Monday, November 14, 2011
There's a new acronym in town. Along with the much maligned OMG and LOL, we now have FML. I have to admit I had no idea what 'FML' meant until recently. Guess I'm not one of the cool kids anymore. (If you still don't know what it means, this website makes it clear pretty fast.)
Like most acronyms of the texting era, FML is in danger of being overused. It is the chosen sign-off for everything from simple mishaps to truly bad days and tragedies. The website I linked to has thousands of people sharing their FML moments--enough to garner a major book deal. So I thought it might be fun to share one of mine here.
When I was younger, I had a thriving full-time freelance journalism business, and things had gotten so good that I'd stopped wanting a permanent job at a newspaper. One editor changed this.
She convinced me that the Feature Writer position would be perfect for me, and after awhile, I had to admit she was right. I already wrote a large number of feature stories for her paper, all of which were my own ideas. And covering everything from eating disorders to online dating to opposite sex friendships wasn't a bad gig. It was a lot of fun, so why not get paid (even more) for it? As much as I loved freelancing, it would be nice not to worry about where my next assignment was coming from. And freelancing still wasn't seen as a legitimate career choice. In spite of the fact that I made more money on my own than I would as an employee of our local paper, I was still regularly asked when I was going to get a "real job."
This was also a good time for positive change. My personal life was in turmoil, as I'd recently discovered that my boyfriend of three years had been cheating on me, first online and then up close-and-personal, with a reporter from Toronto. In hindsight, he did me a favor, as he clearly wasn't the right man for me, and his infidelity gave me irrefutable evidence of this. But at the time, I was heartbroken and angry. It didn't help that the other woman had moved to my city to be with my ex, so I now had to face them at social events. As our mutual friends chose sides, my pain only deepened.
All I had to do, the editor assured me, was wait for the current Feature Writer to leave the paper, and the job was mine. Thankfully, this happenstance was imminent, as this writer was also from Toronto and desperately wanted to return to her home city.
The writer left the paper within a few months, but just as I began to get excited about my "new job", things took a turn for the worst. A significant number of news reporters applied for the feature writing job, something my editor hadn't anticipated. She was concerned about the ramifications of choosing a freelancer over a unionized employee. To keep from being labeled The Bad Guy, she turned the decision over to the managing editor, which made me very nervous. I hadn't been building a relationship with the managing editor, but I finagled a meeting with him that lasted 90 minutes and seemed very promising. I was assured by my editor that I was the clear choice, and that the ME would realize that too. She had no doubts.
For a while, I heard nothing. And then an email came from my editor, saying that the managing editor was meeting with a writer from Toronto, but not to worry--it was just a formality. Just a formality? I panicked. The managing editor was from Toronto as well, and he was known for continuously hiring reporters from there. Apparently, Winnipeggers weren't "cosmopolitan" enough. I frantically sent emails to both editors, highlighting how well-traveled I was. I wrote for plenty of Toronto publications--wasn't that good enough?
Apparently not. The next contact I received was an email from my editor, asking me to meet for coffee. I instantly knew the news wasn't good.
When we met, she was contrite and disappointed for me. I'd known this was coming, but what I hadn't anticipated was who had landed "my" job. Can you guess?
Yep, the woman who slept with my boyfriend. How's that for a FML?
It ended up turning out for the best, but at the time, I wasn't sure I'd ever get over it.
Anyone else brave enough to share an FML moment on here? It hurts less when you can laugh about it. :)
Posted by J.H. Moncrieff at 7:00 PM