Nobody “makes it on their own”. That is a lie.
When a business succeeds, it owes the success to its backers as well as its customers.
Writers are no different.
If my then-editor at Malaysiakini didn’t let me write the impassioned rant that became “Why is your Allah not my Allah?” I wouldn’t have gotten the exposure I did. That exposure opened a lot of doors, one of which led to my current workplace.
I wouldn’t even be at my current workplace if my current boss hadn’t decided, on the basis of a few impassioned op-eds and my tech background, to ask me to meet up for a chat.
There’s a story I haven’t told many people: When my current boss rang me up, I was probably at the lowest point of my career. I was broke. Jobless. And pretty much convinced I was unemployable and washed up. (Those jobless weeks pretty much ruined my credit but that’s another story altogether)
I’d made four back-to-back attempts at a career change and they were disastrous. Two PR gigs, subediting alternative news and heading a doomed local news website. I think I did my best but ultimately, my best just wasn’t good enough.
After finding out I wouldn’t be confirmed at the last gig (despite being there for nearly 11 months), I went to KLCC and blubbered into a cup of New Zealand’s Natural ice cream.
The next few weeks, I just sat around in my pyjamas writing ghost stories trying to jump start a freelancing career…which wasn’t working out all too well. I had precious few leads and very little confidence left.
And then a phone call changed everything.
So I’m grateful. Grateful for great bosses and colleagues. Grateful for an arrangement that makes me happy. When things were at their worst, when I thought there was no hope, things turned around.
Thinking back, at every point of my career, someone had to take a chance on me.
I’m just glad someone did.