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I am 31, almost 32. My years of being called 'young lady' are numbered. I don't mind this; a year ago I would have minded.

I don't know how this happened. I am married and I go to work and do proofreading. I have nice friends. I have enough money to buy shoes.

Finally my career is going my way -- I have a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful boss.

Two months ago he asked me in my 1:1 if I was quiet at work because of confidence issues -- he brought this up hesitantly, almost as though he was scared of my reaction. I said I was just quiet, but yes, certain social situations scare the hell out of me. He left it at that. But the fact that he'd picked up on this bugged me.

A few days later, he burst into my office to ask me if I had any copywriting experience -- obviously I don't. He asked me if I had any interest -- but I assured him that I liked editing just fine.

The minute he left I thought -- wait, this is me being scared -- this is what he'd picked up on. This is me doubting myself because I've spent too long not having been given a chance career-wise, and too long looking at all the other talented people around me and thinking I was shit. This is me hiding, because when you create something you have nowhere to hide.

So I thought -- just trust him. He hired you. He's always supportive. He brings his pitches to massive clients so you can edit them. He knocks on your door when he's designing an important ad and doesn't know where to put a comma. He knows how to listen. He's always started from a position of faith.

So in our next 1:1, I said, 'I think there's some truth in what you said about confidence.'

His eyebrows went so high they were practically buried in his hairline.

And I told him about how I'd like to try writing. That I was petrified, but I would like to try. And I told him I was scared of creating things -- because then they would be judged. And I was scared that I wasn't quick-thinking enough, because clients want things done within a few hours most of the time. And there was absolutely no judgment.

He said, 'Do you think that's something you have in you? Writing?'

And I said, 'I don't think I'm the most creative person. I don't think I'll be the super amazing freelance copywriter that you dream of. But I am a better writer than most of the dunderheads in marketing. And I think I could save the company some money on some things. And I'd like to make a go of it. If I'm really crappy, you can tell me in a year to stick to the editing.'

And he looked really happy. And he said that he'd come up with a little project for me for the new year -- something low-key, something internal and within branch only -- basically something that I wouldn't have a complete heart-attack over. He said we'd take a 'softly, softly approach.'

A week later, I asked to speak to him privately for five minutes about a work-issue. After we'd spoken, we were walking up the stairs. And he said, 'You know, I'm glad it was only that. I was really scared for a second that we were going to lose you.'

I could have kissed him. Thank you, thank you, thank you Mark Smith -- for believing in me career-wise when no one else would. I wish I could say it to your face, and not just livejournal.


Diana Racecar

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