Cleaning out the Cobwebs, Moving Foward

You always pass failure on the way to success.
– Mickey Rooney

When your office eats a stack of books, it’s crying out for help. And mine was screamin’ for a scrubbin’.

So I got down to it. And in the process, I had one of those infamous “ah-hah” moments.

When you go from being a corporate copywriter to a freelance copywriter, you might still be carrying some physical and emotional baggage that you don’t know about.

It’s no secret that I’ve been laid off, on average, every 12-18 months over the course of my career. And in excavating my office, I found that I was still hanging on to too much stuff (and in some cases, emotion) from my previous professional lives.

Tucked away in nooks and crannies, I found:

  • 37 versions—not including copies—of my resume, starting with my post-college job hunt
    (am keeping one from each job hunt for posterity/comparison; recycling the rest)
  • A binder stuffed with unemployment job search logs—from 6 years and 5 moves ago
    (I was in Texas then y’all. I now live near Seattle. These logs get recycled.)
  • 20+ pens from vendors
    (am donating these to the local humane society)
  • Three folders of funny cartoons that had made the cubicle rounds
    (am recycling these)
  • The “Bye-Bye” folder from a layoff almost four years ago
    (jeez, that long? recycling this)
  • Two wireless mouse devices from three or four years ago
    (am keeping these; handy for onsite visits)
  • A frayed, old power cord from a work laptop I no longer have
    (am recycling with other old electronics)
  • Five spiral bound journals with work notes
    (not sure yet; I usually keep all of my journals)
  • Over a dozen toys, tchotchkes, SWAG, mugs and other assorted “stuff”
    (am donating them all to Goodwill)

My two-day total of baggage filled two moving boxes and three garbage bags.

Here’s where I make my point…
Just like old workplace whatnots can turn your office into a dysfunctional storage bin (that eats books), the emotions associated with those whatnots can stunt your new professional growth.

Those emotions help form the roots of your self-doubt, uncertainty and fear. When what you need the most as a freelancer is self-confidence, purposefulness and determination.

Now that I’ve cleaned the junk out of my office, I feel like I’ve also cleaned out some emotional cobwebs I didn’t realize were still lingering.

By letting go of what wasn’t necessary, I simply started letting go.

And in the week since, I’ve felt physically lighter, more capable and more productive. I’ve taken several marketing strides for my freelancing business, including asking a designer to turn my hand-drawn rubber ducky into a computer-friendly rubber ducky. (Isn’t she cute? I think she’s cute.) I’d been dragging my feet on that task alone for months.

The result? I’ve gotten three new leads for solid clients. Just this past week alone.

I still haven’t found my lost stack of books. A sad story made sadder by the fact that my office is only 8’ x 6’. But, I did find over a dozen blank sketchbooks and  two king-size chocolate bars in a half-empty box of resume paper. Still unopened and still good.

What might still be lurking in your office?

6 thoughts on “Cleaning out the Cobwebs, Moving Foward

  1. What exactly is a “bye-bye” folder? 😉 Sounds like your cleanup was way overdue, but what a powerful exercise. Isn’t it a great feeling to have a clean slate and a start fresh? This post reminded me that I’m about due for my spring overhaul. I don’t think there will be any surprises as I usually do this twice a year, but you never know….Congrats on landing those new clients!

  2. Sorry…the “Bye Bye” folder is what they hand you when your services are no longer needed. It contains your letter of termination, benefit info, severance pay info and Cobra forms.

    Yes, that particular clean up was way overdo. I normally clean up and tidy every few months, but this was stuff I’ve been putting on the “deal with it later” burner. Dealt with and done. 🙂

  3. My biggest office cobweb problem is scrap pieces of note paper everywhere.
    A note to do this, a reminder to look into that. I really mean they’re scattered everywhere.

    So what I’ve done is consolidated all these notes into one single list and ticked a fair few of them off at the same time.

    Clearing out your office really helps to clear your head, don’t you think?

    • Hi Kevin — welcome to Rubber Ducky Copywriter!

      Scraps of paper…a problem we all face. I often “joke” that my desk is held together my sticky notes. Good for you for consolidating them into a single list. And for getting some done.

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