Five years ago today, my life irrevocably changed.
I was walked out of the building of the Midwest Fortune 500 company where I had been employed for 5 years, 1 month and 3 days.
I was exhausted and burned out. I felt misunderstood and I knew that some of it was my fault and some of it was a huge dose of gender bias.
But it was ok, I thought. After all I was trying to get out of that place that I had grown to hate. That place where I had to start prepping myself for the week ahead at about 4:00 every Sunday afternoon. I was paid well. I had done great work. But the minefield that was the toxic team I worked on, was very hard to negotiate. I was exhausted.
It is ok, I thought. Because I had been looking for a job and had some big interviews and after 10 interviews with a major TV network, I had been offered the position the night before! I had a place to go.
The head of security took the garage transponder and watched as I drove away. I had yet to eat breakfast, so I went to a nearby restaurant when the call came. I saw the NYC area code and I knew. I just knew.
The TV network was rescinding their offer. In about 15 hours I went from having 1 job, to 2 jobs to 1 job to no job.
At the time, I thought it was my “Holy Sh*t!! Day.”
Within the next month, I started my own business, put my house up for sale and moved back to the East Coast. Ok. I did those things in between crying and laying in bed curled up in a ball and binge-watching Outlander.
I felt the shame. I felt the rejection. But I heard the tiny voice that said: “It’s going to be ok.” AND I realized two things: 1. I had grown to truly HATE that job and was in an environment where no one gave a damn about me or my mental health; and 2.) The network job came with a big salary and travel – but there was a call from my soul with every interview and when I said ‘yes’ to the job. The voice said, “PLEASE, don’t do this!”
August 9th. One year later. I was now living near the beach and off of savings, as I was struggling to find clients for my business. Realizing it was the one-year anniversary, I stopped at the liquor store and bought a bottle of bubbly. (See bottle #1 in the picture.) I decided I was done with the loss, the shame, and the rejection. And, that every year for 5 years, I was going to celebrate this day. (Which my coach came to encourage me to reframe as something other than my “Holy Sh*t!! Day.”)
With that purchase, I promised myself that I would celebrate the day that my life –kind of blew up - and see it as opportunity, not tragedy.
The next year, I was with colleagues at a conference telling them the story and toasting (bottles 2 & 3) and one of them said – “How about naming it your ‘Holy SHIFT day?!’
Today – I am STILL in business. Now what do they say about small businesses and the 5-year mark?
I have more time. I do the work I want to do. And I have more colleagues and friends that truly love and appreciate me. And did I mention I live by the ocean?
I’m not going to lie to you – it hasn’t come with that big salary and all of those benefits (I really wanted the free cable perk from the TV network owned by a cable company!) And it hasn’t been worry-free.
But today, I have purchased an expensive bottle of real champagne and I will toast myself and the life that I created. And the fact that I can go out on Sunday nights if I choose – because I don’t have to worry about the week ahead.
Here’s to life shifting in a holy way. To all of the friends who supported me and loved me through it. To the clients who hired me and kept me in business even through a pandemic!