Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Moving Forward

Five months ago, after being out of work for 18 months, I finally had a job. By the end of January I was gainfully employed. Or so I thought.

Well, less than two weeks ago, I was laid-off. Again. This was not due to anything I did or did not do. My employer could no longer financially sustain the position. Last in, first out. 

Sadly, former co-workers don't know how to handle your lay-off. Justifiably so.  I liken being laid-off to the death of a loved one in the sense (only) that former co-workers don't know what to say. "I'm sorry" just doesn't seem to be adequate. But those two words can make a big difference! For several reasons. First, you acknowledge they've been laid-off and, second, it shows you genuinely care about the fact they are no longer working.

I think many have had the being laid-off experience. In one of my former jobs a co-worker I'd admired had been summarily dismissed. He was a hard worker and his job was stressful;  but he always managed to keep it all together. In the early days after he was laid-off, on several occasions, I wanted to call and tell him how sorry I was he'd lost his job. But, I never did and to this day I still regret not making some sort of contact.

Other things I've learned about being laid-off that I try to keep uppermost in my mind particularly when I'm having a bad day are: Ralph Waldo Emerson's, "Life is a journey, not a destination" is one of my favorite quotes. I will be the first to admit I am not patient. I want to know where I'm going and right now I don't have a clue. I keep asking myself, why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing?

"I'm right where I'm supposed to be" (as told to me by my beloved sister-in-law, Judy). I've often heard  if you want to make God laugh, make plans. I believe we're all on our own unique quest. Some know early on and others never know. I fall into the latter and have long since given up trying to figure out my purpose in life. I find it's easier to let go and let God or whoever you perceive as a higher being.

Being laid-off is hard, very hard, and it's out of your control when it happens. But what you do have control over is your reaction and, most important, your attitude moving forward after this setback.

I've also learned that this time around, I choose to look at my current lack of unemployment as a gift. Yes, you read correctly, a gift. Or if you prefer an opportunity. An opportunity to pursue something entirely different . At the moment, the sky's the limit and while I will continue to apply for jobs for which I'm qualified, I'm going to explore other avenues of generating income and try to be more financially self-sufficient.

To put all this into perspective, two days after I was laid off,  I received an email from a very dear friend. She wrote she was in hospice because her brain cancer had spread to the rest of her body. My job loss pales in comparison, don't you think?

That's my final lesson, always remember there is someone out there who has it worse.

For all my fellow Americans, wherever you may be, I wish you a Happy Fourth of July!!!

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