I recently received my layoff notice. It was not entirely unexpected. For fourteen months, I’ve known that my department would be re-organizing, and we learned along the way that we’d be re-applying for our jobs. Still, having that piece of paper suddenly moves rumors and speculation into a reality; a sometimes harsh reality.
This is not new territory for me. I’ve lost jobs before:
- In 2004, the program I was working in at a major non-profit ended
- In 2008, I was released by my then employer
- In 2009, a short-term contract was cut short in an off-shoring move
Through each of these events, I’ve leaned heavily on what I know how to do: IT Technical Support. I’m good at it. I also enjoy working with people, so answering a HelpDesk line works for me.
But I missed something in each of those experiences. I had an opportunity to really look inside and see what fulfills me; what makes me get up and want to trade my time for income; to reinvent myself. Honestly, in each case, I saw the end of the paycheck, and the lack of corresponding end to bills and expenses and I panicked. I got wrapped up in having to find a gig that pays “X” amount, so we can keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, the cats fed, bills paid, and the list goes on. Three times I stood at a junction elected not to take, as Robert Frost put it, the road less travelled.
So, here I am; looking at the necessity to re-apply for my job, knowing that there will be fewer employees in my department as a whole, and fewer specifically in my team. I have an opportunity here, again, to finally take that look inside myself. I have an opportunity to begin the process of re-inventing myself.
So, I find myself writing, frequently, in my journal. I’m asking myself questions; things like:
- What really makes me happy?
- What do I envision myself doing?
- What will give me more time to spend with Maurie?
- How will I react if I don’t get re-hired for my job?
- What if I don’t get an offer that pays enough money?
As Maurie and I talk about this, and what the future holds for us, all options are on the table as potentials…changing career paths away from IT? Maybe… Downsize everything and live a vagabond’s life (this is actually something we were already planning to do, just a couple of years down the road, once the debt is paid off)? Yep, that’s there too…Take a multi-pronged approach to earning a living? Another possibility…
Where ever this takes Maurie and me, it will definitely be an adventure!