Success Is Certain: Losing a Job and Gaining a new Focus

♠ Addition by Subtraction ♠

“What do you mean I’m fired!?” — Wayne Fontes, joking after his dismissal as Detroit Lions Head Coach in 1996
LAKEWOOD, N.J. (JSC) — I’ve been fired three times in my life. The first time was from a cashier’s job at Target in 2004. It was a gig that I took while I was in broadcast school at Specs Howard. It was a decent enough gig. I made a little extra money while trying to set myself up for my first job in the “business.” The day it happened, I was honestly kind of “meh” about it all. It was never something that I saw myself doing long term, but I was admittedly pissed off at the situation that was created to get me out of there. The second time I was let go was in 2008. That was from a radio station in Flint and I saw it coming. They were in the process of making changes to the station’s format and I was one of a number of people cut loose, including the program director. I charged that to the proverbial game of radio. Plus, I was in the process of starting graduate school at Wayne State University. This one was a net gain overall, truthfully. Over the next five years, I went on a run that saw me appear on NPR, MSNBC, and ESPN Radio, a run where I covered everything from high school softball to a World Series; from municipal elections to Presidential elections; interviewed community leaders to Olympic Gold Medalists. I felt, and still feel, that I’ve paid my dues and earned my stripes in this business. So when I was fired for the third time on April 1, I had to reassess and question whether I still had a place in this business and, really, what I’m doing with my life. The answer has been a resounding Yes. Let’s Go.

This is not about the fall. It's about the recovery.
This is not about the fall. It’s about the recovery.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 11:32 a.m. EDT. I’m sitting in my car in downtown Asbury Park near the beach filled with the awesome combination of shock, anger, and flat out rage. About 30 minutes earlier, I had been unceremoniously fired from a job that I picked up my entire life and moved about 900 miles away from home to take just four months earlier. In what amounts to eight weeks, I went from one of the hottest new commodities at that paper on Martin Luther King Day to being fired on April Fool’s Day. What was to be the getaway day before a much-needed Easter vacation back home in Detroit turned into Double Ewe-Tee-Eff. I sat in that car stewing. How dare they do this to me! How the hell am I going to pay my rent, car note, and bills? I literally JUST started paying off shit back in Lansing. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I also asked the question that I had been asking myself for at least three years: Is This It For Me as a Journalist?

Despite my body of work, I have essentially felt that I’ve had to prove myself as a journalist — and, in turn, as a man — since I was 19 years old. People who know me have told me for years how great of a writer I am. I honestly have had a difficult time believing people when they say it because I always feel that I could be better.
News flash: I have a lot of insecurities, most of them surrounding my career!
To have things go the way they did out here could’ve, and likely would’ve, been enough to make me finally give up. The following day, I’m on the train to Newark to jump a bird back home and I was listening to the Detroit music playlist on my iPhone  — shit is dope, BTW — and along comes the song Legendary by Royce Da 5’9″. Here is the song for your listening pleasure:
The album is as dope as the title.
The album is as dope as the title.

This incredibly cool track was from his 2011 album that was titled Success is Certain, which was a play off of his previous album that was called Death is Certain. Those three words jumped out at me and kind of jump-started my recovery from this. Frankly, I had no choice. So from that day forward, I have adopted #SuccessIsCertain as my mantra. I have also taken on the principle of the Law of Attraction and I believe that what you give out is what you get back. Since I was fired, I got inquiries from radio stations, a television station, and multiple websites and publications. Any idea that I was going to go crawling back to Michigan with my tail between my legs…well…you can kill that noise. In all honesty, being fired from that place might have been the best thing that could’ve happened. Not because it was some sort of “learning experience” or it made me rethink my ability to write. I know how good I am and my body of work proves that. Honestly, I just wasn’t happy there. While I was angry at how it went down and what effect it had on me financially, truthfully, if not for the fact that it was financially brutal, it was a welcome change in my life. It gave me a chance to rethink my life, give thought to what I want, and — most of all — rid myself of years of doubt. In the last 36 days, I went from fearing for my future to getting opportunities.

One of the coolest moments of my life. More of this is coming.
One of the coolest moments of my life. More of this is coming.

My goal of getting into television, for example, is starting to move forward as I am officially a correspondent for Jersey Matters, which airs in New York City, Philadelphia, and all throughout New Jersey. My podcast, Jay Scott Confidential, will launch later this month. I’ve been able to hit the reset button on my life in a lot of ways and while it’s not going to be all spring daises and cinnamon out here money wise, this is a rebuild that will do me a ton more good than anything I thought when I moved out here in November. I have too much left to accomplish and I’m not going do that by sitting on my ass in New Jersey. To close this puppy out: I didn’t make it through this last month alone nor could I. I want to thank those of you who have offered me kind and encouraging words of support over the last six weeks and I’ll continue to need it. That shit means a ton to me. I would also like to thank those who called themselves friends that have gone radio silent since April 1. That just means there will be more food at the table when the inevitable celebratory BBQ takes place. Don’t let a temporary setback — whether it’s a firing, an illness, or an act of God– be a permanent impediment to your life. Had this happened to me eight years ago, I don’t know if I’d have been open to keeping it positive and pushing forward. Now, at 35 and with 10 years in the business, I’m able to go to the beach, meditate, clear my head, and get a plan of action together. Or, as I said the other day on Instagram: A loss is not a failure if you know that Success is Certain

Until Next Time, That’s The Way It Is. Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

Take Care, God Bless, Always Dare to Be Different, and G.O.M.A.B. Σ

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Jay Scott Smith

What’s Happening! The name’s Jason…but for the sake of this blog, you can call me Jay or Jay Scott. I am a 37-year-old Journalist, Detroit Native, Man of Sigma, and Charismatic Enigma…That About Covers it for me! lol You wanna get in contact w/me, well, here you go! G.O.M.A.B. to my Blu Family! (ΦΒΣ/ΖΦΒ)

2 thoughts on “Success Is Certain: Losing a Job and Gaining a new Focus”

  1. I believe that we all essentially have to prove ourselves in our own ways. With writing, to make it in the “business” you’re going to deal with a lot of critics and unwanted (and unfounded) criticism in some cases. So as much as you’re told you’re a great writer…. don’t doubt that because of those that have the inability to appreciate your gift. Rely on your own instincts and the praise of those you admire to keep pushing forward.

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