04/10/2012 03:57 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2012

Hate Your Job? Take a Class

What do you do when you hate your job but aren't ready to quit? I'll answer with my old standby: "I don't know. But here's what I did..."

I took a feature-writing class given by Vince Staten, then a columnist for a newspaper in Louisville. Our task for the semester was to sell an article to a magazine. What a novel idea, if you'll forgive me: a class where the point was to get a job.

Vince gave me an A- on my first assignment -- a piece about telemarketing -- and lots of constructive criticism. "The lead is, I'm sure, appropriate for the audience," he wrote in part, "but it still is kind of dull."

He had to leave early the evening he returned our papers, but told us to stay behind and read what the rest of the class had written. The university choir was practicing down the hall and the music felt like the soundtrack to a movie, my movie. Getting published had been a lifelong dream. To finally be going for it was almost too much happiness to process.

From then on, everything revolved around that one evening a week. I sang in the car all the way to and from class.

And the boring day job? What day job? I sailed through another few years in a cubicle, daydreaming about the next article, the book I was helping Vince with, and the big plans I had for myself. Suddenly I wasn't stuck in a cube; I had chosen to be there while I saved money, plotted my escape from corporate life and inched closer toward the life I felt born to live.

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