That’s Where I’ll Be

Six days before Christmas I found myself leaving the house at 7 a.m., not to go join the crowds bustling out to finish their holiday shopping, but to go stand outside in the cold and wait for the unemployment office to open the doors for the second time in three days.

As I made my way inside, I took a number and a seat among the crowd that had already filled up the room. A quick check of the clock showed that almost exactly two weeks ago at that time, I was told that my job of almost eight years wasn’t mine anymore.

And so, there I was, a number among the crowd.

Two weeks ago I would have never envisioned myself in that position, listening to an unemployment office worker address the room like a school teacher, instructing us as to the steps we needed to take, the forms we needed to complete, the frustration we should probably anticipate. I would have never envisioned myself among the crowd I often saw waiting outside as I drove past this building hundreds of times through the years.

Having security ripped from me in one quick sentence —“We’ve decided to go in a different direction” — essentially changed my life forever.

Instead of worrying about editorial deadlines or meetings, I now worried about overly complicated online paperwork, figuring out self-paid health care and sending out emails, resumes and positive vibes to the universe.

While I had previously thought freelance rejection was disheartening, I was now faced with rejection in terms of jobs I felt were a good fit, frustration in not reaching an actual person on the phone, and helplessness and fear that has reduced me, the woman who never cries, to sobbing like a baby more than once or twice.

And so, there I was.

When I looked around that room, I wondered about the stories of everyone else. What brought them to that point?

I wondered if they felt like a burden to those in their lives, despite how supportive they’ve been. I wondered if their hearts leapt into their throats every time the phone rang with possible news, if they got hopeful and then disheartened, motivated and then discouraged. I wondered if they missed the luxury of being stressed out over completely insignificant things like a long morning commute or a boring meeting.

And I wondered if they felt humbled, the way that I most certainly did.

While I’m envious of those not dealing with this, I’m not bitter and no that it could be worse. If nothing else, I’m now forced to realize how so much is out of my control—a feeling we all know that I try and avoid—and to let go of how I think things should be. I’m now forced to reflect and rebuild—a process that’s hard, but that’s also exciting in some ways, as I know my last job just wasn’t for me

It’s that whole, “see a slammed door as a window to new opportunity” hippy-dippy thing. 

Above everything else though, these past few weeks have showed me just how much I need people. I always appreciated those in my life, but this situation has forced me to open up, be vulnerable and let down my guard quite a bit. In doing so, I have been overwhelmed with the kindness bestowed upon me, melting away my cynicism and replacing it with a restored faith in people, in goodness, in hope.

I might have a heavy heart at times, but it’s also a heart filled with gratitude for those in my life—both online and off.

When my number was called I walked up to the desk and looked around that room one last time. As cheesy as it sounds, I hoped everyone else had their own stories to write that would end up okay in the end, that they had people they could talk to when the cloud of uncertainty shrouded the last spark of hope.

Without these people in my life this past month, I don’t know what I would have done. They’ve reminded me that while one sentence changed my life for the worst, one sentence could bring a new start.

It’s time to go in a different direction. 

And then, that’s where I will be.

While I keep things light around here, people are also asking me how things are going so I thought I would just give an update. However, attempts at humor coming next post.  

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30 responses to “That’s Where I’ll Be

  1. Abby, your best days are coming. In my heart I know it.

    Just thinking of you crying had me tearing up but sometimes those tears are necessary to move right on to the good stuff.

    Im always here for you. So proud of you too. Xo

  2. I’m in your corner, cheering like mad. Hope you had a fun yet calm chrissie day. xxxx

  3. Reblogged this on galesmind and commented:
    Been there and I know the feeling. It does make you life and gives you gratitude for those that support you. I am sure you will find something soon. I follow you on Facebook and you are a very talented writer. Good luck my friend!

  4. I have been laid off way over 100 times, it’s the nature of the work I did. I can tell you with certainty that you will be fine. You will find yourself in a better place when things brake for you. 🙂

  5. This can be a great time to freelance… with 8 years experience you probably have some great marketable skills!

  6. Well, don’t think of them telling you THEY are going in a different direction. Think that YOU are going to go in a different direction. Not horizontal but upwardly vertical! lol You have a great fan club cheering you on, and don’t forget that depending on your friends or family who offer support is a gift to them. We all like to be heros to those we love. Let them…. and bath in the fragrant beauty of being loved.

  7. Reblogged this on Marilyn Munrow and commented:
    Best of luck my friend. I hope you find something soon. I know its hard now.

  8. Sending good thoughts to you for the year to come! Catie

  9. I have a feeling that 2015 is going to be your best year ever! You have a wonderful attitude, a great wit, and skills beyond measure. I expect there IS something out there waiting just for you. Go get ’em!

  10. Thinking of you, and I”m here for you. If I can help in any way, just… for anything, please tell me. I want to do that for you, and there really is nothing I won’t do for you. xo

  11. Hang in there, Abby. The way my job is going, I expect to be writing similar posts real soon. Hopefully, by the time I’ve lost my job, you will have found a new one – and then I can use your experience to guide me through mine.

  12. Lost a good job a few years back and went through what you are going through now. Yes one door closes and another opens, but sometimes there is a long hallway in between. Don’t get stressed out, look at the pictures on the wall! PS. I now have a perfect job I would never have dreamed of, (although I had a few frogs in between.)

  13. So many of us have been there….and we all felt the exact way you feel. I do want to remind you of one thing. If you get offered a job that doesn’t feel right for you, TAKE IT. Remember this word……temporary. It’s ok for things to be temporary, when they provide something positive…ability to pay the mortgage and bills, etc. I did this very thing…took a job in an industry I knew nothing about, at half the salary I previously made. But it gave me purpose and time. Purpose to get out of bed everyday, and do what I do best…work hard and produce. Time, to continue looking for the “right” job. And though it took a few years, I beat out 300 people for a government job in my field. I will never forget the joy I felt when I saw that offer letter. So please remember, things have a way of working out….whether it’s the exact flavor we wanted or not. Wishing you a positive 2015. Lots of people are rooting for you.

  14. kelleysbreakroom

    The way you write made me feel that I was in that office with you. You are full of so much talent. I am hopeful you will find the right place that deserves you. That last place may have done you a favor in the end. Hang in there!

  15. You rock, girl. Just keep remembering that.

  16. As much as I love your humorous posts, I have been wondering about you this holiday season, so I’m glad you wrote an update. I agree, people are pretty special. I had to rely on them in a time of need several years ago, and I was humbled and so grateful for the support which came from so many different directions. Thanks for the update, and I’m here if you need anything. You’re a rock star, albeit one who loves hummus, but a rock star nonetheless.

  17. Sounds like you needed the kick in the ass, and I mean that in a good way.

  18. I wind about the stories of people in the crowd, too. Hoping for great things for you in 2015.

  19. I can’t believe it happened that fast. It seems like you didn’t even have time to prepare for the job loss. I’m sorry about that. I know this is an uncertain & terrifying time (I found myself out of a job in a similar way years ago w/ an infant at home, which is how I ended up here), but as you said the job wasn’t for you (neither was mine) and maybe this is the universe’s way of getting you to where you need to be. Although it was difficult for me to lose my job, ultimately I do believe it brought me to the right place. You are going to find the right place.

    • Thank you so much for such a thoughtful reply, and yes, it was a huge shock and happened pretty much out of nowhere. While I always had an updated resume, I wasn’t actively searching. This is also a hard time of year to find work, so that’s a bit frustrating. But I have to believe you-and everyone else-that something better is on the horizon. I’m so happy it worked out for you.

  20. I went through something similar five years ago & I know exactly what you’re feeling. It was hard at first (the loss of the income, not the job itself – banking wasn’t for me) but I was able to get through it, with my wife’s support & I was a better person for it in the end.

    …Though not having a banker’s income anymore still sucks a little.

    You’ll be alright. I know it.

    • Thanks Vinnie. Not having any income sucks a little, but it’s only been a couple of weeks. Hopefully something will work out for me like it worked out for you.

  21. I’ve been through this more than once.So has my husband. It’s a shock and can make you feel very small. I hated to be lectured by an office worker on how to go about things (and when they are so young and have less education and experience, it’s harder).
    Seems like companies like to cut people loose just before Christmas so they can go have a nice time without unpleasantness waiting for them to handle after the holidays. It’s not you…it really is them and their bottom line (others work for less…’product” not as good, but it will pass OK)
    The old story, when you are working you never have time to do things you want to do – and when you are laid off, you have time, but are worried about money and wasting time instead of looking for a position.
    Things usually pick up after New Years. Good time to network – that’s how many jobs are being filled around here. Even contacting old customers – chitchat and let them know the company is changing and you won’t see them anymore. One of mine actually heard about a job and called me.
    Hang in there. Their loss.
    You’re tough. You can do this

  22. Just remember you’re not alone, in situation and in spirit. My husband has been going through the same thing and so are a few close friends. Totally sucks.

  23. Going thru the same as of jan 2nd,, it stinks and scary too.

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