Since my last posting, I too lost my job. I wrote my last piece back in early February and about four weeks later, I became a casualty of the workforce. I wasn’t all that surprised.
I worked for one of the nation’s most recognized non-profit disaster relief organizations. I handled their communications for the northern New Jersey region. Most recently, I had dealt with large scale fires in areas like Hoboken, Paterson, Newark and Jersey City, as well as the aviation disasters that hit my region, including US Airways Flight 1549 and Continental Airlines Flight 3407. It was a tough job when disasters hit, both mentally and physically. I could tell I was being phased out though. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Our CEO was instructing folks to find volunteers to do portions of my job and had consultants come in left and right to do other facets of communications. When I confronted him, he lied straight to my face. I understand if you can’t tell employees that they are going to lose their job in a few weeks, but note to upper management: don’t lie to your employees, you lose more credibility than you’ll ever imagine.
Back to my story. So I lost my job and my husband and I became a married couple with no positive cash flow coming in, despite some severance packages and accrued vacation time. Surprisingly enough, I never felt better. I felt so trapped at my job that when I lost it, it felt as if a 20 pound weight had been lifted from me. All the anxiety about whether or not I might lose my job, the low employee morale and the way that things were handled at the organization were no longer weighing on my shoulders. It was such a release. While I had a huge burden to deal with, which included finding health insurance, signing up for unemployment and assuring my husband we’d be okay, I felt better than I had in months.
In the interim, I had been applying for jobs for some time. As I mentioned, I wasn’t blown away by the fact that I let go, so I tried to keep one step ahead and beat job loss to the punch. A little over a week after losing my job, I was offered a position at a small public relations agency managing their staff and accounts. I was so excited. It seemed like a great growth opportunity and a perfect fit between my last job at an agency and my most recent job with a non-profit. It also took away the fear of having both my husband and I unemployed at the same time. It almost seemed too good to be true…
And so it was. About five days after accepting the position, the agency rescinded the offer. What? Are you kidding me? I know, I thought the same thing. The long and the short of it is that the company lost a major account and now could not afford to bring me on. It was like a TV show. I went from losing my job to getting a job to losing it all within about 10 days! All I could do was laugh.
I’m a worrier. I worry about everything. I worry about my parents driving home after dinner from a night out with me in Hoboken; I worry about my brother traveling through Australia; I worry about my socks not matching! Through this whole situation, I have probably had the most positive attitude of my whole life. I don’t know why I am not worried. I don’t know why I am not angry about what happened at my last job or about what happened to me with the job I had for about 96 hours, but I’m not.
At the end of the day, I have my husband and he has me. While I may have to give up some of my vices over the next few months if things don’t come together on employment front, I can do that. The world won’t end. I know I am better off than I was at the non-profit or if I joined the agency that thought I would be starting work with soon. Maybe public relations and communications isn’t for me. Maybe this is a new chapter that is opening up for me and I just have to figure it out. Maybe this is my chance to really make a difference. The possibilities are endless. While so many doors have closed, no they’ve actually slammed in my face over the three weeks, new ones will open and I’ll be there with a smile.