This time a year ago my former company was notified by @BMWManufacturing Spartanburg that their service contract would not be renewed for the New Year. For the first time in nearly 40 years of professional employment I experienced a forced termination. And while it was budget motivated (several other companies had their service contracts cut too) and I wasn’t let go for my performance, it still felt like a firing. I lost my job and whenever you lose your job, regardless of the reason it still boils down to losing your job. I loved what I did too!
I haven’t forgotten the manner in which it was handled right before Christmas with little to no time for planning, the “severance” that was $100 over enough to cover my first COBRA health insurance payment, or the shock after nearly 5 years of faithfulness. I have healed since then. I’m not angry, I was. I’m not depressed about it, I was. I don’t feel like a failure, I did. I don’t question my value anymore, I did. I don’t have a cloud overhead, I did.
While I would love to discuss constructive complaints/issues related to the giant auto manufacturer and specificities of the engineering group to which we were contracted as we performed day in and day out with great pride, passion and seriousness I won’t. While I would like to discuss no exit interview with my company, or the BMW group we served, I won’t. That ship has long sailed and I’m in better waters. Hats off and best wishes to my former company and BMW!
My point is not about grousing about the past, or digging up old bones. They are buried and I’m at peace. In fact, I’m happy and thriving. The point is that over time I fell into my wheelhouse through networking. I was able to fall back on one of my greatest passions, writing for a living. It has been a great gift to me and every day I am grateful for the partners who took a chance on me at my firm in a totally different industry. I love what I do and a year ago I would’ve never dreamed I would be doing what I love for a living.
If you’ve recently lost a job, especially at the holidays let me encourage you. You can learn, grow and be grateful, or you can grow bitter. Bitterness never works. It’s like a cancer within your soul. I know, I’ve wrestled with it many years ago in regard to an exit on my own terms. Make no mistake, losing your job hurts. It stings. It sucks! You will have the scars from it, but you won’t be bleeding in the future. Use this opportunity to really take stock of yourself, network, ask yourself what you really would like to do if money wasn’t an issue, shake off the dust, get up every day and have a goal and list of things to do.
Have a mentor, or listen to someone you really respect. Heed their counsel. Choose one trusted friend (not your mentor) and share your heart with them, but make sure it’s not your family because they are living with it too. Exercise. Eat well. Get your rest. Read, stay current and active. Pity parties are short lived and can lead to bitterness.
One of the things that stuck with me and still does from a professor long ago: “No one is irreplaceable, stay humble, but stay hungry.” For those of you with a recent job loss I get it and if I survived, you can too! #BeStrong
Images via: Abby Anaday and Moritz Menteges on Unsplash.com