👦🏽 #AtoZChallenge: B is for Boy without a job

stormtrooper forest

Note: This is part of an occasional series about my journey to find a job.

This is a story about a boy.

This boy has a story to tell. He hasn’t been allowed to tell it. Then, he thought better of telling it. Because it’s a story about losing a job and feeling lost and helpless. He usually tells stories of enchiladas and bad-ass soccer girls.

But he’s standing here now, wearing a hair net and smelling of bulk scallops, wondering who he is right now.

Only, that thought lasts less time than it takes to bag up a pound of scallops (or wrap a whole salmon without dipping your sleeves in salmon slime.) When an employer tells you you’re unfit to write any more, out of the blue, you can do one of two things:

You can believe her, or not.

You can tell her to go play leapfrog with a unicorn and go write. Somehow. Somewhere. That’s what I’m doing, although, from the days of old (well, November), when I blogged on the regular, tons has happened – and I’ve snagged a few stories in the process.

UC disc golf
Sometimes, I’d just take my game outside and toss some plastic.

When the journey began

The best news is that today, I have three writing gigs on the radar.

I’m happy about that. This journey has been a month in duration, but it began way before that. It began when I got switched to a team writing things I knew I could write but weren’t in my wheelhouse. It’s like asking a baker to fry you some oysters.

That baker could probably do it.

I don’t want to spend much time here. My new boss didn’t agree, had me sign a slip of paper that said I was no longer fit to be a copywriter there, yadda, yadda, yadda, I fought the power, lost, and now spend lots of quality time on LinkedIn.

I know the drill.

It’s what many of you have done. You move on, you polish the resume, try to catch up with the job-chasing game, and start to ration out, at least in your mind, hot water, milk, and generic Cap’n Crunch.

You make getting a job your full-time job.

And sometimes, you wind up in a membership warehouse on an interview, giving honest answers, internally relishing the chance to be on your feet again, literally, helping customers and earning a paycheck.

[Learn more about the A to Z Challenge here.]

Past entries:

A is for Approachable Stranger in Target

card quote unemployment



  1. ksbeth says:

    and your story needs to be told, we can all identify with this at some point/points in our lives. you are clearly a writer, who needs to write, who people love to read, who can do anything he sets his mind to. you will find your way to a better place, of that i am sure.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      it’s a common road, isn’t it? i’m grateful for this space, with friends like you who have been with me through thick and thin. i’ve found a better place, a much better place, and the freedom from a constant job search will allow me to be here more regularly!

      1. Sherri Bain says:

        Very happy for you! I’m on the same path (job hunting). I want to go back into writing but it will be a challenge. I know wonderful things are in store for you at the new job and anything you do on the side! WTG, my friend! 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Thanks, Sherri! I know you’ll find a great fit. Email me – I’ll put you in touch with the agency that helped me with this job.

        I am just happy to be writing again!

  2. stomperdad says:

    Good luck, Eli. Hope something better comes your way soon. Preferably something that involves words and not creatures of the ocean.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Eric. I’m happy to say I have started a great job with wonderful people and couldn’t be happier. The only creatures of the ocean – sometimes the cafe has made-to-order tilapia.

  3. Lindsay says:

    Never let anyone tell you you’re unfit to write, Eli. That’s horse shit and you know it. Times may be tough but as the saying goes, thjs too shall pass my friend. I hope that better days are on your horizon my friend. xoxo

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Linds! The beauty of this story is that I have found a MUCH better job fit. I just couldn’t tell the story until now!

      The time in between made me lean and mean, but at the same time, patient and kind. It’s hard to say I’m glad it happened, but …

  4. Oh Eli – you post had me run through a gamut of emotions. Mad, sad, and now glad. Here’s to more wobble-recovery, more words, and a whole lot more happily-ever-after.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Deborah! Looking back, some of these posts from that period are very sad, and I might not post them all. It’s been good for me to look back on the stages of it all, and I hope it can mean something to someone else, too.

  5. Beth says:

    I’m glad you decided to tell the story, at least a little bit. It helps with processing and I am guessing it might help someone who finds themselves in a similar boat. I sure hope that better days are ahead for you my friend!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Beth. I have handful of entries, and will publish some of them. i know of other bloggers in that journey, and I want them to know it’s going to be all right. Better days are here already – I love this new job (and I’m keeping the part-time gig at Target just for kicks.)

  6. Hi Eli, good for you for sharing this. Losing a job can be a blessing in disguise but until it is, it’s simply a real affront to all we stand for. I’m sure you were doing your best at your job too and losing it makes us question EVERYTHING. I like the way you’re viewing this experience b/c a baker doesn’t make oysters. Exactly. I’m happy to hear you have some writing gigs lined up. You’re bouncing back, maybe with a few bumps and bruises.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Lisa. The waiting is the toughest, but it’s where the growth happens. Underneath it all, I never totally lost faith in my ability to write and contribute, and that’s just what I’m doing here at the new gig.

      I feel leaner and meaner, too. Ready to rumble!

  7. artistpath says:

    You are an amazing writer! I’m glad to read in comments that you’ve found a much better job and it’s a good fit. I worked in HR for years and watched so many folks moan and groan through years of jobs they hated and I always asked why they stayed. They were scared. That was always the answer and so they stayed. Moving on, for whatever reason, is a leap of faith. Glad you took the leap. Write on, my friend!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Sue! I’m so much happier in the new role. I will be sure to add that note to the next installment! So glad I got to move on to something better for me. And to a point where I have the freedom to write here again (and visit blogs I haven’t been to for far too long.)

  8. mocadeaux says:

    I always say that if we had a crystal ball and knew when that next, much better opportunity would present itself we could relax and dare I say enjoy the downtime, indeed plant a garden, or at the very least not suffer so much stress. Your story (beautifully told because you are, in fact, an incredible writer) captures the emotional gut punch familiar to many of us. I am thrilled that you are now happily ensconced in your next, much better opportunity!

  9. suzjones says:

    Congratulations on finding a new job that makes you happy. I’ve been where you were and it really leaves you questioning exactly what it is that you are good at.
    And whilst I now have another job (because it brings in money to keep a roof over our heads) I am working in the background to make the kind of life for myself and my family that makes me truly happy. 🙂

  10. Kathy G. says:

    Life has a way of zigzagging on us, doesn’t it? Glad you’re bring home a nice-sized paycheck again, and thrilled that it’s from a job you enjoy.

  11. I’m so glad you’re sharing this and I’m sorry about the job loss. You’re an awesome writer and I know you have great things headed your way, Eli!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Lecy. I appreciate the kind words, and am happy to report that great things have already arrived!

  12. It’s amazing how much work can factor into how we see ourselves. I think it’s great you’re sharing your story.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      And it’s also amazing, Crystal, how we can see ourselves as so much more than our jobs when one is taken from us. I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the posts …

  13. I’m glad you found a better fit, Eli. Love the Orson Scott Card quote!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I thought the quote was fitting, Elen. I do love the new gig! Even though I miss the pizza the old place (and the midweek, midday meditation class)

  14. Cynthia Lee says:

    well … I’ve only just found your blog and I am so enjoying your words. keep writing. everyone has a story, a voice. I love hearing yours.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you, Cynthia. I will do just that. I’m glad you’re along for the ride!

  15. I’m happy you have a job again and that you have 3 writing gigs on the horizon. You are awesome and a wonderful writer and we all get to benefit from your words! I’m sorry that you had someone tell you such a thing… “You are not fit to be a writer is WRONG!” and THEIR loss!!
    Right now I get to rely on the excuse “I’m in school! I will look for a job when I graduate!” I kind of dread those days of looking but it is the reason I went back. I am beyond blessed that my hubby can support both of us while I chase my dreams across campus. I have 4 weeks left of this semester AT school and everything else from here on out is online. I will graduate next May. Yeha! (as we say in TX) 😉 Rock on Eli! You RULE! ❤

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Courtney! You’re too kind. I never really believed them at my core, and I never felt the need to prove them wrong.

      The job search was tenuous but also a blessing. I learned so much. Yeha to you and your pending graduation! You should go to Padre Island or something.

      1. I don’t know what I will do. Hubby is going back to school this fall to get a Master’s degree.. his program will take 2 yrs. But I will celebrate somehow! 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        A burger and a beer works.

      3. IKR?? That may be all we do! LOL!

  16. So glad to be reading what you write again.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      So glad to give you something to read, Mimi. Look forward to getting to your place again.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    So, Eli, about this A-to-Z challenge. I was inspired to join this year after reading your entries of last year, so I guess I have you to, uh, thank. Glad you’re back – missed reading your stuff. Good luck!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m so behind in the challenge, Elizabeth! I want to see what you’re coming up with. It’s great to be back!

  18. Eli, you also inspired me to do the A-Z challenge this year. I’m starting to think I’m going to pull it off. I’ve missed your writing and am delighted to see you back here.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I love that, Elizabeth. Can’t wait to see what you come up with! I’m falling farther behind in the AtoZ this year than I did in high school math! AT least there was summer school for that (although, the subject I wound up in summer school for was English – true story!)

  19. It’s tough to keep up on the fly, but I’m glad you’re showing up–which is more than half the battle.

    You’ll have to tell the summer school story someday–I’m intrigued.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If I could just get a day to write and catch up, Elizabeth! And also read the other entries, check out posts on the Peaceful Posse group I’m part of on Facebook, and promote the posts after I publish.

      I will post about summer school for sure. My first book will be dedicated to the English teacher who sent me there!

  20. Hey, I didn’t know you were doing A-Z this year!

    I’m pretty sure your writing can not be the real reason for losing your job because that’s what you do! You write! Maybe write about your journey of job hunting and put it together to a humorous short story that you pitch to HR / Business magazines? Or launch your own column. There must be an audience out there.


    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Well, I’m *kind of doing* the challenge – I’m so far behind, last year’s Zs are catching up with me.

      Great idea on the short story. I’m going to post more of my job-hunt journal here – and most of it ain’t too humorous!

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