I didn't have to talk publicly about losing my job in 2007 until my memoir, Slow Love, was first published in 2009. Answering questions took me right back to those tough days. I sat with one interviewer and listened as she told me about the pain she felt when she lost her job. I shared with her my frustration with headhunters who wanted to pigeonhole me: Are you a creative type? Or are you an executive? Which is it? The idea of being both simply didn't register.

And then the interviews with non-profit organizations--to which I turned because, I thought naively, I have loads of transferable skills, fewer bills to pay with grown children, and a passion for working on something that will make the world better. One non profit executive said to me: you know, I'm sick of all you people who have been making money in the corporate world coming to the not-for-profit world looking for a hand out, now that you've been laid off. I bit my tongue: I didn't remind her of the money that went from the corporate world to support her work.

My questioner nodded sympathetically. She had encountered similar difficulties, and had felt disillusioned, hurt, and frustrated before finding a job she loved.

"You know," she said after a while, "I finally got the best career advice ever, and I'm going to give it you."

I waited.

"Go where the love is."

Uh-huh. Right.

I didn't get it. Not then. It took a long time. But slowly, I began to see what she meant. Not only do I get it, but it has become my life mantra.

Go where the love is.

Don't try to make people love you. It can't happen.

Don't beat your head against closed doors behind which sit people who don't understand, or can't see, or won't see, what you have to offer.

Don't waste energy trying to convince people of your worth, when they can't see it in your work; they don't want to see it, either because they're intimidated, or have a conflicting agenda.

Don't bury your star--and we all have stars, and all of our stars sparkle with so many different talents, abilities, traits, qualities--don't bury yours among dark-minded people, where it will only tarnish.

Don't keep trying to detoxify poisonous situations. That's my big problem. I'm always the Pollyana, always believing that better is just around the corner, and always willing to fight to get there.

Sometimes better isn't around the corner--and the fight only depletes precious inner resources. Sometimes the only way to end a bad situation is to walk away.

And go where the love is.

That means not only doing what you love, but being where people love you--where they understand what you do, and, more important, where they have an affinity for who you are. Where the wellspring of creativity can be nurtured.

I know. Many people have jobs they loathe, and they can't afford to move on. Many people have bosses and colleagues who bear them ill will. To you, I offer only the hope that you can keep an eye out for something better, that you might someday be able to move on.

And in the meantime, shield your heart from the pain of not being appreciated--and figure out how to go where the love is in the rest of your life. Go home and make music. Go into the garden and paint pictures.

And to those just starting out in the world, wondering where you should start? Same thing. Go where the love is.

And don't be surprised if you find yourself learning the same life lessons over and over again.

Find the love. And go there.

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