A year ago I left my full-time job — the thing I thought was my career. It was creative and rewarding, fast-paced and demanding. I was part of something bigger than myself, working for a non-profit and getting paid pretty decently.
I’d been promoted twice in as many years, taken on increasing responsibility and a heavier workload with gusto and a can-do smile. I got teams of people to work together for a common cause, created efficiencies in workflow and cost-effectiveness. Last spring I felt I’d found my groove. I felt competent and confident.
And then the organization was reorganized. And I was let go.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to find when I found my resting position. A year later, I’m still not entirely. But I can breathe easier knowing I’m headed in the right direction.
Bye-bye old life
Being laid off is hard. Even when you know that it’s truly not about you. It’s about people putting workers and managers into boxes on an organizational chart and making the decisions they think make the most sense at the time.
“But if I was really that awesome, they’d have made accommodation for me!” the little voice
I thought I was irreplaceable. That they couldn’t do without me.
A new life
In any case, it happened. My last day came and went, I turned in my badge, carried out my boxes and locked my office door for the last time. A week or so later, we went on holiday to England and France (nice timing, universe, thanks! :)). Then I dropped the kids off at their Dad’s for a few weeks and returned home to a quiet house that I’d longed to spend more time in during the non-stop rush of my previous life.
In the last year, I’ve had many hours alone in this quiet house. A few that have been too quiet. But not many.
It turns out I like having time to think. Time to form long thoughts, taking me from tiny beginning to quiet conclusion. Time to allow deep thoughts that don’t do well when jarred back into the surface of life by the clarion call of a child.
And these thoughts…it’s interesting where they’re taking me.
A new idea
I began my new career with the idea I’d start my own business, providing strategic marketing communication services to non-profit organizations. I’d help them make more money so they could do more good in the world. But then I realized I don’t really want to work only with non-profits, for a variety of reasons (that I won’t elaborate on at the moment). I couldn’t quite get enough umph and zest behind the business to make a great go of it. I talked to my counselor about it and she helped me realize that just because I said I was going to do something doesn’t mean I have to keep doing it, even if I change my mind. Somehow this hadn’t occurred to me before.
Huh. That could have saved me several difficult relationships. Oh well. Can’t do anything about that now.
Around this time, I also decided that, since I’d been given a gift of time and space to myself, I wanted to heal from past sexual abuse. You know, for good. Get it over with. But I didn’t know how to move forward.
And then I started writing about living in Barbados. It just happened one day. I was writing about my life, walking along on the treadmill in the basement, and the day we left Barbados started coming out my fingertips through the keyboard, and I realized I’d started a book. I’m a bit over half-way through now, having slowed down in recent weeks (mostly due to other workload and hanging out with the kids this summer).
So that’s happening. It’s often not a comfortable experience, but I know it’s what I need to do.
A year later and where am I professionally? The President of a successful business? A brilliant entrepreneur making a name for herself as a thought leader in her chosen field? Not exactly.
Financially we’re amazingly and gratefully doing well. I’ve done a bit of this and that – taught a Fiber Arts class at the little kids’ school, made curtains for my mother-in-law, built a website or two, written some stuff for non-profits, taught mediumship development, became the Music Director at my spiritual center. Is this my new career? I don’t know.
I think, professionally, I am and always have been a writer. I define myself as such not to impose limits on myself, but to provide structure. Having the opportunity to do and be anything I wanted sent me into a bit of a flailing around tailspin for a while. So many choices…
I think and create and write. It’s what I do. On a deeper and bigger level, I’m an artist. It’s in the yarn I spin, the food I grow, the meals I cook, the sweaters and blankets and shopping bags and miscellany that I knit. I create, always.
So, yeah, it’s taken me a year to learn I am what I’ve always been. Go figure.
I wrote a song about it, and it goes a little something like this: