For the next six months, I was unemployed.
After being unceremoniously “let go” from that position, I was adrift. All I had was a BA, a WSET certificate, and a lot of experience sitting on my backside making and taking phone calls and manipulating excel spreadsheets. For a young man in his mid-twenties, these seemed like dire straits.
All I knew was that I needed something to focus my energy on, and keep an eye out for any opportunities in the meantime.
Such opportunities were few and far between. With the current job market, every potential employer feels entitled to demand that candidates have a Masters Degree, five years experience in a similar role and to be “self-motivated”, or some other similar bullshit terminology spun up by their HR department.
Instead of looking for opportunities outside, I began to look within for answers. What were my strengths, and how could I leverage them?
- I had just recently started this blog
- Friends would always ask me for wine advice
- I was passionate, bordering onto obsessive, about wine
I was aware that most blogs failed within the first few months, either out of laziness or apathy. I was determined not to become a part of this statistic.
So I set myself a schedule. One blog post per week, alternating between reviews and articles.
Reviews were a challenge at first, because it was hard to justify purchasing bottles of wine when I had no cashflow. But I was determined to make a commitment, so I bit the bullet and dipped into my savings.
It was hard to think of topics for articles at first, but I persisted and found my voice. The more I wrote, the better my writing grew, the greater my desire to write became.
I read many articles on the Internet, not just wine related, to expand my knowledge.
I didn’t neglect my health either. Reasoning that I had no job to hold me back, I set a workout schedule and went onto a more restrictive diet.
In essence, I viewed and treated my predicament as a short stint in prison – I would be locked in this cell for a while, so I might as well be productive and improve my value in preparation for my reintegration into normal society.
But if it was a prison, it was minimum security – even during this time I was still able to attend numerous tastings and met with many like-minded people, while keeping my palate active at the same time.
I found myself talking about wine with more and more people, and was glad to share my knowledge. But as huge as the world of wine was, I noticed that I seemed to be repeating the same information over and over.
So I decided to write a book.
For a more tailored approach, I developed and began to offer wine consultations.
Before I knew it, I had become an author and an entrepreneur.
While I never expected to be able to pack my bags and head to Nantucket, doing these things has revealed to me what I am capable of.
At the same time, I understood that there was only so much I could do on my own. I needed a change of environment if I wanted to truly evolve further.
During this period, I spent some time sporadically sending out job applications (really, the modern version of going door-to-door and handing in your CV). One day, I received a reply…
Hi Mark, we would like to invite you to interview for the position of Sommelier with [REDACTED], at [REDACTED] Sydney. I will be contactable on this email, or the below contact numbers if you need to reschedule or cannot make it.
Otherwise, see you at 10am, Friday the 24th of October, at [REDACTED] Sydney.
Thank you in advance for your time.
[REDACTED], [REDACTED] Manager
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