Unemployment is everywhere. As you open up the newspaper or surf the Internet or talk to your friends and neighbors, you know someone is faced with a job loss. It is all over the country. It touches people from all walks of life. You listen to each person’s story and they are all heartbreaking.
Facing sudden unemployment is like being splashed with extreme cold water. At least that was how I felt when I was told that due to consolidation of my department, my position was being eliminated.
So I asked the proverbial question "Why me?" How could I be out of job after 20 dedicated years of working for this company? I always thought I would last with my company until I am ready to retire. After all, I am one of those dedicated, hardworking, ethical, trusted employee. I was the last one out almost every night. But of course, I was so wrong.
So many thoughts crowded my mind. How am I going to take care of my family? Where do I start and how do I find another job? Where do I go from here?
I went home numb and in shock and had the hardest job of telling my family I was laid off. It was my daughter’s first Spring dance that week and I did not have the heart to tell her that I lost my job. I wanted her to enjoy her night without having to worry about the future. My husband and I deliberately kept the sad news until the right time came.
I seesawed from being angry to sad to hurt. Well meaning family members, friends, and colleagues all rallied around me. I appreciated their support yet I know surviving unemployment and finding another career starts with me.
I know there are a lot of people who are in the same boat as I am. People just like me who have to pull themselves together and start the process of rebuilding their lives.
After losing a job, one must rebuild a new life. One must look for ways to put the past behind and begin another chapter of one’s life. Must is a strong word I use to tell myself to take the steps to move on……so I don’t wallow in self-pity and be defeated.
And so in the two days I have left with the company, I packed everything that I have accumulated in my office for the past 20 years. I did not even know where to begin and others were telling me to just go. With dedication, professionalism and integrity that are deeply ingrained in me, I know I have to finish going through all the files and documents in my office so I don’t leave a “mess” for someone else. It simply felt like I was going through a break up and I know I was closing a chapter of my life.
This was my wake up call to take control of my life and find a way to work for myself. I realized that being a part of a rut race in the corporate world for so long, I had put work first. I had sacrificed so much of my personal life and had negatively impacted my family.
I still cringed when I remember leaving my daughter on the bench at school. When I got to work that day and I became so busy. I completely forgot to tell my husband to pick her up because it was a minimum day. I know I had let her down even though in her tiny voice she reassured me that it was alright and it was not my fault but my boss' fault.
Even after many, many years, I could still see and hear her asking me why was I always in a hurry. I was multi-tasking all the time and in many occasions, failed to give her my full attention. Work had come first in many ways.
So, I am one of those people who believe, being laid off is a blessing. It forced me to look at my life, where I am going, what is important to me, what my priorities are. I asked myself the question, what am I so passionate about?
What is my next step? Where do I go from here? Do you ask the same question?
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