Curves in the Road
Mid-afternoon on the last Friday of October I was called into a meeting with my supervisor and the director over our project. I walked in with my notebook, sat down and immediately knew something was off.
The director had a hard time looking me in the eye. My supervisor just looked sad. I said, “What’s up?” and the director started on about how they had been hoping we’d get assigned new sites for our project but just hadn’t yet. It was then that it hit me that I was being let go. I took a deep breath and let her keep talking.
I think the uncomfortable situation made her keep talking longer than she needed to. I think my unemotional silence made her feel even more uncomfortable. I just sat there, partially in shock and partially upset by the unfairness.
I’d worked at that company for more than seven years. I’d put in long hours, hard work and dedication and repeatedly proved my value and worth (so I thought). They had as recently as 2 weeks before brought in new people for a project. They had also hired a new person in the IT department which I could have done the job but told the IT manager I wasn’t interested since I knew my supervisor wouldn’t like me leaving her high and dry.
If only I had known. I told them that. I asked why new people were brought on when a long-time employee was being let go? Why wasn’t I given a heads up (they said they had known this was going to happen since August) so I could apply for other internal jobs? I’m sure the answer to that is because they knew I’d also apply to external jobs and they wanted me where I was until they didn’t need me anymore, and not leave early for another opportunity.
I almost made it through the entire meeting without crying but then it just hit me. My mortgage payment was due in a few days, and I had bills and how was I going to survive on unemployment? And how long until I got a new job? And what was I going to do?
After telling them that for future reference they should be more open with employees to give them opportunities to go to other departments, I said I was leaving for the day, walked to my desk to get my things and left. I really let go in the car, sobbing all the way to my sister’s house, which was minutes from the office. I stood on her porch crying and then spent the next couple of hours crying on her couch.
That evening was rough. I was scared, I was upset and I was a little bit angry. And then I went to bed and woke up and said, “ok this day is mine” and spent it with my family having a good time. I told myself I couldn’t do anything about it right now except work on my attitude and my emotions and so I just went and enjoyed myself on a truly beautiful day outside. (We went to Apple Hill, which I hadn’t been to in years.)
I called in sick Monday. I think I actually said something like, “I really don’t feel like joining the Halloween celebrations. I’ll be in tomorrow.”
And then I finished up my time at a company I had given so much to. I originally was given two weeks; one week into that I was offered to extend to the end of the month, which I took advantage of. My last day was November 30th and I walked out, unsure of what was to come but confident in my abilities.
Those first couple of weeks I felt this weight lifted from my shoulders I didn’t even know I was carrying. The stress, drama and politics of my old office disappeared and I realized how unhappy I had been in my previous situation and how freeing it was to be away from it all, as scary as this big change was.
December was spent working on projects especially for Christmas presents, enjoying the time off and sleeping in.
January included a few job interviews, a trip to Seattle, more relaxing time.
February I stepped up the job search, had some promising opportunities but everything ended with, “we decided to go with another candidate.” Over and over and over. And as much as I wanted to keep positive, it was starting to wear me down. Rejection hurts, every single time.
I applied for a job at the beginning of March, but I wasn’t holding my breath. I had learned not to get my hopes up, not to be too excited about anything early on.
And then this week I got an email that I had to read four times to believe, and then I just couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. “We would like to offer you the position.” I start my new job tomorrow and I can’t tell you how excited I am for this new opportunity.
The funny thing is, a few months ago I didn’t know where this was all headed and I was scared but worked hard to keep positive. Things have a way of falling apart exactly like they are supposed to. I was walking blind, I was trusting that things would work out and they did. Not how I had planned. Not at all! My “plan” was to have a new job in January. My “plan” was to probably stay in the same industry. My “plan”.. well not a single thing in my plan worked how I thought it would.
But the amazing thing is, what happened is even better than all my plans.
What I learned over the last three and a half months:
Life can be so unexpectedly wonderful. Better things are around the corner if you just keep up the hope and work hard.
Being positive takes you a long way. It also helps keep you sane.
The love, support and kind thoughts/words/prayers of my family and friends helped me through the rough times, and helped me hang on and keep up the positivity I knew I needed but at times felt slipping.
Even at the worst of times, I am so blessed.
I have had to repeat to myself over and over the past two days I HAVE A JOB I HAVE A JOB I HAVE A JOB. I woke up this morning with a huge smile thinking tomorrow my new path starts. I am so rejuvenated from my time off. I am ready to get in, get my hands dirty and WORK.
Oh and I finally get to “pay up” on myself on two things I promised myself for when I get a new job:
Go out for sushi.Went today for lunch!
- Buy this for Betty.
So here’s to what’s beyond the next curve in the road. Here’s to being open to new and exciting things and experiences. Here’s to choosing to be happy in the face of adversity and ending up in a better place because of it. I am happier than I have been in months (possibly years). I am excited about what’s next in my life and career. I have been laughing and smiling so freely.
Life is beautiful and don’t you forget it.