When I graduated college, I was on top of the world. 8 months later, I got fired.

When my boss fired me, I said "Yup, that makes sense," and gathered up my things to go.

He didn’t mince words and neither did I — we wished each other well and that was that. I had been eating tortilla chips at my desk before he called me into his office, and the thing I remember most was my face flushing at how loud the bag crinkled as my coworkers watched me pack my things.

My firing didn’t come as a surprise to anyone. My team and I had struggled for months, and it was obviously due to my inexperience and subsequent unhappiness working in an environment fraught with stress. In fact, I’d already interviewed for a few different positions and was planning to leave the company soon.


Taken in that context, the dismissal itself shouldn’t have been much of a blow. If anything, this is a blessing! I told myself as I took the elevator to the ground floor, thinking of the severance pay and unemployment benefits that I would receive. I feel liberated. And then I stepped out onto the street in the Financial District of New York and immediately, uncontrollably, started to cry.

This isn’t a thinkpiece on millennials, but I’d be remiss if I failed to acknowledge that I am one.

I like selfies and Instagram and I have at some point in my life received a participation ribbon for something. More importantly, like most of my (white, middle-class) peers, I was raised to believe that there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish if I worked for it. You may know that this is not true. I, until recently, did not.

I’ve never felt entitled to success, but I misguidedly learned that my work was. I got just about everything I worked for in college  —  good grades, competitive internships, a job offer before graduation  —  but only because I was busting my ass to get them. I had a resume out the door, as did many of my bright and successful peers. Many of us seemed to land the trifecta of expectations (Job! Benefits! Apartment!) pretty quickly. It seemed like all of those you-can-do-it-isms were true. And then a whole bunch of us got fired.

If you’re planning on raising a kid, I highly recommend not letting them get to 22 without experiencing at least one real, crushing failure in their life.

It knocks you for a loop. I interpreted my firing as a sign of some immense personal flaw, something of which to be deeply ashamed, a mark of my incapability as a worker and as a person.

The reality was much less dramatic: I just wasn’t the right person for the job. I’d been hired to replace a woman with an MBA and 10 years of job-specific experience at a fast-paced corporate marketing agency. I, on the other hand, was a liberal arts undergrad and aspiring writer whose foremost strength lay in using my personality to make up for what I lacked in managerial skill. I thought I could do any job if I tried hard enough. But there are just some jobs for which you need more than a good work ethic, and I learned that the hard way.

Looking back, I wish someone had taught me how instructive failure could be in figuring out where I was headed. Rather than fear-mongering me about the job market, I wish someone had told me that periods of unemployment are to be expected, no matter how hard-working you may be. I wish I’d known that, if done right, joblessness can be something that I use to my advantage.

Being unemployed taught me how to function as an individual instead of an employee or a student for the first time in my life.

I got to see what a week might look like without a boss or professor’s expectations shaping my schedule. I gave myself the flexibility to work during hours that I felt productive and to take breaks when I hit a slump. And most importantly, I proved to myself that I had planned well enough to live comfortably for a period of time on a deficit budget, which meant that I didn’t need to pressure myself into taking a job that made me unhappy for fear of being unable to pay the bills.

The whole experience gave me confidence in my own capability, allowed me the opportunity to recalibrate my early career with a clear perspective, and helped me redefine success in the context of my own happiness instead of someone else’s.

What I ended up learning while I was unemployed is that I'm not cut out for office life, and that there are other options.

I liked living on my own schedule so much that I decided to find a job that would let me keep doing just that, which is why I'm now a full-time freelance writer and marketing consultant. I manage my own workflow and determine my own location, which is why I’m currently writing this from the southern coast of Spain. If I work 40 hours for 50 weeks like a regular employee, I’ll actually make more money this year than I was making at my old job. But the best thing about my work is I also get to toggle my hours up or down according to whether I need more money or more time to live my life.

All that came from being granted a period in which I had absolute freedom to explore what I really wanted and was capable of. But I never would have leapt into the abyss of full-time self-employment if I hadn’t been pushed.

So that’s the answer, friends: If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Or try something else. Or take some time for yourself. Falling short of success is a part of life at every stage, even the times when you feel young and fresh and promising. So you failed  —  get up. In most cases, the likelihood is that you have everything you need to pull through it just fine. And once you do, you’ll be that much stronger for it in the end. I certainly am.

This story was originally published on Medium in 2016 and is reprinted here with permission.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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