Failure, Reframed

Last year, I decided to make a massive career change: I would stop writing, and I would become a nurse.

The decision was simpler than the process. To pass the entrance exam for nursing school, this Art and Theater major had to pull out all the stops in the math and science departments. I knew it would take some doing. And I guessed (rightly) that I couldn’t do it alone.

So, I shoved my usual introvert ways to the side, and, readers, I hustled. I declared my intention loud and clear to the universe—i.e., Facebook. I networked with as many nurse friends as I could track down. I asked a teacher friend to tutor me for long hours in math (never my strong suit—the asking for help or the math). I learned Pressure Laws and osmosis and body systems and what the Golgi Apparatus was for by watching science videos on YouTube with my daughters. I pleaded with my family for more help around the house so I could devote myself to studying like a madwoman for the entrance exam.

I passed the exam with flying colors. I even rocked the interview (and promptly went home and passed out from the exertion).

I got in.

Once more, I channeled my inner extrovert and posted the good news. My parents and my brother (a doctor) were over the moon. Facebook cheered for me: For a single mom, nursing is much more practical than writing! Finally, steady income! Your girls must be so proud!

When my school supplies—books, stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and requisite white clogs—arrived in the mail, I could practically taste the sterile tang of my Florence Nightingale future. This was it. I had finally—after half a lifetime of seeking and not-finding—discovered my calling. I would rock school like I’d rocked the entire admissions process, I decided. In fact, I would rock the nursing profession. I would become a nurse practitioner someday. I would finally become a respectable grownup, with a respectable profession. I had this in the bag.

Insert vinyl record screech.

Five days later, as I wept uncontrollably at the dining room table, surrounded by a castle wall’s worth of nursing texts and first week’s homework, my nursing dream crashed and burned. Spectacularly.

To be clear: I had been crying since the first day of class ended. The program—a one-year intensive LPN course—ran from 3:45 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. each day, five courses at a time. The class itself was big and boisterous, vastly different from my home environment, where I was used to writing alone with a dog at my feet. I stammered through class presentations, my face flushed and my hands shaking. I was drained and on edge and couldn’t think straight. The multi-tasking was frying my brain. Ancient OCD symptoms burst forth like a sprinkling of spring blooms: I couldn’t brush my notebook paper with the side of my hand without wanting to vomit. No, I thought. Not now. It had been a long while. I was scared, but I was also furious at the limits of my own brain.

I’ve written openly in the past about my lifelong debilitating anxiety and suicidal depression. I take an absurd number of medications daily to keep my snarling demons mollified by day and to put them to sleep at bedtime. I see my psychiatrist regularly. I am a good psych patient because I have to be. It’s what keeps me alive, and my daughters need me alive.

With the advent of nursing school, I was not sleeping. When I did manage to fall asleep, with the assistance of sedatives that would bring down a rhino, terror nightmares slammed me awake, heart jackhammering in my ribcage. My brain was saying: BUT WE HAVE TO KEEP GOING. EVERYBODY KNOWS. WE’VE COME THIS FAR. But my body was telling my brain otherwise: NICE TRY. NO WAY.

Part of being a good mental health patient is active self-awareness; it’s knowing the difference between a fleeting emotion (“Jeez, the deli section is really stressing me out today”) and the potent gut instinct telling you that you’ve taken a terribly wrong turn and that if you don’t listen up, there will be hell to pay.

I knew the answer, but I wished I didn’t: In this case, it was the latter. There would be hell to pay. My daughters knew it too. My younger one, now 12, climbed into my lap as I was sobbing onto my piles of homework. She said, “Mom, I think there’s got to be a better way. This just isn’t your right way.”

She’d nailed it. This was the wrong program for me. It didn’t matter that I was off to a good-enough start, making friends and scoring high marks on quizzes. It didn’t matter that the Facebook friends and family believed I could just push through and succeed. What mattered was the fact that I was most surely going to torpedo my mental health if I kept going like this. A peculiar paradox: learning to heal others would mean I’d be harming myself.

I formally withdrew from the program. And there it was: total and complete failure, impossible to hide.

My nursing teachers were understanding and supportive of my need to bow out. I think you’d be a very honorable addition to our profession, one wrote to me afterward. I tried not to care about what others would think. I coiled into my introverted self and lay low, licking my wounds. But the messages flooded in: How are classes going? Bet you’re killing it!

I finally posted on Facebook a brief message to explain to well-wishers that I wouldn’t be continuing with this particular nursing program. All of the kind, reassuring comments I received vanished in the face of the single disapproving remark: Didn’t you just start? Did you at least make it to the end of a semester?

I think it’s hard for most people to reframe a crushing disappointment as a detour or a plot twist. In this case, my failure felt especially devastating because I had invited the world in to witness my journey. I had extroverted my way into a success that proved to be something else, and now there was nowhere to hide. Borrowing moxie from my extroverted friends and families had helped me achieve a goal, that was certain. What would help me get past this setback?

As usual, my super-extrovert mother encouraged immediate action. “Become a certified nursing assistant! Here’s a link to a Red Cross program that starts on Sunday!” Exuberant friends texted ideas: “Approach a hospice center and tell them you’ll work for free for a customized on-the-job training program!” “Shift to Health Informatics!” “Move to Hawaii!”

Instinctively, I recoiled from all the advice. “I need to regroup,” I told everyone. The thought of plunging down another path before I’d sorted out what had just happened was absolutely horrifying. I knew in my gut the only voice I needed to hear was mine—and the din was way too loud for me to find it.

Why were the extroverts in my life pressing for more action rather than introspection? Well, Eyneck’s studies on cortisol—the so-called “arousal” hormone—found that extroverts have lower levels of cortisol on a regular basis, which sends them careening into the world for new experiences and new interactions. People self-identifying as introverts measured at higher, more constant levels of cortisol. In other words, introverts don’t need to find stimulation: it finds them, and additional interaction can render them overstimulated and stressed.

Don’t dwell so much on it was the constant refrain from my extrovert relatives and pals. But grieving and brooding is exactly what led me to a shift in thinking. I gave myself permission to process the failure in my own way and time. Characteristics prominent in introverted people (often described in the context of Carl Jung’s research and Myers-Briggs types) include deriving energy from time alone and making choices deliberately without the need for others’ input. My extroverts didn’t like the look of it, but my truest self sure did.

I knew it was back to the drawing board for me, which meant new planning and hard-core problem solving: precisely the stuff that we introverts excel at. One well-documented study found that introverts possess greater blood flow in the frontal lobes of the brain as well as the frontal and anterior thalamus—all parts of the brain equipped for heavy-duty internal processing. In a sudden and welcome lightbulb moment, I wondered if I was possibly better equipped than my extroverted loved ones to handle failure, to find the lesson in it, and to adapt accordingly?

I decided to go for broke: I would surrender completely to my introvert ways and see where they took me. Several deactivations and unsubscribes from social media accounts and an untold number of marketing emails later, I felt unburdened. I was still smarting, for sure, but my introvert soul felt more in control and more at peace, better equipped to ponder my next move. Disclaimer: I did keep one online account, Pinterest. Minimal human interaction was still required, and where better to curate my collection of reassuring quotes about recovering from failure? Words from those who’d seen career shipwrecks and lived to right their vessels were suddenly as soothing to me as sea air:

Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again. —Henry Ford

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. —Thomas A. Edison

Big words like these provided much needed perspective. Maybe I was only beginning again, intelligently. I’d cordoned off a path that wouldn’t work for me—but maybe now I was one step closer to finding one that would. Now, if only I could find the map.

After a few melancholy weeks of radio silence with the world and connection with myself, I woke up one morning with a very specific (and writerly) question in my head: What was my underlying theme, after all?

I sat with my coffee and pondered my original motivation for all the work that I’d put in to get into nursing school. I’d lost sight of it in all the talk and motion. I’d attempted a nursing program for a reason bigger than the paycheck, the security, and the adorably utilitarian clogs: I’d just wanted to help people. I may have bombed at this particular nursing school program, but could I find other ways to pitch in in my community while I figured out what came next? Definitely. Would that lead to something? Maybe.

I started that day by signing up at Volunteer Match (volunteermatch.org), a site that matches volunteers to local community projects, based on each volunteer’s specific skill set and preferences. My girls and I have been volunteering for several years with a local Meals on Wheels organization, but I knew I could surely do more now with the extra time. Through Volunteer Match, I was linked to an organization in our rural area that provides support to new mothers in need of weekly help and companionship. This was an admittedly extroverted task, but I realized that working directly with a family in need felt the closest to what I’d hoped to do with nursing. I took the plunge and signed up. I felt a quiet yes in my gut. I also applied—and was accepted—to start training as a volunteer crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line. When I finish my training, I’ll be working a four-hour shift each week, helping people in crisis stabilize and find the resources they need. So although I failed at one thing, colossally, I’ll still be honoring my primary motivation—helping others—and let that be my new North Star.

In addition to volunteering, I went back to the career drawing board. I made lists of other possible jobs and paths. I emailed for information on everything from different nursing programs (one or two classes at a time) to certificate programs in genealogy. I stopped checking in nervously with the world and simply checked in with me. It would be a year of introspection combined with action, no matter how small. It would be the year of little promises kept and medium-sized commitments honored.

I couldn’t stop writing—I needed food and heating oil, after all. Was there a different way of looking at my writing, then? Could I get better at it this year? I didn’t know, but I could try: I signed up for a summer writing conference (a very small one, only 12 writers) to work on my craft with the help of other like-minded souls. Could I find new opportunities in the same old field? I peeked out of my turtle shell to ask my editor if she thought there might be room for an advice column here at Quiet Revolution, one headed up by my inner grumpy introvert. To my great surprise and pleasure, my editor gave me the thumbs-up—which means my most authentic self gets to be a bossyboots know-it-all on a regular basis. (My authentic self is chuffed.)

I made another deal with myself. I’d do one creative thing a day: write a poem, take a photograph, sketch a cartoon, hike with the dogs, send someone a handmade card, teach myself to make lemon curd (maybe I’d find out what lemon curd was first—thank you, my beloved Pinterest). These were tiny actions in the grand scheme of life, but I liked being accountable to myself for staying creative and remaining engaged with my own life in ways that have always provided me quiet, intense joy.

Months after what I saw as my biggest failure, the peace and quiet I’ve allowed myself in real life and online in this painful, awkward, transitional period means my inner voice continues to pipe up regularly in a way it hasn’t in a very long time. I’ve given my gut permission to do the talking, and my gut knows I am finally listening. Yes. Keep going. Add only what makes sense. Let go of what you don’t need.

Do I know what the future holds for me, career-wise? Nope. But do I still feel like a failure, afraid to show my face? No. And that comes as a pleasant surprise. I’m doing things my way, and I’m betting the process has more surprises in store. The journey has become, maybe for the first time ever, more interesting than the result. I honestly feel better, more in the moment, more grounded, and simply more myself. It’s not a nursing degree or a steady paycheck, but you know what? I’ll take it.

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  • Benjamin R

    I strongly relate to this story, I lived more or less similar things in my medical studies and it took me a lot of time before understanding that it was not appropriate for me. Thank you very much for your sharing, it really touches me deeply.

  • Not another user name

    What a very helpful post, you have helped me to understand and define the introvert that I am. And it is your talent for writing that has achieved that,very successful writing. Keep doing it, don’t try and hide this talent, use it to fulfil your need to help others.

  • Tracy

    Great piece; resonated a lot with me since I’m having a similar (introverted, Jungian) journey. Among my favorite lines: “I knew in my gut the only voice I needed to hear was mine—and the din was way too loud for me to find it.” I also “just want to help people” and also ended up volunteering for Crisis Text Line (very rewarding!). I’m still exploring and redirecting my efforts periodically (fortunately I never believed in failure as a heavy negative thing). You articulated the strategy so well: “Keep going. Add only what makes sense. Let go of what you don’t need.” Deep down, “the map” is there: To thine own self be true. 🙂 I feel you’ve triumphed regardless whether you’ve figure things out completely — congrats! Our process WILL have more surprises in store, and just like you, “I’ll take it.” Cheers

  • Tal Genkin

    This is something I felt happened several times in my life. It was very inspiring for me to read. The older I get the more I feel that there is no one direction I should go in, but rather go each time in the direction that feels more right and then change it when my interests change.
    The post was fascinating. Best of luck!

  • Phyllis Y

    Definitely make the lemon curd. You won’t be sorry. 🙂

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  • Fran Thring

    Thank you Jennifer. I love your writing and your story was far more inspirational with its twists and turns than had it all turned out as a “Facebook” perfect appease the masses story.

    Oh, and I LOVE Grumpy Introvert. She’s the best.

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  • JillieB

    Hi Jenn! I’m a fellow CTL-er. I saw your name pop up on the FB page and remembered reading your blog (Breed ’em and Weep) when I was really into blogging. Your words then and your words now have really helped me through some dark times and have been a comfort when I’ve felt alone. Thank you for your beautiful writing. áfram.

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  • Jennifer M

    finding you and your grumpasaurus voice today has made me feel like i’ve found a kindred spirit. i’m trying to move through a tarpit of sludge with two beautiful girls in tow. you inspire me. you humble me. you give me hope. thank you. i’m going to pretend for heretoevermore that we are friends. cause sometime a girl just need to pretend. mwah.

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  • MerzInTally

    Bless you for sharing your story, Jennifer. Your bravery is admirable, and your honesty is wonderful. Hour and salary reductions and layoffs are affecting myself and members of my immediate family presently, and I empathize with your descriptions of the inner mental battle one struggles with compensating for what was “safe and dependable” structure. Being quiet and open to opportunities and creative ways to contribute is so very important. Thank you for you, and sharing your world and inspiration with others!

  • Gary Schultz

    You are one super cool lady, I like you as you come across here and good on you

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  • Elizabeth Meehan

    Jennifer, thanks for telling your story. I wish you well on your journey!

  • Heydon Hensley

    Great article, thanks so much for sharing. As a writer (albeit not as skilled nor as committed as you are) myself, I had a pretty similar arc of wanting to help people and that leading to crisis intervention. Those writing skills of solid research and digging out the most interesting questions are incredibly useful – whether it’s on Crisis Text Line (a regular referral I make) or in-person with survivors of DV/SA, that ability to trust yourself to develop the tools you need is very freeing.

  • Rhonda Simpson

    This article was everything that I needed and more. I work as an accountant, but want to switch careers to writing – so I’m slightly envious of you. I was accepted into a liberal arts graduate program to pursue a master’s in creative writing, told everyone about it, but couldn’t attend due to finances and distance. I, too, had to disengage from social media for peace of mind. I was pretty bummed about it, but I’m not giving up on changing careers and I hope you don’t either. Thank you for sharing your story and letting me know that I’m not alone.

  • Delancey

    Darling Jennifer, I adored your article. Please remember that just because your initial choice of nursing didn’t work out the way you hoped, your intention was pure – to provide a steady income for your family. I believe the path that was laid out before you in the aftermath was truly your destiny. I admire the decisions you made going forward and the education they provide – the path is not always “straight”. You have helped to jump-start my creative process, and I thank you for sharing your experience with your fellow introverts.

  • Cathy Davies

    Thank you for this post. It is very relevant for me as I am leaving my current job soon. Many people ask me if I have any thing lined up but I want time to process what went wrong and what I want to do next. I can afford to have a few months off, if I need too.

  • Susan

    Wow! Thank you for putting yourself out there both in terms of trying something new, sharing it with others and writing about it. You are a great writer and courageous, and I enjoy reading what other fellow introverts have to say. I resonated with your story as I just quit my long-time career a few days prior to my 50th birthday with the goal to start my own business. I am in the fear of failure stage (as I call it) afraid to tell anyone especially my former coworkers and clients for fear it doesn’t work. What will they think? And, really should I care? I, too, am spending time leading up to this stage doing creative things, spending time reflecting on the past and what I want from the future. Several epiphanies have occurred which has given me the courage to keep moving forward–one day at a time. Courage is a good friend. Nobody faults someone for trying and not succeeding. Get up when we fall down! Keep the faith! I am!

  • Christina Cooper

    So, so, so wonderful – both your story and the way you told it. I relate deeply to everything you said as a fellow freelance writer and person who can’t seem to find another career to help people that doesn’t violate my introversion and anxiety. (Thinking about asking the local funeral home if there’s a position there for me.) Just wanted to say thanks for sharing all this.

  • Shelby Webb

    This is Monday motivation, if I have ever seen any. Good luck, Jennifer!

  • kit

    Great story, Jennifer. I identified with this so, so much.

    I spent much of my adult life either wanting to be something I’m not or struggling in various work environments that required teamwork, faking extroversion (which I can do–and be exhausted later), or having to talk through rather than quietly think through problems. Then I discovered editing–not only did it require me to think quietly and sometimes deeply, but I was good at it! Win-win. I’ve been editing for over seven years now.

    My real dream, though, was to study and teach biology. It had been my goal for a most of my adult life. So I entered into a master’s program and got to it. My plan was to teach biology at the high school level (or maybe community college if possible), but after intensive research into what a typical day was like (and too many accounts of unhelpful or passive-aggressive coworkers), I realized it wasn’t for me. Now what? Like you, I wasn’t making as much as I wanted. What to do?

    So I decided, much like you did, to pursue nursing. I announced it to everyone. I bought books. I went to information sessions. I spent two months reading the allnurses website nearly every day. This was just three months ago. I’m still in the master’s program, two semesters from completion, but panicking because 1) now (I thought) my master’s degree would be a waste of money, and 2) I honestly do get sick of being cut off from the world all. the. time. Most of the time? Yes, please. Nearly all the time? No. So getting an associate’s in nursing seemed to make sense. I had taken some of the prereqs already as an undergrad, had some caregiving experience, love science…perfect fit, right?

    But the more I read about the social environment–not so much the work with the patients as what it was like working with other nurses–I started looking into home health and palliative care. I decided I definitely didn’t want to work in a hospital. Too much interaction with coworkers and everything that goes with it. Then I discovered home health and palliative care didn’t pay as well at the RN level. I would have to get another master’s just to be in the sort of environment that I truly love–one that offers autonomy, one-on-one interactions, independent thinking–and make the amount I wanted to make. I decided nursing was not for me.

    After that, I felt completely unanchored. I became depressed. Everything felt pointless and hopeless for a couple of weeks. Out of that depression and struggle to find meaning, though, I blossomed. I realized I love what I do, and that I could specialize in science editing. Then I landed new gigs doing just that, and I started taking my career and myself seriously for the first time. Most importantly, I surrendered and became okay with who I am. Like you, I am searching for small ways to give something of myself to others, but I’m now okay with *wanting* to work alone and think alone–and I may just reach my income goals after all.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you all the best on your journey, and I’m so excited for both of us!

  • Michele Engel

    I’m 62 years old, an introvert, a writer, a business/marketing consultant, an artist, and many other things. I just want you to know that you are an exceptionally good writer and there is every reason to believe that you can generate revenue from that skill. Whether it will be enough revenue to support you and your family all of the time remains to be seen. So I understand your desire to have some work that also meets your needs to express yourself authentically and also gives you some economic stability.

    After years of therapy and struggles with addiction issues, depression, and suicidal moments, I also want you to know that you are exceptionally self-aware and, for that reason, can expect to be successful in whatever “job” you decide would be a good fit. You will be heads and shoulders above the rest because you understand yourself and others is useful ways and can communicate so effectively.

    Personally, I feel validated by everything you wrote–and better informed about what’s known about introversion as it relates to my needs and my behavior.

    Thank you for so generously sharing your experience with the rest of the world. It is important work that you do as a writer. It calms, it soothes, it heals this introvert’s pain (as I know it dos other’s).

    I’m so glad you’ve pivoted to explore other avenues than nursing, with its heavy reliance on knowledge of math and science, to find meaningful and lucrative work. I can easily see you in roles as social worker, counsellor, educator, trainer, etc. It is very smart of you to take advantage of volunteer opportunities to further explore your options.

    What a wonderful learning experience you have just had. (And they are ALL learning experiences!) You clearly have a great life ahead of you–full of rich and varied experiences–so much more to discover!

    I am really looking forward to following you here on Quite Revolution.

  • Martin Sconduto

    Hi Jenn. Thank you so much for writing this! Your article will really help me navigate some tough decisions I need to make about my career. 🙂

    One creative thing a day.. Yes!

  • Joy Sabin

    Jennifer it takes great courage to listen to our inner voices. 3 years ago I left a job that required me to be ‘on’ and very engaged with others much more often than I was comfortable with. I would come home exhausted daily after having faked it by seeming to be extroverted. I now understand that I don’t need to put myself through the pain of being something that I’m not. I am finally appreciating my limits and respecting them. It is a struggle but I know that after 50+ years, I am who I am. My path now includes volunteering as well and also a creative outlet-photography. I am learning to focus on my photography and I am learning so much and enjoying myself a great deal more. No path forward is without bumps or twists but it is forward.

  • This hit home for me, a fellow introvert and writer. Two years ago I had a career crisis – as a stay at home mom and sometimes writer (never for pay, sadly) I felt overwhelmed by my complete lack of financial security. I scoured possible career routes and came up with…nurse ! Even though I have always struggled with math and science. After researching programs and reaching out to nurse friends and acquaintances, I had the sudden realization that this was wrong – for me. Like your daughter said to you. But this article reminds me that besides financial security, I picked nursing because I like to help people, and I’m good at it. As my kids get older and more independent perhaps I will explore monetary ways to use my strengths. Very glad you’re seeking your path the way that comes naturally to you.

  • Jenn Anderson

    This is beautiful and something I connect with strongly. I often feel like the world demands black and white and I live in the gray area feeling dragged through the mud. But what you’ve described is journey! The beauty of journey. Did you fail? Not by my observation – it sounded like you were excelling (in black and white terms), but where courage is exercised most is listening to your inner voice and changing course. Even when most of the world will look at you in wild confusion and offer all sorts of “fixes” when nothing is actually broken. Your simply on your journey and I champion you!

  • Monica Renning

    Thank you for sharing, really needed to hear this today.

  • Your story reminds me of my path through college: Biochem & Computer Science Double Major… change Biochem to Microbiology and drop the double…. graduate and try a Forensic Science grad program… Discover it’s not for me in the first weeks; leave after two trimesters. … Enter a Micro grad program. “Fire” my thesis advisor. Get lucky and get a new advisor. Graduate. Get a programming job. Flourish!

    Each change felt scary to contemplate. Each change, after I made it, was clearly the right thing to do.
    I’m still tweaking my path. Each tweak has felt right.

    You can too!

  • Nancy Bergstrom

    Jennifer, so glad you recognized along with your astute daughter that the first nursing path wasn’t right for you. I have gone through a couple different work/retraining attempts over the years. One – a totally early splash down like yours here – and was glad pretty quickly that I did not go further in that route. Another one that had some benefits for me, and then finally going back to become an IT geek – and that stuck for over 20 really enjoyable work years.
    And I and doing it again now at close to 60 since the market and life have altered some. Don’t give up, but take more time like you are to sort out where you need to be. Things not working out are good lessons – both in that the particular path may not be the right one, and also, that you (all of us) are resilient and can move in another direction.
    Be proud of your discovery path – you can learn all sorts of things in all sorts of ways. Life is pretty boring if it is a straight path. I am sure you will find the right way for you – more power to you being brave and listening to your own mind to know when things are just not quite the right mesh for you! Remember, you can sail closer in to the wind if you want to but you will need to tack and it will take a little longer. Enjoy your tacks – the thing you are looking for may be just on a slightly different course.

  • Marlana Sherman

    To me, you are not a failure.You were on a path of self discovery. It is hard to know what the ideal career is. I think I have found it but it will not be an easy road. I enjoyed your story. You might want to check out A Mind of Her Own by Dr. Kelly Brogan.

  • Ruth Lopez

    Culturally we are taught that Failure and Success are determined by external measures, and then most (myself included) find ourselves Unhappily Successful. Having left the corporate world to create my own introvert-centric company, my philosophy is simple: Success = Happiness, which can only be measured from within. Thank you for sharing your story, Jennifer, as it shows that every ‘failure’ is simply a chance to look within and pivot to what really makes us happy, at any given point in our lives.

  • Mel

    Trying to work as a Life Insurance Agent. Luckily, I’ve found an Agency that let’s Insurance Agents work from home and on their own schedule. The company is 100% Virtual On-Line. It does require a lot of Social Media activity, on-line, mainly LinkedIn. You have to become licensed in your state to sell Life & Health Insurance. Once licensed with Virtual On-Line selling we pass policy sales over to Agents licensed in a particular state and split the sale 50/50 or 35/65 depends. Great Work for Introverts, but you do have to talk on the telephone with people.

  • Just what I needed today. I’m not happy in my area and I’m in a job that doesn’t match who I am. Looking to move and had to learn over the two years to tune people out and just listen to my inner self. It’s nice to see I am not alone.

    Welcome! This community is great!

  • Chet Knable

    What open, honest, real writing, thank you so much!

  • Michael Lewis

    Jennifer, kudos for your courage. Take care of yourself and those girls. You’re a champion in their eyes.

  • Mo86

    Thank you so much for this.

  • Weston

    More than anything I want you to feel super encouraged by the community of readers here at quietrev. Me/we are inspired by your authenticity and your willgness to share with us the not so perfect stuff about your life’s journey. We are all stumbling along on the journey in one way or another and grateful to know that we are not alone. I look forward to reading your posts.

  • Carolyn K.

    Hi Jennifer, this is a great article. Thank you for your honesty and your thoughtful reflection on your journey. I left my job unexpectedly last month, and since then I’ve felt a lot of pressure to jump headfirst into the job search and take action — my soul knows that I need to take time to think about what exactly I want to do next, but my brain (and some well-meaning members of the outside world) keeps telling me that the clock is ticking and I need to take action right away. Thanks for affirming the importance of honoring my introvert self and the act of processing change internally.

  • Ian Street

    Your post resonates with me so much. Especially about the extroverting to get to where I want to go. I’ve been trying that with being more and more present on Social media and have been feeling the need to pare it back a bit. I am trying to get to writing more and even doing it professionally, but still an aspiration rather than reality as yet. And it’s been frustrating not really having the time to dive into writing due to other time constraints this last few weeks.

    I listened to a cover of “Time After Time” just after reading this. It sounds like you’re really embodying that song– it’s about going back and going inside and realize you’re there to catch yourself, no matter what.

    I too have been ignoring my internal voice too much, or have it drowned out by external noise; glad you found a way to quiet it all down. Looking forward to more of your writing here!

  • Laurie

    Hi Grumps, missed you and glad you’re back here. (Not sure where we are, but here.) Relate to this article in so many ways. Got into nursing school but took two tries and never got to be a paid writer like you are. Thanks for celebrating your daily creative thing. I’m gonna think about how to do something like that. (Gave up writing a month ago, which was supposed to be that thing; just made me feel worse as it doesn’t go anywhere. I’m too goal directed probably.) This QuietRev stuff has meant a lot to me and I love reading what introverts have to say about it all. Glad we’re learning that it’s good to just be ourselves and not push so hard to be “like them.” I know it’s not Us versus Them, but it feels good to know that being “loud” isn’t any better than being Quiet. Many thanks.

  • Alex Willging

    Wow, this was a great article. I’ve had my own struggles with defining failure over the last few years since graduating college and trying to hammer out a steady career path. And yes, I’ve had my share of well-intentioned extrovert relatives and friends giving me the same kind of advice as you describe. This was a nice affirmation for me, so thanks!