Yay, I Just Got Fired! True Passions, Here I Come!

Yay, I just got fired! Woot!

Most people don’t usually send a message out to the whole world announcing this, nor are they usually excited about it. But, really, the day I got “Trump-ed” was the best day of the rest of my life.

Photo: Jorge Correa

Photo: Jorge Correa

As Gary Vaynerchuk, aka the “Social Media Sommelier” would say, I can now totally “Crush It!” I have no choice…and THAT is the greatest motivator ever.

By the way, if you (social media people) haven’t read Gary’s book yet, you really should!

No, the whole world doesn’t care why I got fired, or what I plan to do, but I am confident there are many (too many) of you out there who can relate to my story.

Yes, I know it’s trite, but it’s just so darn true: We should all be pursuing our true passions. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to those around us. Heck, maybe I can even help you determine #whatsyourwtf? (Wha? Just stick with me).

“Cause I’m Free To Do What I Want”…FTW!

Photo: le vent de cri

Photo: le vent de cri

So, do I know where or when I’ll get my next paycheck? Not quite. Do I need a paycheck? YES. Do I have anything in the pipeline? Always. Should I be freaking out? Probably, but I’m not.

I finally have clarity. I finally have peace.

Now, all of this might sound a little melodramatic, but if you have any streak of drive or passion in you, you’ll understand. (Don’t know what your passion is? This guest post on Christine Kane’s blog serendipitously wound up in my inbox last week, seriously).

The shackles are off. Physically. Emotionally. The painful “job” versus “passion” struggle is over. My mind and heart are finally congruent. I now have the luxury, yes, luxury, of busting my butt to make good on all those things tugging at my heart and settling for nothing less.

Photo: Robert Couse-Baker

Yes, the whole termination meeting totally sucked, but it didn’t come as a surprise (What?) and went down the way I fully expected (Really?). As manager, (err, former manager) of a PR department at an advertising agency for five years, I know how all that corporate junk works. I’m just surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

Oh and yep, I cried. (Damn it, Jen, you said you weren’t going to do that!) Oh well, I am human. Believe me, this was overly evident as I sat among the “HR Robots” in the room. Please agency guys, don’t take it personally. Seriously, I know that’s just the way it goes.

At one point in the meeting I got to thinking, “Man, I don’t envy these guys at all right now. This completely blows. Could it be any more uncomfortable or uber unnatural for all of us?”

However, this whole process further validated that my dreams, skills, talents, goals and personality really do now belong in a different environment.

Fired Does Not Always= #FAIL
After handing over my office key and walking out the door, two+ years of pent up anxiety and tension literally rolled off my shoulders.

Photo: Rick

Photo: Rick

It was the most liberating feeling I think I have ever experienced (except for the time I showed up unannounced at my dead-beat dad’s house for some answers – but, I digress). I also left very proud of my accomplishments, work ethic, integrity and with no hard feelings, seriously.

Did I make mistakes? You bet I did. Did they make mistakes? You bet they did. Who doesn’t?

But, I think one very important thing to remember is that getting fired doesn’t always mean you did something wrong. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. Sometimes, someone just has to pull the trigger.

Status Quo = #FAIL

Crop Circle We Created For American Idol Season 7

Crop Circle We Created For American Idol Season 7

For several years, my agency work was my passion. And, that passion proved to be very profitable and rewarding for the agency. With my nutzoid enthusiasm, I created a PR department from scratch, worked like mad to get PR integrated with the rest of the agency (fellow PR folks, you know the hell I’m talking about), landed our agency on American Idol, weathered growing pains, continued to be the much-needed advocate for PR and progressive thinking. I was having a blast.

The Make-up of @jenniferwindrum
Before going any further, for those of you who don’t know me, I think a glimpse into my DNA may be a bit helpful. I ooze insane levels of passion, enthusiasm, compassion, commitment and loyalty. I love challenges. I love to be challenged. I need to be challenged. I love finding opportunities. I love being an advocate. I love change and all of its unknowns. I love pushing the envelope. It’s “just me.”

Fellow passionnites, you picking up what I’m laying down?

Photo: Juliana Coutinho

Photo: Juliana Coutinho

A few other notable “just me” qualities:

– I am extremely fascinated by my industry -PR/social media/journalism.

– I’m an adrenaline junkie. (Fun…for awhile).

– I love to work (too much, probably).

– I take tremendous pride in my work (too much, probably).

– I am a straight-shooter. I am so NOT a spinster in any way, shape or form. (And I work in PR? YES.).

– I stand up for myself (Hey, I have two older brothers).

– I fight for what I believe is right (for clients, for my employer, for myself, for my family, for others).

– I’m super duper big on accountability (Umm, yeah, like my mom’s oncologist who forgot to schedule her chemo with his staff. My mom showed up on time. Unacceptable).

– I love to make a difference (too many to list).

– I am a progressive thinker (see below).

Not All Monkeys Are Cute

Photo: Mykl Roventine

Fortunately, so far, these qualities have afforded me success throughout my career. However, as you can probably imagine, they can (and have) cause some “issues.”

Here’s the deal. Progressive thinkers make people work harder. Some people simply don’t want to work harder. We all know some of these people. Hey, that’s perfectly fine.

Progressive thinkers throw that whole “status quo” thing completely out of whack. Some people go for status quo. We all know some of these people too. Again, nothing wrong with that.

I don’t “do” status quo. Honestly, I don’t know how to. I have actually tried several times, but always came out on the losing side. Total “Fail Whale!” I’m just not wired that way. (Ok, failing at striving for status quo? Dude, that is so messed up).


Quick sidebar note: Just for the record I do have a much #lighterside. I prefer beer over wine. I sing everything from heavy metal to Italian arias. My favorite movie is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, (the Gene Wilder original). I’m a total goofball. Oh, and I can stick my entire fist in my mouth (case in point). So there! (Dude, what you just said in this paragraph is even more messed up).

Ok, I digress again. Let me RT and further clarify: There’s nothing wrong with the “don’t-like-to-work-hard-ers” or the “status-quo-ers,” unless I work with you and we work at an advertising agency, an industry that prides itself on providing cutting-edge, non-traditional and all things “forward.” Let me make clear this statement is not an attack on my former employer in any way. Here’s why.

Progressive thinking means change, and, understandably, not every business is as willing or logistically nimble to embrace it is as I am – or as one individual can. This is especially true when that change is of monumental proportions…when that change creates a complete paradigm shift in the world of communications and beyond…when that change throws an ugly monkey wrench in the way you’ve always done business…when that change just keeps coming and coming and coming and coming in humongous waves and IT IS SO NOT THE FAD YOU WERE BANKING ON…when that change…OOOOOO.MMMMMM.GGGGGG! WHAT IN GOD’S NAME IS THIS MONSTER?

Social Media
Well, in a nutshell (or beautiful prizm), it’s that little thing called social media.

The Conversation Prism. Created by Brian Solis & Jesse Thomas

“Wha? Who? Wha? You mean those social networking ‘things’ like Facebook and Twitter?” Yes, those and a bazillion other amazing “things” that encompass the social web – it’s power, it’s total awesomeness. Still don’t get it? Here ya go.

Long story short, life as we’ve always known and lived it (personally and professionally) has forever changed. No, I am not exaggerating.

An unfortunate, but timely example: Haiti. Social media’s role in the Haiti crisis has been utterly amazing on many fronts. Here’s just one article on the subject.

As a former journalist turned public relations practitioner, I understood early on that social media was a total game-changer in my industry. A few years ago, I threw myself and my PR peeps into an “OMGweneedtolearneverythingwecanaboutsocialmedianow” whirlwind.

First of all, there is NO way to learn everything about social media. New tools and platforms, etc., are created and/or changed daily, hourly. While it was an overwhelming task, we dived in and remained fully committed to integrating social media into our PR repertoire -a natural and necessary merger.

My team pitched social media recommendations to specific clients and the clients jumped on board. I give these clients a tremendous amount of credit, as understanding social media’s value and measuring its ROI was much more difficult than it is today.

Photo: Ivan Walsh

Photo: Ivan Walsh

Our results were great. Our clients were happy. The agency was happy. We were growing existing client accounts and bringing in new business.

However, despite my department success, like the majority of the corporate world at the time, the agency wasn’t ready and/or structurally able to integrate social media company-wide. Back then, the jury was still out on the value of a tweet and/or chatting online with consumers. You know, that “engagement stuff.”

But, I was beyond ready. Man, all the opportunities in the social space. I could see them. I could taste them.

Photo: Redver

Photo: Redver

I became more and more anxious and frustrated with my role as PR manager. I felt stifled and needed to further grow and utilize my social media skills and at a higher level. My bosses were well aware, as we discussed this many times.

I give them credit for trying to help me advance my social media career needs within the agency by spearheading the effort to integrate social media into all of its disciplines (creative, account service, etc.).

This was a great opportunity, but, logistically and realistically, a very slow one. Too late, too slow for me, anyway. I no longer had the patience or interest to look back. My passion was gone. I was on “E,” and it was no secret.

So, “WTF?”
In my “spare time,” I started putting part of my social media passion plan into action. F-bombs were flying everywhere.

In October, I launched a very personal and politically incorrect PR/social media campaign called “WTF?” (Where’s the Funding)? for Lung Cancer” to increase awareness and funding for lung cancer. Yes, you get the double-entendre.

My mom has Stage IV inoperable lung cancer. No she didn’t smoke. Yes, I DO have to point that out. Here’s why. Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer and THE least funded. (Hang with me folks, just a little more PR on the issue).

Oh, and bet you don’t know that more than 60% of all new lung cancer cases are found in people who have never smoked or former smokers who quit decades ago. Lung cancer is no longer a smoker’s disease. No one deserves it.

My Mom - Just Not a Good Day

I am on a mission to get rid of the stigma, get the facts out and get lung cancer the funding it deserves. I am chronicling my mom’s journey, the bad, the worse and the ugly, as well as the stories of my “WTF-ers” to help make some real progress.

My mom is a total rock star. She’s not only giving lung cancer a run for its evil money, she understands the importance of sharing her story in such a public way (AND the “WTF?” campaign name is 100% “mom-approved”). Super cool.

As hokie as it may sound, when I was little, I knew there was something I was supposed to tackle – a “cause” I was supposed to lend my voice to. At that age I had no idea what a cause was. At one point I thought maybe it was divorce (remember aforementioned dead-beat dad?). Naw, that’s not it. Depression runs in my family and I’ve had my bouts with it. Maybe depression is my calling. Nope. (Whew). Five years ago, when my mom told me she had lung cancer – the mystery was instantly solved (unfortunately).

Mom Getting Chemo

The overwhelming response and early success of my “WTF?” campaign tapped (SFX: Angels singing) into all of my missing “just me” qualities. I am able to be a strong advocate for something I’m extremely passionate about. I get to work with wonderful like-minded people whose sole mission is to make a difference. There is no choice. Lives are at stake.

We are making our voices heard primarily through social media strategies and tactics and progressive thinking is THE only option. Oh yeah, remember the whole “I need to be challenged,” thing? Lung cancer is taking care of that too. Damn it.

Now WTF Else?
In addition to my “WTF?” campaign, I plan to put some of my other social media dreams in motion, including the launch of my True Dirty Laundry vlog where I will cover a wide variety of topics (social media, hard news, entertainment, investigative, etc.), interview lots of cool (and not so cool) people and put the power of social media to work in real time.

Long story short, if you (or your company or whatever) sucks, you won’t want to end up on my vlog (unless you are smart enough to stop running away and come on my show). If you (or your company or whatever) don’t suck, congrats!

Have story ideas? Want to be on the show? Let’s chat.

In the meantime, to actually bring in some cashola NOW, I will continue with speaking engagements (social media, PR, reputation management, etc.), consulting and free-lance gigs…or entertain brand new ideas in the social space!! You know how to reach me.

So fellow passionnites, what’s your “WTF?” I know a ton of “dream-world” ideas are swirling through your head, some you may have started to pursue, some you haven’t. Bottom line: Wait NO LONGER.

Yes, you are busy. Yes, you are stressed. I’m telling you, the minute you start embracing your “just me” qualities you will be fulfilled and rejuvenated in ways you never thought possible. I am speaking from experience. My health is thanking me big-time too. I’m no longer forcing my mind to play the less than “B” actor it is for 8+ hours a day. Our minds and hearts don’t like that whole “incongruent” thing.

Photo: Bladeflyer

You see, I couldn’t pull the trigger, at least not before the agency did. The agency knew I wasn’t planning to be there much longer. I was moving in a different direction. My focused had changed. To continue to invest in a “short-timer” doesn’t make good business sense, especially when she/he is on the cusp of spearheading a major agency initiative. Time to cut the cord (way past time).

Just like most of you, I couldn’t, in good conscience, just up and leave my job. I have a family. I need the income. But, I worked extra hard to start bringing the true “just me” back and it’s the best career move I’ve ever made. YOU can do the same.

Firing the renewed “just me” was the best and most fair move the agency could make too. In fact, at the very end of my termination meeting, I tearfully shook the hands of my bosses and thanked them for letting me go. While I’m sure they weren’t expecting kudos, I am sure they understood why.

Photo: floodllama

Project Passionnite
Ok, passionnites, here’s your assignment. Follow me along this blast of a journey. Tell me what your “WTF?” is and what you’re doing to get it in motion. Feel free to leave comments on this post or if you are a Twitter freak like me (@jenniferwindrum), let’s stay fired up and chat, using the “#whatsyourwtf” hashtag. It’s time to rock OUR worlds, nobody else’s.

Photos: Conversation Prism, le vent de cris, Redver, Rick, Juliana Coutinho, Ivan Walsh, Robert Couse-Baker , Bladeflyer, floodllama, Mykl Roventine,

  • http://www.nuclearcandy.com/ Kt

    excellent post! so glad that your talent, enthusiasm and tremendous can-do is getting the focus and resurgence it deserves! no doubt that many, many great things are soon to come of it.

    rock it hard, lady!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Thanks a million Kt. Means a lot. We will need to do lunch again sometime soon. Also, please keep me in mind if Girls in Tech need a speaker (if appropriate) or anything else I may be able to provide. Jen

  • http://blogmidwestlabs.com/ Brent Pohlman


    Great piece.. Lots of thought put into this writing…Learned a lot from you in 2009…Presenting at a NAMA meeting this Thursday, Jan 28th…Would like to know what you do from a consulting/speaking standpoint

    I think as more companies are going to have to show ROI with respect to Social Media, there will be a lot of discussions between Partners and Managers. Kudos for holding your own and being able to see the value of SM for your company and clients. Social Media is still very new and there is much confusion…

    I signed on with Jim Connolly as my Marketing Coach in 2010. One of his articles ties-in with your post, http://jimsmarketingblog.com/2010/01/21/never-e… Check it Out!

    Keep in touch!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Hey Brent. Thanks for your kind words. As far as speaking engagements and consulting, I can help companies wade through social media, I can help them understand the value (if they don't yet), I can offer an agency insider perspective on trying to integrate social media, I can give very basic to more detailed presentations, etc. ROI is HUGE. It can be measured. I just got done working on a white paper that included the confusion and controversy over social media ROI.
      I can also speak on following your passion and the importance of it, etc. So, it's wide open.
      Thanks also for the link. I will be sure to check it out. Let me know if I can be of help in any way. Thanks a bunch Brent. Jen

  • leslielehrman

    Wow!! What an amazing long awaited post. Just blows me away!!

  • T. Talley

    Great post Jennifer. My firing years ago was much the same. Tearful, humiliating, infuriating. But then I got home and felt completely liberated and wondered why I was so upset. Looking forward to what we'll see next from you.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Please keep me posted on what you are doing as well. We can do it together!!

  • Sean YD

    You are trailblazing away, Jen. And I'll enjoy watching you work your magic on your own.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Thank you Sean. You're pretty much doing the same. Congrats to you for following your passion!!

  • mbbrennan

    Wow! Great post. With your passion and writing ability, you will do well in whatever new direction you choose.
    I really felt you wrote a great post here.
    I was fired too and it was because I was so unhappy in the job, the company decided to move me out. Worked out great for me but I still dream about starting my own company.
    My Mom has terminal cancer too (not lung) so I wholeheartedly empathize with you on that front. I wish you the best and hope you can put as must skill, heart and passion into all your future projects.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      First of all, I'm very sorry about your mom. Hugs to her and to you and the rest of the family. I'm glad you could relate to my post. Don't give up on your dream to start your own company. If possible, start it piece by piece. You will feel so much better for having taking a step in that direction (if you haven't already). Thanks so much for your kind words and well wishes. Jen

  • http://twitter.com/CarmenSisson Carmen Sisson

    Enjoyed reading this. I'm at this nascent stage as well. Dreams are calling, and the ties have been unceremoniously cut. I'm newly single. Last week, I was evicted. I've spent seven years as a freelance journalist writing for big places, little places, and — from time to time, as the eviction portends — no places at all. I spent the past year in a disillusioned funk as the journalism industry tanked.

    And suddenly, I'm alive again. The dreams won't shut up. They won't let me sleep at night. I'm trapped between worlds, one life ending, a new one being born. I've felt restless and disillusioned with my work for so long. I never expected an eviction notice would be such a wake up call — not to get a “real” job as the kindly clueless have suggested, but to commit more firmly to the career I so idealistically embraced 22 years ago.

    Maybe it's because I'll be 37 soon. Maybe it's because I'm walking away from any hope of the whole marriage, white picket fence, pitter-patter of little footsteps dream. Maybe it's because I finally have time to stop, breathe, survey the shattered detritus of my life, and ask myself, “WTF? Why am I not writing about the things that matter to me? When did I stop trying to change the world?”

    It's exhilarating, but some days, it's just terrifying. Thanks for the uplifting post. I look forward to seeing where your positive attitude takes you. I have a strong feeling you'll go far.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Yep, you are right. You NEED to start writing again. The journalism industry has tanked, but there are many opportunities for you to keep writing and self publish. Social media has opened soooo many doors. I'm very sorry for the eviction and the difficult things going on in your life. With my mom's diagnosis, I found comfort and no longer powerless, once I started writing and launching the campaign. You are right, it's exhilarating and scary at the same time. Take advantage of those exhilarating times. Also, try to embrace the scary times. Yeah, easy to same, right? A stronger you is about to emerge and I have no doubt you will go far as well! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and please do stay in touch. Jen

  • http://beckymochaface.blogspot.com Becky Mochaface

    Your passion and guts are inspiring. Congratulations on your freedom!

  • http://jenniferboyd.posterous.com/ Jennifer Boyd

    Love your post. This is the future- to go on and do what you love. Share your art, be yourself, inspire others. I too was waiting for the axe to fall, I had nothing to give my agency anymore. The morale completely deteriorated there. Anyways, I am happy enjoying life. I just read Linchpin by Seth Godin, that is an excellent book for people to see that we have art to share and gifts to give.

  • http://twitter.com/phillymac Phillip

    Holy wow Batman! I think I have actually found someone equally hyper-passionate and possibly enthusiastic as I am. Well met, well said and well done. I know I just read you for the first time, but I know you're a superstar!

  • http://soloprpro.com KellyeCrane

    Wow, Jennifer – congrats on following your bliss! There's an army of solo PR pros who've enjoyed new levels of success by going independent, and I'm sure your experience will be rewarding in ways we can't foresee. Yours is a terrific account of the freedom that comes from being in charge of your own destiny — can't wait to see True Dirty Laundry and whatever else you do next!

  • http://oswco.com dartdog

    Well you have done so well with this post you about have it going viral! congrats and best wishes for the future.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Ha! Thanks a million Tom. Appreciated the well wishes and you taking the time to read my post. Means a lot!

  • http://armystrongmom.blogspot.com/ jilliansmitty

    Wow, I feel like I'm where you were somewhere in the past: at an ad agency, trying to build a PR dept from scratch – and totally head over heels into social media. It's like pulling teeth just to get a web 2.0 website! I'm still passionate about it, but someday, I think my WTF will be helping small businesses manage their own advertising/PR/social media ventures without breaking the bank. Who knows, maybe someday…

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Thanks for reading it. I know it was a long post. :) I think your WTF sounds great. What are you currently doing? PR peeps need to stick together!!!

      • http://armystrongmom.blogspot.com/ jilliansmitty

        I'm a copywriter/pr novice at an ad agency in DC. I'm moving to NYC soon (hubs is a banker) so, don't know yet if I'm going to be able to stay at the same place (but I'm hoping so) :)

        • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

          I wish you only the best of luck!!!

  • http://armystrongmom.blogspot.com/ jilliansmitty

    Oh yeah, and I read every word of that relatively long post. Great writing – on the edge of my seat! Totally RTing that one.

  • http://indiequick.com/blog dustinshey

    I'm one of those 'employees' that is pushing the status quo out of the window. It's amazing to me that people don't work harder. It's something I'm constantly baffled at, whether working in large corporations or small startups.

    Great article. Took a little time out of my morning to think about 'am I happy' with my current working situation, and what I'd like to be doing in the future. This is inspirational.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Oh, I am so glad to hear that Dustin. Believe me, I sat in my office for 2+ years thinking about that….it is NO fun. Keep being the progressive guy you are…things will fall into place. Keep me posted too. What would you LIKE to do?

  • juliesenter

    Great post! I needed a little inspiration this morning! I was laid off last May and started a consulting firm specializing in social media for associations and small businesses. It's slow, but oh so much better to be doing something I love! Congratulations on your new adventure!

    I also want to express how sorry I am about your mother and how much I appreciate what you're doing on her behalf. My grandmother died last week from lung cancer, and I know how difficult (and vicious) it is. If there's anything I can do to help your efforts, please let me know.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Oh Julie. I am so sorry about your grandmother. It just totally sucks. If you want to become part of the “WTF?” (Where's the Funding) for Lung Cancer? campaign, here is the link. http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/WTFLungCance… Congrats to you on starting your own consulting firm. Associations and small businesses really need social media help…then again, so do the big ones. Ha. Thanks so much for the kind words and comments.

  • Stacy Rothenberger

    You are still the spunky, brilliant, beautiful, determined and highly talented individual that I knew growing up. I love how you are using all of your God-given gifts and talents to serve a higher purpose.
    You know I am all about getting discovering ones passions, getting unstuck and living the lives God intended us.
    I love that instead of taking a “poor me” attitude, you said, “How can I find the positive in this” and you are already doing it. I have full confidence that you are going to do what you love, help people and fulfill all of those inner drives you have. I can almost predict what your top five values are. Good for you for knowing what they are and then basing your life around them. I'm excited to see what is going to transpire in your life. Keep me posted. When I'm ready to take my Life Coaching onto the national circuit, I'll know who to contact.
    Stacy Rothenberger

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Oh Stacy. You are too kind. I think my “problem” is that when I get angry I just try to do “something.” It's not always the healthiest thing for me to do, but it's all I really know. So, I guess I'll stick to it. Indeed, when you're ready, just let me know. Congrats to you for all you have accomplished!!! Hugs. Jen

  • jacquichew

    So happy to see that you are following your passion. For many it's either a luxury or too risky to act on. Thanks for being an inspiration to many in the world of the cubicle nation.

  • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

    Thanks a million Jennifer. I am happy to hear you are happy!!! I keep meaning to read Linchpin….I'm just trying to find the time. Thanks so much for your comment. We can only GIVE of ourselves so much. Time to give back!

  • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

    Wow….thanks Philip…so you are admitting you might be as crazy as me? Ha! What do you do? Would love to meet my “other hyper half!”

  • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

    Thanks so much Kelly. It's amazing how much better I feel in just this short amount of time. I'm hustling, but it feels so good. Are you in PR too?

    • http://soloprpro.com KellyeCrane

      I am in PR as well, and also independent — went solo 15 years ago and have never looked back! I know you'll love it, too.

      • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

        Yay!!!!!! Glad to hear it Kelly. I am sooooo excited I can hardly stand it.

  • arenak

    INSPIRATIONAL. Thanks for giving me some juice to start/continue/start again to make changes too. Congratulations to you and all for which you stand!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      My pleasure Karen. Glad my “ranting” could be of help to you!!!! Keep me posted on your changes. Would love to hear about them.

      • http://twitter.com/creativedrugs Andrew Baier

        Great article. Took a little time out of my morning to think about ‘am I happy’ with my current working situation, and what I’d like to be doing in the future. This is inspirational.


        • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

          Hi Andrew. Great to hear from you. And, glad you took the time to think
          about that so very important question. We all need to do it…that’s for
          sure. I wish the best of luck…and stay in touch!!!

          jennifer stauss windrum

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  • http://nickhuhn.com nickhuhn

    Congrats on your new life and ambitions, Jennifer! I too have a mother with stage IV lung cancer (also a non-smoker) and I left my corporate life behind late last year to focus on what's really important (family and health!).

    I'm spending time with the Lung Cancer Foundation of America (http://www.lcfamerica.org) and I love what you're doing so far with the #WTF movement. We should join forces to bring more visibility and action to eradicating the stigma and making a difference!!

    I look forward to keeping tabs on your progress via twitter and this blog. Thanks so much for everything you've done and will continue to do in our crusade!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Wow, we have way too much in common!!! I'm very sorry to hear about your mom. My hugs and prayers to her. Thanks for your kind words about the “WTF” campaign. Yes, we should definitely find ways to partner. We are all in this thing together. Let's chat. How is your mom doing?

      • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

        Hello all. Wanted to invite you all to my new Facebook Page! You all helped inspire me to keep on moving….and you shared with me your passions. So, it's time for all of us to forgo status quo and rock our own worlds. Join me. We'll do it together! Spread the word. Here's the link. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Windrum/

      • http://nickhuhn.com nickhuhn

        My mom is doing great… going on 4 years since diagnosis and she's in a
        clinical trial at Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville. They are
        amazing! Would you like to set up a time / day to share a call or
        something? I'd love to compound our efforts!

  • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

    Hello all. Wanted to invite you all to my new Facebook Page! You all helped inspire me to keep on moving….and you shared with me your passions. So, it's time for all of us to forgo status quo and rock our own worlds. Join me. We'll do it together! Spread the word. Here's the link. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Windrum/

  • http://www.pah3.com/ Silentbutsmart

    EXCELLENT STORY! I am going to read it again! :) What is your take on the linchpin?

    I think Jason Falls was the one that tweeted about your site…. F T W

    a new fan,
    Duane Harris

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Hey Duane. Thanks a million. Yes, Jason retweeted my post. I'm assuming you're talking about the 'Yay, I Just Got Fired' post? I am now working to put the pieces of my passions in place. I did start a fan page two days ago you are welcome to join. Still under construction, but just can't do everything at once. I wish!! The link is: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Windrum/
      I haven't had a chance to read Linchpin yet, but can't wait. I think it sounds fascinating. What are your thoughts? Thanks again for your kind words. I'll be sure to follow ya on Twitter!! Thanks Duane. Jen

  • http://twitter.com/mike_strock mike_strock

    Jennifer, I'd say I'm sorry to hear you got fired, but you seem so excited about it that I'll just say 'congratulations' instead. I've not followed you on twitter, knew nothing about you until today when I saw a post from @neilpatel about the incident (and your reaction). I wish you the best in future endeavors, will be following your progress, and give your mom a hug from me. I can't even imagine going through that, but I'm glad you are there to help her deal with it.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Thanks a million Mike. Yes, it is the best thing to happen. Needed to happen. Someone just needed to pull the trigger. I thank you so much for the kind words and I will be sure to pass the hugs along to my mom. How sweet of you. And, I'll follow ya back on Twitter!!! Have a great weekend.

  • sue_anne

    It wouldn't surprise me if something similar to me happened in the near future. It's hard to fake dedication and passion and right now my heart just isn't in it. I can't afford to just quit, so I'm trying to do my best to stay focused on the job when I'm at work and spending almost all my extra time looking for a new opportunity that feeds that passion.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Yep, that's exactly what I did Sue. Feeding my passion outside of work was the only way for me to stay sane…and to move towards my new goals. I couldn't walk away either, as I needed (still need) the income. Keep staying focused and keep pursuing your true passions. Thanks so much for your comments. Good luck. Jen

  • http://twitter.com/GlassHalfFullPR Jessica Griffin

    Wow Jennifer. This is me. You are me or maybe I am you. Let's just say we're a lot alike. From your DNA down to the concept of WTF-ers. I am so inspired by this post. I have been through what you went through (i.e career situation and a mother with cancer). And I just have to say, you rock! I cannot wait to see what is in store for you and this fabulous adventure you are on!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Wow….we do have a lot in common. I'm sorry about your mom. Such a tough thing. Thanks, too, for your kind words. I believe I am following you on Twitter. We need to connect!!! Also, feel free to look me up on Facebook as well. Have a lot of things in store that will require help from PR peeps!! Thanks a million Jessica. Jen

  • http://www.orapinmarketing.com/ Rhiannon

    All I can say is “AMEN!” I too am a PR/marketing pro and was recently laid off from my dream job. I am still trying to find my footing and clearly determine what my WTF cause/passion is, but I am confident that it will come to me. And, reading posts/articles like this just help to fuel the fire. Great way to start out the Monday morning! Thanks!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Yay! I'm so glad I could help get your Monday off to a good start. You are right, that truly “right” job will come to you. It always does. Sometimes you just have to let it come out. Please stay in touch and keep me posted. Jen

  • http://twitter.com/ptretheway Phil Tretheway

    now that's passion! oh my, congrats on the clarity, but even more so for the gutsy post. go get 'em!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Thanks Phil. Yeah, I think my resume from now on is just going to say, “I don't do status quo.” Short, pithy. Actually, I hope I don't NEED to use my resume anymore. :):)

  • http://www.parfaitmedia.com/ Sherry Parfait

    Cool, cool, cool! I totally relate to your experience, Jennifer, and I love your campaign for lung cancer. Best wishes to you and your mom!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Hi Sherry. Thanks so much for your comments and your kind words. They are greatly appreciated. So, are you already following your passion, or still working your way there?

  • http://twitter.com/eangel427 Erika Murray

    Wow Jennifer! Are you my sister from another mister!?! I, too, am the product of divorced parents and admittedly my relationship with my dad has been touch and go over the years. Your make-up and my make-up are practically the same! We're definitely “oozing” the same Kool-Aid. I didn't need to pick up what you were putting down because my arms are already full with the same s%*t! I was fired my position in June 2009 and have yet to find my next passion. With no paychecks anywhere on the horizon, my passion is looking more like low-hanging fruit. I have gone through the angry stage, the emotionally detached stage and feel that my passion is slowly waking me up from the funk that I have been in for some time now. When that passion fully reveals itself, I will be sure to let you know! Looking forward to following you on Twitter and will certainly RT this post. Rock on sista!!

  • lauratoops

    Why wait anyway? You could die tomorrow. Any of us could.

    I think social media is contributing to a new honesty in the business world — it's forcing business and personal personas to converge. It's pushing people to bring their “closet” personas out into the light, forcing us to be authentic, melting the Berlin wall between work and “play” personalities. I'm all for it.

    Best of luck with your WTF venture. Your energy is much better spent there than on something that you can never own.

  • http://www.pamelabeaudet.com/ Pamela Sotir Beaudet

    Hi Jennifer-
    I just saw a post from @chrisbrogan that led me to your article. Love it! It's all about attitude. I was in marketing, so I've been Trump-ed a few times over and know what it's like!
    Last year, I ran a program to provide pro bono coaching to others who lost their jobs. I got 100 coaches to join me. It was interesting to see the range of attitudes. Those who felt like you, got back on their feet quickly. They saw their situation as an opportunity. However, many people were older and their prospects aren't as bright. Understandably, they had a lot of fear. Our job was to get them to shift their thinking a bit. I dare say, many entrepreneurs were born.
    On another note, I wish your mom the best. My mom was just diagnosed with lung cancer as well, and thankfully, the doctors feel that it's contained and that surgery alone will cure her.
    Will keep your mother in my thoughts.

  • http://twitter.com/mzumtaylor Megan Taylor

    My story is not quite as awesomely spectacular as yours (I wasn't working in a field for which I had super amount of passion when I was laid off, for me it was just a job, just a stepping stone…), but I did get laid off from a position at a firm that was not a good match for me, and my first thought when I walked out of the building on that fateful day? “Thank god!

    I have always known I wanted to have my own business, and I took this lay off as a sign that now, when the economy is so bad that even well-qualified workers are having trouble finding work, maybe it was time to explore the other options out there.

    And I am, and it's *wonderful*. So I just wanted to say that I completely get where you're coming from, and I am really just jazzed by where we're all going next.

  • http://www.icanewfriend.com/ Marc LeVine

    First things first. Please let your mom know that there is an Esophageal Cancer survivor, whom I know, that is in his fifth year of being cancer free. At diagnosis, he was only given a 15% chance of making it that far and he thankfully beat the odds. That person is ME. I will offer prayers for your mom and know she will keep up the good fight.

    That being said, after 30 years of doing the same sort of work, I am changing careers, too. Being fired (I have been self employed) didn't change my career path from Recruiting to Social Media Marketing (SMM). A burning passion to work in SMM, DID.

    A slowing economy (recruiting has slowed), only showed me the light and intraspection actually lit the way. Recruiters were among the earliest embracers of Social Media to reach candidates. I've been working with Compuerve, AOL, Classmates and iVillage for years to recruit people for jobs. This experience and my love for writing and also, making new friends sealed the deal for me.

    I recently saw and loved the movie, “Up in the Air,” which got me thinking more and more about dreams unfulfilled. In the film, the people George Clooney's character lays off are jealous of him for being the one who still has a job after their termination. However, we eventually realize that Clooney is the only one trapped in a job that he has outgrown and which has left him with little else in his life, but frequent flyer miles.

    As a cancer survivor, I am very appreciative of having been given the chance for a life “do over.” I will not let it slip away. I am excited and yes, I AM HAPPY.

  • joewilloughby

    Hi Jennifer! I so identify with your passon – you could be describing me with your words about yourself in this post. I also relate to WTF because I lost both parents to lung cancer – my mom was not a smoker either. Most of all, I appreciate your courage in writing about getting fired. You are encouraging zillions of people who have the same t-shirt or are about to be fitted with one. There are also those who would love to walk away from the grind of incongruency into their dreams of unfettered opportunity. I look forward to reading more about your journey – go for it!

  • http://kathynicholls.com Kathy Nicholls

    What a great post and sums up exactly how I felt when I was let go. I am now able to really pursue things that truly make a difference, with my own integrity and not someone else's view of what that means. “Crush it!” is a great book and helped me a lot as well. Thank you for writing this, it was just what I needed this morning!

  • http://twitter.com/Marc_Meyer Marc Meyer

    Best blog post I've read in 2010 and yet it's a diatribe about you. What does that say about what matters? It says that what matters are people and passion and family. You get it. You have it and now you get to go after it!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Thanks a million Marc. I am sooooo excited I get to finally pursue these passions. So many things led up to the final breaking point. I wish it had happened sooner. I think, sooner or later, most people get to this point in their life and question if they are doing the “right” thing. I KNEW I was no longer doing the right thing for ME and my family. Thank God it was so obvious. It's not that way for many others. I look forward to staying in touch with you. Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm in the process of kicking butt….boy, does it feel good!

  • http://lifeandbreath.wordpress.com/ Linnea Duff

    Jennifer, your company's loss is lung cancer's gain. I am impressed with all of your momentum and enthusiasm–keep it up! My diagnosis of lung cancer, particularly as it moved into 'terminal' territory, has provided the kick in the butt I always needed. Last summer I started my blog about living with lung cancer (lifeandbreath.wordpress.com) and now I am finally returning to an earlier passion: art. I suddenly feel as if I've been bitten by the painting mosquito, and the resulting delirium is suspiciously similar to unfettered creativity: http://lifeandbreath.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/a

    Here's to life at full speed! Linnea

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  • http://twitter.com/writertee Tamara Garvin

    Right on and thank you for making me laugh today!

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  • http://twitter.com/creativedrugs Andrew Baier

    That being said, after 30 years of doing the same sort of work, I am changing careers, too. Being fired (I have been self employed) didn’t change my career path from Recruiting to Social Media Marketing (SMM). A burning passion to work in SMM, DID.


    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      AWESOME. That is just fantastic!!! Thanks so much for sharing! :):)

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  • Cinsal808


    While I’m not feeling super proud of being “involuntarily separated” today from my job as an administrative assistant, I am feeling quite optimistic about my future.  In fact, I was secretely hoping for this opportunity.  Perhaps the the vibe was picked up on.  Afterward,  I headed straight to my community college and tacked on another two classes to my schedule.  Poof, just like that I am a full time student in pursuit of my passion to be in service to others!! I am a human services major and I intend to use my aggressive, no nonsense, non-butt kissing attitude for the good of man kind!!  Never more will I grind away in order to fatten someone else’s unappreciative pocket.  My skills will be put to much better use; making a difference in someone’s life, however small.

    All the best to you!!  Fantastic post!