Last summer (2011) I graduated college, got a job, relocated to Downtown/East Village Des Moines, and met Jeremy. I felt like I was thriving in this new and exciting chapter of life - job, apartment with a view of the city, new boyfriend and a life of happiness ahead!
This summer? I was playing a whole new fiddle.
Summer 2012 started out on a very rocky note. In the early part of the summer, I watched two coworkers, also friends, get laid off from my company. One day everything seemed fine, but that same afternoon they were gone and told (for financial reasons) not to come back the next day. My mind started to wander…
It could have been me. It should have been me. I’m not better than those guys. I could be gone tomorrow. I should be gone tomorrow. How much trouble is the company in? Will they find jobs? Will they be able to pay bills? What should I do?
The mood of the company changed. We didn’t know if we’d come to work one day and leave without a job. No one was telling us anything. Disconnect in philosophy and the mission of the company became prevalent. This shook me up.
Right after that all happened, my parents sold my childhood home back in Wisconsin. “An offer they couldn’t resist.” I understood, but as I felt my new chapter in life starting to hit the rocks of uncertainty, I then realized even my safe place of a true “home” was soon to be gone.
Then came August. Usually one of my favorite months of the year - my birthday month! This summer, it took on a new tone.
As I was about to leave work on a Friday afternoon in early August, another coworker and I were asked to come into the CEO’s office. Let’s just say I left that office with a nice letter explaining more financial hard times and a couple of boxes to clean out my desk.
I was officially unemployed. What else? I had to pack up my desk, head straight to the airport for a flight to DC and a weekend with Jeremy.
As I drove to the airport and proceeded on my six hour journey (layovers and delays included), I had a lot of time to think. Here was my thought process (probably in this order too):
As the plane touched down in DC, my mind and body were exhausted, but the tears were done and the fears had subsided. I felt that sense of peace.
I had a great (and much needed) weekend of relaxing, reflecting and even laughing as we saw Jerry Seinfeld do standup comedy. I came home feeling hopeful. This became my anthem for the month of August: I’m hopeful.
Thanks to the networks and great connections I had in Des Moines, I was able to get interviews soon after the layoff and I accepted a new job right before Labor Day weekend.
Overall, life threw me a curveball this summer with lots of stress and emotions flying along with it. Even in the face of fear and doubt, I didn’t let that stop me from moving forward.
I know my story isn’t the norm, and there are a lot of extremely talented people around the country still without jobs. I don’t know their situations, but I know some of the feelings they may have previously felt, or are still feeling.
My takeaway thought would be this: While your mind is drifting through an array of emotions, don’t lose site of the fact that your worth is not tied to an occupation and your life’s journey is not in your hands.
It’s been a crazy summer. One for the books. Happy to report I’m once again employed, still healthy, and a much stronger person today than I was four months ago.
Thanks, Summer 2012.