As someone who works remotely 99% of the time, getting asked to come into the office which is 87 miles from my house is always a big deal. There are so many logistics to figure out- from traffic patterns to daycare drop off to getting out of the house before my sweet three year old wakes up.
Last week, my office day started out just like any other. I was excited to see my office based coworkers and to have some face time with the Senior Management in a few meetings. I had an 8:30 meeting with my boss’s boss regarding some outstanding issues we needed to nail down on a project we were working together on. Traffic wasn’t terrible. My splurged on fancy coffee tasted amazing. And I had several great ideas ready to discuss with her. I.WAS.PUMPED.
Until I walked through her office door, that is. I could tell immediately that we would not be discussing my bullet points. The HR Director was there and my boss’s boss started to talk about the direction my department would be going in for the new year.
For a split second, I was really excited despite the ominous tone in the air. My mind started to race. They were giving me a promotion. They had to be. All of my hard work and long nights while my preschooler played with his father were paying off.
After working for almost five years in both via both part time and full time, their new direction didn’t include me in my current leadership role or even at the company at all. I was being laid off.
I was shocked. This news came completely out of left field. I started to shake a little bit. I just couldn’t believe it. I was confused because I knew that my work had always been regarded as outstanding. I had never had a poor review. I was known within our organization as a problem solver, a process lover, and a team player.
I didn’t cry, yell in anger, or speak in haste the things that I was actually thinking. I had enough composure to ask if they would please send me a copy of the photos in my “my photos” folder. I had recently been on a working vacation with my family and dumped my camera onto my laptop when the memory card was full. I hadn’t had a chance to transfer them over to my personal computer. They didn’t have to agree to do that, since the laptop was company property. But they did. And I was grateful.
I was in and out of the office in less than 45 minutes. Ironically the CEO of the company walked by my car was sitting there breaking the news to my husband. He smiled and waved as he walked by to start his day at the company that just said goodbye to me.
The hour and half drive home was a long one. My mind raced and skipped. Did that really just happen? What will we do about daycare? Can our budget handle this? What are the steps I need to take to file unemployment? Oh boy.. I carried our health insurance. Now what?
As I write this, I am six days removed from my life as a corporate 9 to 5iver. I have been on hold with my state’s unemployment hotline for sixty minutes and I am praying that my son doesn’t wake up from his nap before I can file my claim.
I still don’t have all of the answers to my immediate questions from last week.
I am determined to embrace this new journey with a positive attitude. My priorities have shifted and I am looking at the world through a new lens. My career really defined me and now I have some time to refine myself. I’m looking forward to it.
Have you ever been laid off? How long did it take for you to recover from it? How did it change the landscape of your family’s priorities?
Photo via woodlywonderwors on Flickr
NJ Rongner was employed in the insurance industry until she was recently laid off. With her increased spare time she’s catching up on projects that were always on her to do list, considering a new career path, and enjoying the stay at home mom gig- if only that paid as well as her old job! She blogs about life, love, and breaking the parenting rules at A Cookie Before Dinner and tweets at @acookieb4dinner.