© Joseph Schneller 2011
Your Average Joe: Unplugged
In the fall of 2008, I left my job in the hope of something new, something better, something far less stressful than operating a quick-service restaurant. More than anything, I left in the hope of a professional writing career. I’d finally sold my first article for print – and that to a major publication – and figured that my hard work and long-held dream would finally meet face-to-face, that the doors would finally open.
Which shows you how little I understood about doors.
Six weeks after I quit my job, the economic dominos began to fall, and the job market disappeared in a massive mushroom cloud. I couldn’t find a job anywhere doing anything for anyone. I started a professional writing service for web copy, marketing materials, you name it… and never sold a single thing. Professionally speaking, I felt worthless. And of course I had a wife and son at home, with another on the way. But more on all of that in the book.
I can’t stand looking for jobs, especially when there are no jobs to be had. My wife couldn’t understand a husband who, making only a few hundred smacks over several months, would do anything other than apply for jobs all day. I wanted to write; she wanted me to hunt. This created a marital environment known in the family counseling realm as “crappy.”
So apply and write I did. I cast out scads of lines for jobs and essentially heard back nothing. And I wrote. In January of 2009, after being unemployed for four months, I launched a website to speak of this storm. Because the truth is that I grappled mightily with my circumstances. I have believed in God since I was a wee lad, have pursued my talent for writing with vigor, and have wanted to use that talent to truly help other people. And what did I have to show for all of that? Jack squat. I had a highly strained marriage, a swiftly depleting savings account, and an ego the size of a gnat.
As I turned to my Bible for guidance, I kept reading over and over about hope and promise. Hope and promise, hope and promise, hope and promise. The overwhelming message was that my current scenario was so well-in-hand that it was unmentionable, and that my future was filled with hope and promise. So you know what I did? (I have hardly told a soul about this).
I tore that Bible to shreds.
In bare-handed fury, I ripped every page from the binding, scattering them torn and crumpled across the floor—an appalling and heartbreaking testament to my vast disappointment, confusion of faith, and inexplicable loss. “Don’t give me promises,” I spat at the Creator, “deliver the goods.”
Whew. Deep breath. Let me just pause for a moment and say that, in the Christian realm, this sort of behavior is, well, frowned upon.
What else can I say? Here I sit. It’s Sunday morning, I’ve woken up early to write this guest post, and my wife and two boys are still sleeping upstairs. It’s nearly three years to the day since I quit that restaurant job. I’ve been gainfully employed for over two years, sold 33 articles to national publications in the last 12 months, and just released a book based upon the website mentioned above. I’ve seen some muck-ridden, lowdown places, and am very candid about that in the book. But do you want to know what Your Average Joe: Unplugged is really about?
Hope and promise, hope and promise, hope and promise.
Joseph Schneller served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and holds a Psychology degree from Whitworth. He is an alumnus of the Christian Writers Guild. His publishing credits include Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family, Clubhouse, and Focus on the Family; LifeWay’s Stand Firm; and Walk Thru the Bible’s Indeed. He writes nonfiction and humor for adults, and fiction for children, youth, and adults. He and his wife, Kippi, live in Colorado with their two young boys.