my Goofy voice) you get invited to the Disney Social Media Moms ball! I get a call one day asking if I can go, and in true Cinderella fashion I say “Yes!” before I even have a dress. (You do know that Cinderella’s real name is Ella, right?)
Where this time last year, I was in the judicial throes of my eventual eviction, I’m now on a plane with my daughter returning home from one of the most magical times in my life. What did the government give me? The drive to get the heck off that system because it didn’t take into account any of my splendiferousness. I didn’t do it on my own by any means, but I did do it. I believed in myself, convinced others to believe in me and worked hard at proving us both right. Just try to knock this smile off my face! There’s definitely more work to do, but doing it from the Walt Disney World Yacht Club makes it a whole lot sweeter!
What about you? What truly wonderful thing happened the last time life stretched you to the limit and took a chance?