Don’t dream it’s over

Last week, I lost my dream job.

Okay, so the job itself wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows because if we’re being real with ourselves, no job is. Not even your dream job. But it was close. It was a company I was proud to work for. A team of people I truly adored. A role that challenged me and could have fun with, but wasn’t interfering in my work-life balance. It was my version of a dream job.

Some days, I would be cooking lunch for forty of my team mates, ensuring I’d catered for the vegans, the coeliacs, the pescatarians. Other days I’d be planning an off-site retreat for the entire team to spend four days in the country, or doing logistics to determine if our converted warehouse office space would be big enough to fit a burger truck inside for a party.

We would plan elaborate and quirky surprises for our clients and I would be in charge of ideating and bringing whatever far-flung idea we had dreamt up into fruition. I got a kick out of interacting with each person in the company on a regular basis. I found enjoyment in organising people, implementing processes and making people’s lives a little easier. I took pleasure in crafting engaging mail outs and messages to the team that allowed me to explore my creative side and my love of words and my silly sense of humour.

On the less-than-dreamy days, I would feel like a nagging mother, repeating the same tired old lines over and over to her naughty children. It was a largely thankless role. Most of the day to day tasks involved doing lots of little bits that nobody noticed until I stopped doing them. But for the most part, I loved it.

I loved going to work and being greeted by a caring, creative, funny, intelligent group of people with such a diverse range of skills and personalities yet so many similar qualities that it had felt like an instant family from the second I walked in the door. There was a sense of genuine passion, shared goals and absolute adoration for one another. It felt almost cult-like in the most wholesome way. We all hung out on the weekends, we’d go for after-work wines and see bands together on school nights. Some of my team mates even ended up dating — some even moving in together or getting married. Most of us became inseparable best friends.

Since our offices had closed down in mid-March, my coffee table had become my workspace and my commute had shrunk from a 30 minute walk to a 2 second army roll out of bed and onto the couch, which was now my desk chair. I felt perpetually annoyed at myself because despite the extra hour of sleep this new work arrangement allowed me, I still couldn’t seem to get up when my first alarm went off and do all the things successful people seemed to be doing before starting work at home. Going for a run, having a shower, continuing to get dressed as though you’re going into the office instead of wearing a mickey mouse t-shirt with a miscellaneous food stain and no pants for 24 hours straight. Like a goddamn toddler. I’m the toddler in this scenario.

That morning was different though. I woke up early, showered, got dressed, made a real coffee. Felt semi-human as I opened up my laptop to start my day. At 9 on the dot, my manager asked if I could jump on a zoom with her and one of the company directors. I rummaged around my room to find my headphones so as not to disturb my housemate who was also now working from home.

All I remember is thinking, “great, they’ve got a fun task for me to do or a new project for me to get my teeth stuck into while there’s no physical office for me to manage”. But the second their words started spilling out, I knew the dream was over. Time slowed down, my brain went blank, tears rolled down my cheeks as they spoke.

I don’t remember what the words were. It was just a fuzzy movie montage of that moment where the protagonist’s life changes forever and everything being said is drowned out by Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House and an overwhelming sensation of numbness.

Every time I write something, I feel the need to end on a positive or uplifting note, no matter how depressing the subject matter is. But right now, I don’t know what the silver lining is, I just know there is one. Something good will come from this. In fact — just me sitting my ass down and finally writing something for myself is that something good.

The dream isn’t over, it’s just changing shape.