This past week has been very trying. I was busy between work and putting together an online training session for my own business. Then on Thursday, you know what hit the fan. I was at my desk, updating my project notes for my position as a Sr. Technical Documentation Writer. I received an instant message from my manager asking me to go to a conference room for a meeting. Advised me that the room was already booked. That was the first gut clench I felt and my reaction immediately of, I’m being laid off. So, I told him I was on my way and stepped away from my desk.
As I passed a coworkers desk, I saw that she was standing up with her laptop in hand. I thought, oh, maybe we’re all meeting there. But alas, no. I got to the room and another lady was there. She stood up and introduces herself from the HR department. Well hell. There it was. I knew right then I laid off. But, a small sliver of hope remained. Yes, I try to be optimistic. I’m naive that way.
My manager, who is at another site location, was on the phone. He went through the routine. “The company is structuring and streamlining departments. Almost every department is feeling the pinch. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera”. Ok. So this sucks. I admit that I started to cry. Side note: I cry at the drop of a hat. Happy, Sad, Mad, Scared. You name it, I’ll cry. And the funny thing is, I’m really not an overly sensitive person. Ask my friends. I’ll be upfront to the point of brute force, telling them they are being completely ridiculous. Anywho, the first thought through my head was, “What am I going to do?” I am a single mom and I am the only income coming into my home. I started my business, but not enough income to sustain me is coming in.
The HR person went through the routine. Discussed my severance package, Cobra, Employment Services, and such. Even offered to connect with me on LinkedIn and if I need a contact introduction she may have, just let her know. That was nice and I appreciated that.
If you’re expecting a post, complaining about the company and their unsavory work practices, I hate to disappoint. This isn’t one of those. I understand the need to streamline. All companies feel the pinch.
So, I got to wondering… Maybe this is the kick in the butt I need to do what I really want to do? Can I afford to really do what I want? I wanted to get out of Corporate America. The need to feel like I was more than a number would overwhelm me at times. I want to feel like I was making a difference. To work with people who I knew appreciated what I did for them. See the results in their business because I was able to help them. Or is that a pipe dream? I truly hope not!
With all that said, I’m not a fool. I know that I need to be realistic and while trying to build up my business, I am still going to apply for jobs. Preferably with smaller companies or, yes, this is bigger, but Universities. I’m not sure of my chances there, heck, I don’t know what my chances are with my business getting off the ground, but I’m not going to limit myself.
So, while I was driving home and made some of the calls to family, letting them know what happened. One of the calls was to my teenager’s father. We tend to split everything 50/50 for the kiddo, so I felt he needed to know that I wouldn’t be able to do that until I knew where I stood financially. Even with the severance package, I needed to know that I had the money if needed. Now, I can hear all the groans and palms hitting faces and the statements “Oh no. Having to deal with an ex on top of this? This is going to get ugly”. “Can’t pay her half of their child’s expenses? This isn’t going to go well”.
However, I’m here to tell you, not all ex-spouses are jerks. (I’d use a stronger word, but, you know, looking for a job and all that.) No, my ex happens to be one of the good guys. Our divorce didn’t start off well. Heck, who’s would? But over the past 12 years, we got on an even keel and actually co-parent very well.
After saying he was sorry to hear that I was laid off, he then goes on to say “They’re hiring for a position you may qualify for here”. It’s a big location, so we wouldn’t be working together. Probably not even within a couple of blocks from one another. He also agreed to let me put him down as a reference. See? Co-parenting at its finest. Consequently, I ended up applying for three positions there and text him to let him know that he may get three phone calls and what positions I applied for.
It’s important to get your support system in place. Whether it’s your ex, family and/or friends. It’s going to be a very trying time and you never know how long you’re going to be laid off. The last job I was laid off from, it took me seven months to find a job. I hope it doesn’t take quite THAT long this time!