, In Memoriam: Live “On” And Prosper

by Dylan Balde 2 years ago in career

This memoriam doesn’t mean goodbye. Everything I’ve learned from will live on in whatever I pursue after this., In Memoriam: Live “On” And Prosper
26 October 2017
To say I am devastated is an understatement. I am still in complete shock. I've already formed a bond with these beautiful people (and the company at large) in the few months I've spent working here, and I genuinely can't imagine having to move on to something else. At least not this quickly. This news came out of left field for me. I'm absolutely heartbroken.
This was my first job, and I am ridiculously in love with it. It's like a child to me, my own personal project — something I've carefully nurtured and worked my ass toward, just to get where I am now. It's not easy surviving in this industry, much less earning a buck from it, and I've been pretty grateful to have made it against all odds. Everyone else I've applied to before this rejected me, and Creators/Movie Pilot was the only one who didn't, who actually believed in me. I couldn't be happier to have found my way here; this has been the best 13 months, career-wise. Creators helped rejuvenate the writer in me, rebuilt the confidence I'd lost from scratch. They gave me back everything I'd lost when I thought I'd lost everything, and I will always be eternally grateful. I owe this company so, so much. I can't believe I have to say goodbye.
I don't know where to go after this, but in honor of everything this company has taught and nurtured in me, I'll find my way back somehow. Thank you, Creators, Movie Pilot, and Now Loading, from the bottom of my heart, for giving us geeks a voice, and for all these wonderful opportunities.
Live long and prosper.

I wrote this on my personal page the same day Creators made the announcement. That was last Thursday. I needed an easy outlet and that’s what Facebook and Instagram are for.

I didn’t share with everyone right away though, because I was still actively going through the grieving process; I was temperamental for several days and didn’t want to talk to anyone. Like everyone else, I’ve been understandably upset and perhaps this is my way of processing, and eventually accepting, bad news. But today I’m feeling better.

Every word still rings true — I am still genuinely heartbroken. I had the time of my life working here and I’m going to miss it terribly. To be honest, part of me is still in denial — I still have mornings where it feels like Movie Pilot is still functional, and to some extent, it still is — but we all have to move on eventually.

But this doesn’t have to mean goodbye. Everything I’ve learned from all the great people here will live on in whatever I pursue after this. That’s not a dot signaling the end of an era; that’s an open ending signaling sequels to come.

I’m not going back to that life where I’d been stumbling around astray, applying for work in vet clinics and library archives because I didn’t know where I belonged. I know what I want now and where my skills can be best maximized. Even as Creators is closing down, and everyone I’ve met is gradually drifting away, I’ll still aim to make it proud. That’s my goal now. I owe Creators just that much.

So, from now on, I’ll be carving a new path, with a fresh perspective on what I want, and I intend to take everyone with me. My journey began with Creators. Not one bit, lesson, or person will be left behind.

Forever Changed

I’m not the same person I was when I first came in. When I applied for Creators Academy a year and a half ago, I had no idea how to write effective articles. Mock-academics and editorials were foreign to me. Journalism was never in my repertoire. I didn’t even study writing (formally) in college; I was trained to write a different kind of “paper” and I wasn’t even good at it. Needless to say, I came in here absolutely green, not knowing what to do.

But Creators took care of me. I was gifted with an amazing mentor (Julian-Sebastian Gerdes — thank you so much!) and the team itself has been encouraging and patient all the way.

In college, I’d been at the mercy of instructors and professors who eventually became mean and/or condescending (would belittle students’ intelligence when they had trouble understanding lessons), but that’s never happened here. No one’s ever behaved unprofessionally and the team has always treated coworkers with complete respect. To the end, it’s remained an exceedingly positive environment: safe and welcoming. Not all pubs/ezines can promise the same openness and kindness, but Creators was able to do it.

Because of Creators, I stopped being afraid of asking questions. Of admitting when I was confused, or when I needed help. I used to just keep these things to myself, for fear of being on the receiving end of trivializing (or worse, denigrating) comments. But thanks to this company, I got a huge chunk of my self-respect back. That’s something I’ll be carrying with me from now on.

One thing I’ve always admired about this company is its attitude toward skills development: Creators has always nurtured a spirit of healthy “competition,” always pushing writers to become the best possible journalists they could be. This dedication toward positive growth (through unmitigated compassion, careful guidance, and positive reinforcement) is so strong and so palpable sometimes it’s a wonder the company is even real.

How could anyone be so awesome? So kind yet so firm in its credo? But that’s the thing: they are awesome. The community they’ve cultivated is awesome. Truthfully, I have never felt more empowered in my life.

My previous career choices were a hit-and-miss. I studied History in college for 5 years yet haven’t even seen (or touched) my diploma in 3; I stuffed it in a cabinet the night of my graduation and haven’t had to use it since. Several months later, I shifted to Healthcare Documentation and studied for more than a year — only to drop out after 12 months of leave. I realized I was too sick to finish it and ultimately, had made the wrong decisions. (Note: I learned very little in the way of practical, non-academic applications from either. Admittedly they both looked good on paper, but weren’t too useful by the time I needed paying, relatively stable work. You know the kind — the stuff that makes for excellent bragging material at a party, but come up empty in front of a serious employer. I would say that’s 7 years down the drain, and twice the amount of money to boot.)

I spent the months after that cycling between animal-related jobs and academic work I can’t even do, all the while staying angry and feeling pathetically sorry for myself. I felt trapped in my circumstances. It was a literal nightmare to live every single day with how things were. All I wanted was a good job and a healthier life, but there was just too much going on. In the first place, nobody wanted to hire a chronically ill, career-shifting PWD with a small skill set. Trust me, I tried. There was just no convincing employers — that I was a fast learner, among others.

So in between my worsening health issues (which right now is 12 and counting — I’m like scrawny Steve Rogers before the serum) and the horrible feeling that I’m already outliving my usefulness way before my prime, I thought I’d never find my way out. But I did. And that slowly rising curve began with just one place: Creators.

You guys literally — and I mean LITERALLY — saved my life.

With that said, I am not letting everything I learned here go wasted. It’s the least I can do in memory of Creators, and in honor of the me that somehow made it all the way here against all odds.

I want to prove to myself (and others) that I’ve been here, studying and working, for a reason, that it wasn’t all just a fluke or another mistake or a random choice I’d made that’s not going to matter several years down the line. Because fact is, being here is like coming home from a long journey. Routinely, every time. I have never felt more at peace.

From a more personal standpoint, everyone’s been so lovely. I couldn’t have asked for better colleagues, a better team. I’ve made some amazing friends in the short time I’ve been here as well, and I hope to stay friends for years to come.

It’s just been a wonderful experience overall.

Thank You

Nowadays I can’t imagine a life where I’m not reviewing movies and TV shows, or writing news features and editorials… It just feels like this is who I am now. The job makes me happy and I’m proud of it. All this would never have happened if not for Creators and its affiliates; the program, and the people in it, pointed me in the right direction exactly when I’d been feeling so lost, gave me purpose when I felt I had none.

It’s completely changed my life and I couldn’t be more grateful.

I’ve been a reader for two years and a writer for one — I read my way through every Facebook post years before I even considered joining. And I gotta say, guys, it’s been an incredible run. And an honor to have written awesome, geeky things along with you. We started strong, we’re ending strong. But then again it’s not quite the end either. This fandom is a small place; we’ll always be a family even across different pubs.

It’s not a goodbye; it’s a pause. Till we meet again, Creators.

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Dylan Balde

Secretly Dead and Strange, writes for a living. Moonlights as a cat-obsessed dork and innocuously wrapped human nitroglycerin. My life is an everyday Westchester incident. 💀 @dylanbalde

See all posts by Dylan Balde