Why Getting Laid Off Was the Best Thing for Me

Imagine coming into work, smiling at co-workers and settling in at your desk to enjoy the breakfast you packed. As you all login and start prepping for the day’s work a strange, tense mood fills the office. Your teammate sends a message to the team with a link to a LinkedIn article. This is pretty normal, honestly. But you open it up and read.

And then you see it.

Right there in the article. Your company is closing your office and laying off employees.

WHAT???? When did this happen? Is this “fake news”?? Surely the managers would have said something if this was coming…

And then you remember how last Friday they practically ordered you to cancel all your appointments so we could all have a WII tennis tournament. That should have been a red flag, I guess….

A few minutes later, you have a meeting with your team and managers where they share the news that the article was true. But they hadn’t gotten any details from the company headquarters yet, so they don’t know who leaked things to LinkedIn. Regardless, they send you home and say come back tomorrow and we’ll tell you what’s going on.

NOW it hits you. You fight back tears as you drive home. You go straight to your best friend who immediately makes it all funny and helps you look up unemployment laws and benefits. You then drive to the grocery store to try to be productive on this unforeseen day off. You sit in the parking lot and angrily ask God why. Why did he tell you it was a good idea to take a job at a company that would 3 months later lay you off?

Oh. Maybe I should back up here…

So, over a year ago you have what you feel is the best job ever. And then an opportunity comes to move up in the company and stay there long term. Everyone has been grooming you for years for this moment. It’s what you’re meant to do. You go through the interview processes and NAIL them. Highest marks of all the candidates. Voted in by your soon-to-be peers as the unanimous choice. And then… you don’t get the job. Why? Great question. Nobody knew! Your current manager had to ask the director about his decision when it seemed to go against everything that had been decided in the process.

The answer?

You think outside the box, you’re creative, you’re an “agent” who doesn’t have to be told what to do every second because you think for yourself, you nurture others around you, and you’re motherly.

Yep.

Of course, you cry, and then feel angry, and then just feel sick. This place that had become your home was suddenly poisoned. You don’t feel safe or trusted and you don’t feel comfortable. You immediately know you need to get out of that toxic environment.

The next month, an old friend reaches out and says they know you love your job, but if you ever want to leave it they had a position for you. (Talk about perfect timing, eh?) (Why did I say eh? I’m not Canadian… haha)

You reach out and setup a time to come in and find out about the company. It has a great feel and great people. But… it’s not in a field you’ve ever heard of, let alone considered. You decide it’s a little risky and you’ll stick it out at your current job until you graduate college at the end of the year.

But the friend consistently reaches out as the company grows. Finally, you go for another look. It’s grown a lot. In fact, it was acquired for 40 million dollars. It’s bigger, more secure, and just feels…. right. You pray and God confirms it’s the right move for you. (Despite your degree having nothing to do with the business you’re going into…) So you accept a position and finish up school so you can start when they need you. That saves you the time of doing real job searches as you finish school! Yay!

Ok, back to that parking lot. You’re upset and suddenly it’s like God says, “Hey. I did say this was the right move. SO IT WAS. Will you chill out and trust me???”

You go home and bake a cake for your roommates and then tell them all you have really exciting news. (They assume that the boy you’re in love with finally told you that he loves you back…) They’re a little surprised and confused why you’re so happy about telling them that you’ve been laid off. And honestly… you don’t know why you’re so happy either. But you are.

In the next 24 hours, you find out that your job will keep you on the books for another 2 months on PTO, and then terminate you. At which time, your severance package includes another 3 month’s pay. And they offer you a potential job at their headquarters in San Francisco.

You realize something finally.

You’re free. You have time and money to pursue whatever your heart desires. So… what do you do?

You soul search. You ponder what you really want to do with your life now that you have literally nothing pulling you in any direction. You travel, spend time with family, and spend time on all the hobbies that you didn’t make time for during your college experience. And it’s bliss.

You enjoy so many of the wonderful things in your life that you hadn’t even noticed in years. And you don’t even worry about searching for a job for the first few months. And then? Job offers just pour in. Almost despite what you’re doing. You literally could go anywhere and do anything. You pick the company that has the culture you need and it pays double your previous salary. 1 year later… and you’re still happy. All the amazing trips and things your new job has brought into your life came because you were laid off.

So the next time you feel like you’ve been dealt a tough hand… or you feel like you’ve been placed in an unfair position… Take a step back and see what you may be missing. Imagine if I’d spent the 5 months of being unemployed and just watched Netflix in despair? (Which may have been fun. 😉 ) Instead, I decided to let the thing that seemed terrible set me free.

What would you have done if you had had the same experience as I did? What would you have done with your new lease on life?

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