“I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once”. (Ashleigh Brilliant)
On October 30, 2009 “several days attacked me at once”. I left for my job just as I had every other day for the past 8 years (almost to the day). My Outlook calendar was filled with meetings/phone calls/work tasks for several weeks out.
Of course, I knew when I went to work that morning, this was the day we were going to be told whether we would to be a part of the new organization. So when my manager (of less than 2 weeks – explains a lot right there) sent me a meeting notice for that morning I accepted it, and showed up right on time. And even though my teammates and I knew for many weeks, that because of the deep cuts being done, there was a possibility we might be let go, when I heard the words “your position is being eliminated” I was not prepared. How could this be? I was a model employee – volunteered for planning teams, received accolades from the groups I supported, met deadlines consistently, completed my performance reviews ahead of schedule, earned a graduate degree through the tuition reimbursement plan, participated in over 200 hours of company offered classes/seminars/training, maintained a positive attitude during the multiple changes the company experienced – and yet I had just become “downsized”.
After the shock wore off and I let all my co-workers and family know I had been let go, I began the process of getting on with my life “post-employment”. Even though I am generally a positive and upbeat person, to say that this didn’t set me back would be a lie.
However, the thing is, it didn’t knock me down completely. And it has been both a learning experience and a growth experience for me. Here’s a few things I’ve done while engaging in my job search:
- Researched multiple companies and learned there are LOTS of great companies in this area
- Learned that I have so many strengths to contribute to an organization
- Participated in multiple networking events (getting me out of my comfort zone)
- Developed a relationship with some great people I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t been “between opportunities”
- Volunteered for some incredible organizations
- Earned 9 more college credits
- Climbed a mountain in South Dakota
- Read numerous self-improvement books
There are so many more things I could add to the list, but I’ll save those for later. Do you realize if I wasn’t in this situation it’s unlikely I would have done most of these? By not letting this particular life event crush me, I’ve learned new things and grown as a person and as a leader. So the next time I get asked in an interview “You’ve been out of work for a while – what have you been doing?” I think I have a pretty impressive answer!