I cried from December through March 2012, when I finally lost it. I had never been so scared and confused. My sense of worth and status within both my family and my community was dependent upon it. March was when I lost my job.
According to the Department of Employment and Economic Development, the unemployment rate in Minnesota for May 2012 was 5.9%. But, what the numbers don’t tell you is how it feels to be a statistic. This was not my first loss, but it was my first loss of any significance. I had spent five years trying to make a name for myself within my department, and ended up being told that I was not performing. Isn’t it strange how the word “performance” is used to describe a basic office job that does not even require a college degree?
This job loss was personal. The same manager who hired me, and gave me consistently positive annual reviews for five years, delighted in telling me that my work was shabby. I did what any helpless person would do in my position- I cried. A lot. I desperately tried to figure out where and when I went wrong. She finally coached me out of the role the week after giving me a satisfactory annual review. I still don’t know what happened.
Why do we hold on to anything that we can claim as our own, even if we know it’s a lost cause? I did not particularly enjoy my daily tasks, nor did I form any strong relationships within the department. I was never a superstar, or accepted into the most favored circles. My personality never seemed to fit within the group. The job was convenient and stable. The commute was agreeable, and the pay was sufficient. I made a habit of applying elsewhere, but Elsewhere, MN did not exist for me.
Ironically enough, that horrible day when I lost my job was probably one of the best days of my life.
Somewhat reluctantly, I became a stay-at-home mom to my two daughters. I was totally unprepared for how my life would change. To my surprise, staying at home with the girls was not endless happy hour. I’m lucky if I had one full hour of happiness! I learned how to be a master chauffeur, housemaid, event coordinator, and all-around Wonder Woman. I have a whole new respect for stay-at-home-moms, nannies and childcare providers. Working full-time had its challenges, but being a domestic goddess takes work to a whole new level.
There were also some very lonely moments as a “new” stay-at-home mom. Even though I would encounter other moms, I wasn’t part of their normal group. Being a stay-at-home mom was always supposed to be temporary, so I never tried very hard to form strong relationships. It’s hard to have a strong relationship with another woman when you are both running around your children. My school age daughter even complained that I didn’t attend as many of her school events as her friends’ moms.
There were some gems during this time, though. I had never experienced all the joys of spending the full day with a toddler. I was able to share some of her milestones, most of which I missed for my older daughter while I was working. I also enjoyed seeing my daughter off to the bus, and spending quiet time with her before my husband came home. I was more interested in cooking food for our family and planning out meals and schedules. I had more overall time to manage the household.
I needed something more in my life. That something became my own speaking business, Weightless LLC. I had lost 100 pounds over a decade ago, but was too busy working and living to make a big deal about it. I had always enjoyed speaking for Toastmasters International, and wanted to help others find their own way to health. Weightless LLC is one of the first attempts I have ever made to be fully responsible for my own success at anything. I’ve had to learn quickly how to use the tools required to market and run your own business. I still have a lot to learn, but am energized by the attempts.
Shortly after I opened my own business, I accepted a full-time position.
I guess you could call me the queen of transitions. I went from a suddenly unemployed to stay-at-home mom to self-employed to employed with a business on the side. All in the space of two years. One day of tragedy resulted in so much good.
How am I performing? I don’t know yet. What I do know is I have grown more as a person in the past two years than I would ever believe is possible. You’ve heard the phrase, “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” That window sure has a gorgeous view!
Jennifer is a former fat girl who has maintained a weight loss of 100 pounds over the past decade. As the owner of Weightless LLC, she is dedicated to helping busy working women lose weight and live great, especially in times of transition. She is also a full-time working mother of two beautiful daughters and wife to a wonderful man born in Calcutta. She enjoys food with flavor, trying out new forms of movement, and traveling. You can check out Jennifer’s site Weight Loss Chronicles or connect with her on Facebook.