Change can be really hard. Especially if that change is thrust upon you. Yet, life seems to have a way of creating these moments for us even if we don’t want them. The Way I see it, it’s up to us how we deal with them.
For Kathryn, her change came with her job dismissal. She could of opted to play the victim and continue life with a chip on her shoulder or she could take this as an opportunity to discover herself. It was her choice.
Her decision, inevitably turned into the most incredible journey of her life.
Positive People Army Founder
Still recovering from a not-so-good week, I’m at my desk trying to psych myself up to take on another one. Then I mumbled to myself, “This doesn’t feel so good, and last week was rough, but if I get myself organized and map out a plan, I’ll get going. I just have to survive the morning”. So, with a cup of tea and my agenda in front of me, I began to map out my own schedule.
We had just finished our Monday morning huddle. The bosses were going to be away for a few days at a leadership summit, and I had tasks to prioritize and complete. And then one of our bosses, the director, appeared.
The memory still stings a little, as I distinctly remember him walking over to my desk and asking, “Kathryn, do you have a minute?” “Yes, I do”, I enthusiastically replied(there’s always a minute for the boss).
As I followed him, he abruptly turned toward the Human Resources Department, and I immediately knew what was about to happen. I had a strong feeling something like this – a workforce reduction – could happen, but I didn’t think it would happen to me.
We sat down at a boardroom table with a Human Resources representative, and the director began to read from a form letter that my services were no longer required. Almost immediately after he started reading, I stopped hearing. I didn’t only stop listening, but I also stopped understanding the words he was saying.
To this day, I don’t know exactly what was in that letter. I just simply stared.
Walking back to my desk I felt numb. Now sitting at my desk I felt upset, and then I was numb again.
Eventually I gathered myself together, packed up my things and said goodbye to my co-workers and friends. I felt bad leaving them and wished them best of luck in the future. Then just like that…I left.
So, I lost my job. Wait a second: instead of saying I lost my job, or calling it a “job-loss”, let’s instead call it a “job-subtraction” because it was something that was subtracted from my life. Leaving my equation unbalanced.
And yet it was the best thing that happened.
For this part of the story I would love to fast forward through the tough parts like they do in the movies, but this was not a movie (no matter how surreal it seemed). I took my job-subtraction really hard – and personally.
After the initial shock happened I did everything possible to speed up my recovery. So I threw myself into a career-coaching program to discover myself. What I discovered was that I was more confused than ever about what to do next. This then turned into my new panicked mantra of “Get a job, GET a job, GET A JOB”!
Confused and scared I became obsessed with finding the same kind of job. Yet this left me even more perplexed. Did I want the same job? Did I even want to work for someone else, or should I step out on my own? The career assessments I took over and over again also didn’t give me any clear answers.
I spent the next several months learning how to look for a job, figuring out a new career path, keeping my knowledge and skills up, attending professional development events, and of course building my network. This professional development seemed to be working because I was finally getting excited about learning again and especially growing. I also started doing things I loved again – hiking, cycling, sewing, Latin dancing, reading, and hanging out with friends and family.
I was transforming.
As the weeks turned into months I came to realize and believe that events truly happen in our lives to inspire us and change us for the better. The more I embraced this the more people and opportunities came into my life. For example, I chose to attend a professional development dinner in a different city and as fate would have it, I sat across from someone who literally took me by the hand and walked me out of my comfort zone. Even in situations where someone else takes us by the hand, we still have to be the ones to let them. We have to be the ones to say “Yes!”
I have been amazed over and over again by what has happened. My disappointing job-subtraction had pushed me to do something different, to challenge myself, and most of all, saying “Yes” to life.
My latest incredible opportunity, I’m proud to say, is I’ve become a Positive People Army Leader. Something before my job-subtraction I never would have done.
I have a new attitude, full of positivity. I believe more strongly in myself, and carry my quiet confidence with pride. I’m no longer looking to balance the equation – I’ve actually changed the equation!
Although my experience with a job-subtraction was a huge negative at the time, I believe it was meant to happen to propel me toward my destiny. It set me on a path of self-discovery; improving my self-confidence, nurturing my talents and dreams, and helping others with theirs.
Reflecting on my journey of the past year and a half, a friend of mine reminded me of this beautiful qoute: “The difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”. I couldn’t agree more.
Watch out world because my future is pretty bright!
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