It has been a little over two weeks since I was laid off and I have been fairly buzzing with energy. Relatively speaking, I’m doing great. I think it helps that right from the start I sized up the situation pragmatically, considered my options, made priorities and a game plan, focused on my successes and didn’t take getting laid off personally. I don’t mean to sound like Pollyanna or anything but seriously, by not sitting down and letting waves of desolation wash over me and think, “ah, woe is me!” but instead, maintaining an active state of “do something, and do it now!” I have been able to ride this dip in the road fairly well.
I’m lucky, I don’t have any debt other than a mortgage, which I just refinanced at a spectacular 3% for 15 years (yeah, that pretty much rocks) and fortunately was able to finesse that a month before I was laid off. I set about trimming even more fat off my budget and by living frugally I can live on severance and unemployment for a significant amount of time. I did some research and a strong candidate, in this market, can usually be assured of finding adequate employment in 3-6 months. My goal is by the end of July. I’m doing the job search full time, networking, using LinkedIn, other social media, job boards, referrals. I will be employed and expect to employed well.
I’ve even got a spin, a truthful one, on being laid off. As my former employer put it, it was a business decision. As a software sales executive, I covered NY, NJ, New England, and Canada, and any open territory in the rest of the United States. I did this all remotely from Western Pennsylvania. We did not have the budget to send me to meet clients face to face, go to networking events or conferences. This was a terrible handicap vs. our competitors. But now, the company is in the process of merging with a small software company in NYC that has 3 sales people in my former territory. One of those sales people will be taking over my territory.
And it makes sense. I’d make that decision if I was running the company. So no looking back and on to new opportunities, bigger and better ventures.
I’ve also turned my attention to my house and all those projects you never have time for when you are juggling a professional life, personal life, family, friends, and everything else that comes along. My garage has been completely organized and cleaned out, even had a company come and haul out the computer monitor, two televisions, printer, scanner, VHS player, window air-conditioner and other sundry items taking up half of my garage.
I also pulled out boxes of old files and went through filing cabinets and found documents, even taxes, credit card receipts, stuff dating back to 1986! Boxed it all up and took it off to be shredded by a professional, bonded company in town. Done!
Another priority I made was to focus on physical fitness. This is something I started over a year ago but, let’s face it, with no job to go to every day, you can really make time for some major workouts every day.
My girl friend, who is a local caterer, and I, meet three times a week to walk/run 4 miles and do 74 steps up a steep ridge where we live. We do them twice. I’m also doing Les Mills Pump (a barbell with weights-based workout) several times a week.
Diane, the caterer, and I just worked out an agreement, where I will provide sales/marketing services in exchange for physical fitness training a few times a week. A win-win situation so I can put something on my resume during my time “off”.
So what’s my point of telling you all of this? I know this post is a bit different than what I’ve written before but so many people have been in this situation, especially with this rollercoaster economy. Being unemployed can be one of the most devastating things to happen to someone, especially when you have a family to support. But I adamantly believe (and have written this before) that you define a situation by how you respond to it. Action brings results. Positive thinking, about yourself, what you have to offer and what the future will bring, opens the door to new opportunities.
So raising a glass to all of you that are in the same boat, good luck to you and give it your all. Persevere! I do think that things are looking up. I see more activity on job boards like The Ladders, Careerbuilder, Monster. But make sure you use LinkedIn and your professional and personal network.
This is also a great time to explore something you’ve always wanted to do, something you feel passionate about. I know once I get some of these projects completed that I am looking forward to spending more time writing and cultivating my creative Muse. This happened for a reason and I am embracing the moment.
I was fired this past week. Summarily let go. And it’s ironic, because on so many levels, my life is coming along so very…beautifully! My writing feels good and the creative outlet is awesome; I have a very deep connection with someone who came back into my life a few years ago and we are rediscovering the kismet that seems to keep bringing us back into each other’s lives. I’m blooming with good health and joie de vivre and feel better than I ever have. My family is thriving and doing well; and my friends are happy and prospering on various levels. Life is good. The only disconnect was my career. It has been a rollercoaster ride of feast and famine.
I knew things weren’t going well at my current job, for a number of reasons. Not for a lack of trying. I’m the consummate professional, never a slacker, a hard-worker and my clients loved me. At times, I let my career define me. But there was a decision making methodology with the type of client I was working with that didn’t jive well with my for-profit experience and I wasn’t, on the whole, very happy.
In the end, I was told it was a “business decision.” I didn’t cry, I remained stoic and cool. I was even rational enough not to sign the document they presented me so I could later review it dispassionately and with a clear head.
But inside I was shaking. The tears simmered on the inside of my eyelids. I was both furious and scared. To add insult to injury, the president, to whom I had reported in this small company for four years, didn’t even venture out of her office to wish me well or acknowledge my leaving. It was like a slap in the face. I have worked for a number of spectacular managers in my long sales career and held her in the highest esteem. I lost a large measure of respect for her that day.
I know it wasn’t an easy task for my sales director or especially the VP. They were both very professional and even kind.
Driving home I told myself how I’d be saving money not making the long, daily commute. That it was serendipitous that my resume was up to date and ready to be submitted to the right job. That I had marvelous references. Then I thought of calling my mother. Instead, I called P. and left him a voicemail. The sound of his voice almost made me cry. But I resolutely pulled my shoulders back and cleared my throat. And continued the long drive home.
Once I arrived home, I paced my house endlessly. I had so much pent up energy. I took call after call, making plans, reviewing my options, getting advice.
I knew I’d be fine, I always land on my feet (ok, I’ve repeated that line a hundred times since that afternoon). But I was still reeling. I needed a good cry. I thought it would hurt, that my eyes would swell and it would actually ache. I don’t like failing, I’m not good at it.
It struck me how bloody cold I was. Freezing. I was frozen to the core. I turned up the heat and ignited the gas logs in the fireplace. Pulled on a sweatshirt. I just couldn’t seem to get warm. I hunkered down on the couch and drew up the down comforter about me. Suddenly, I was very tired. The tears pricked my eyes.
I received some good advice from P. today. Take a few days, regain your equilibrium, get your bearing and then figure out what it is you want to do.
I want to write.
But that doesn’t pay the mortgage.
I’m a damned good sales person, dammit.
I look at my face in the mirror this morning and I’m amazed at what a difference a few days makes. I no longer look haggard and worried. I look and feel…lighter. I firmly believe that how you react to a situation will define its reality. I will not look at this as a failure but as an exciting new opportunity. I will move on and not look back. I don’t even harbor anyone any ill will, I’ve thought about it and it was meant to be, it wasn’t a good fit. I even wish my former colleagues well.
I’m anxious to see what the next chapter brings. Even a bit excited.
I’m ready, bring it on.
I have been plagued by Writer’s Block the past several days. And I have been hoping it would just sort of, go away. That’s not like me. I usually deal with issues or problems head on, dissect them, analyze them, problem solve. Ask questions. Get to the root of the matter. Sometimes to the chagrin of those close to me. But I grew up with a father, God love him, who didn’t communicate very well, who either yelled or turned on the silent treatment during disagreements, at times for months. Reasonable dialogue was something I learned on my own, not by example. So not letting things fester, being sensitive and empathic with potential issues is something that I, as a result of my upbringing, have learned to employ.
But I have let my Muse lead me on a merry chase the past few days. It is scary when you feel inspiration dry up, when the wellspring seems to have diminished to a trickle. So much material, so much to write about, where did it all go? I take a deep breath, my fingers pause on the keyboard…
And I decide to blame the weather.
The slight balminess to the air, that gentle stirring of all things green and blooming about you—ah, yes, Spring has arrived. This is the contender for Major Distraction of the Week Award.
It pulls me outside. I feel that expectation, that quiver of anticipation that the year is truly starting, that everything has suddenly awakened and is stretching in its skin. I feel like I have been dormant these past few months and that it is time to surge forward, make strides, climb mountains, feel that runner’s high. Both metaphorically and physically.
But it is wreaking havoc with my creative flow. I feel like I am in limbo.
There is a part of me that wants to turn to other writers for inspiration but I fear being too impressionable right now, that I may mimic or parrot. I want to remain true to my voice.
I hear laughter far off in the distance. My Muse is still there, but she is off prancing about the May-pole and paying me no mind so I am left to my own devices. What can I say? It is Spring and everyone is out celebrating. I must hunker down and sort this out myself.