I wrote this book to chronicle my journey after I was abruptly released from my corporate job of 14 years. As I was writing, I realized that there were several moments that I’m sure many of you can relate to. Having your security blanket ripped out from under you and being thrown into a world of unknowns and uncertainties is extremely unsettling. And it creates universal feelings that most people who lose their jobs will experience.
T.D. Jakes has a DVD series called “Live on Purpose.” In it, he says that God tells us to pray in our passion. Believe in our passion. Believe that we have received and we shall have it. The Bible says that God will give us the desires of our heart. (Ps. 37:4)
Over the past two years, I’ve come to understand that the scripture is not about telling God what we want and Him giving it to us. It’s really about God placing desires within us. God will give us the desire for whatever He has for us. Pause on this thought for a moment and it bears repeating. It’s really about God placing desires within us. God will give us the desire for whatever He has for us.
I hope this book helps you know that you are not alone. Maybe you’ll see yourself in some of my moments. Or maybe you’ll find yourself chuckling either at me or with me. Most of all, I hope you are inspired to know that every one of us has a path to walk. Sometimes that path will take an unexpected turn, but if we just stay with it, we’ll find that eventually it will lead us to green pastures and sunshine.
Be blessed and enjoy reading my journey…
Is This Really My Life????
Yes, This Is Really My Life… Yikes
“We’re Going In A Different Direction.
Blah Blah Blah”
Before I begin sharing my story with you, under advice of very wise counsel, I’m going to give you the cast of characters. There are obviously real people involved in my release and it is not my intent to disparage either the company or any individuals. I believe that these characters are universal, male or female, and can be found in most companies. You may even recognize them in your story. The first person I will introduce you to is Gopher. G.O.P.H.E.R. is a Gutless Obstructionist Pretentious Hateful Evil Runt, also known as the person who walked me to my meeting. The second person is Brutus. B.R.U.T.U.S. is a Backstabbing Ridiculously Underhanded Trifling Ugly Soul, also known as the person who let me go. Now that we have this out of the way, here’s how my story begins.
I grabbed my notebook and headed to my 4:30 p.m. meeting with Gopher. I mentally rehearsed what we would be discussing during our scheduled weekly one-on-one. He had been giving me problems lately. I secretly believed that he suffered from memory loss and a male ego that wouldn’t let him admit it. But I was a trooper and I was confident that he would be gone soon. All I had to do was ride it out. After all, I had been an employee for over 14 years and he had just hit his one-year mark. Brutus knew me and knew Gopher was struggling and as long as she had my back, I knew I could weather this storm. I had learned years ago that in Corporate America you have to have a sponsor; someone who is speaking up on your behalf when you don’t even realize that you need the support. I felt so fortunate to have a sponsor in Brutus. I mean, for me she was nowhere near as good and genuine as my former boss, whom I missed reporting to, but I’d always had a lot of respect for her. And sure, she worked in our out of state office and hadn’t really spent any time with me in the last year and a half. But things were changing. We had been talking more lately and I felt like I finally had her ear. She’d even come to visit about a month ago and saw how well I was doing. She committed to meeting with me weekly. I overlooked the fact that she’d canceled our last three meetings. She was a very busy woman and I knew we would catch up eventually. I was okay dealing with Gopher because I had the support of Brutus. She knew that he blamed me for his shortcomings. Yup, all I had to do was ride it out.
As soon as I got to Gopher’s office, he stood and said that someone was going to use his office so he had reserved a conference room for our meeting. O…K… I thought that was a tad bit strange. I mean, I have an office. Why wouldn’t we meet in my office? I wondered to myself. But I didn’t say anything.
I saw Brutus as we turned into the conference room. My sponsor. The one who I knew had my back. And Brutus had a folder. I’ve seen those folders. Those are the folders that I gave out often. Being an HR Sr. Director, I had led many of the conversations that I quickly realized I was about to have.
When I sat down, Brutus closed the door and Gopher took a seat at the end of the table. Brutus sat close to me, opened the folder, and slid it in front of me. I saw my name. I knew Brutus was talking to me, because I saw her lips moving. I have no idea what she said. Something about going in a different direction. Blah blah blah. Have you ever been in a situation where you literally felt your insides go hot and then cold and then some weird combination of both? Well, my reaction was beyond that. I was in a state of shock. By nature, I’m a crier. I mean, I’m the person who cries during a Hallmark commercial. But I was caught so off guard that my tear ducts were on a delay. And I was thankful. I would never want to cry in front of that heifer (since she obviously wasn’t my sponsor). And certainly not in front of Gopher, who shouldn’t have even been in the room. Although in his condition, what I believed to be the early onset of Alzheimer’s, he wouldn’t remember it. I was very proud of myself. I remember speaking only twice. I said “okay” and “I want to come back after hours to clean out my office.”
As she walked me back to my office to grab my purse and keys, she said something about calling her after I had time to digest what was happening to me. Since the folder contained my unsigned severance agreement, I thought it best to keep my mouth shut. But what I really wanted to say was, “Do you really think I care about the whys of the situation as you’re walking me out of the door? If you weren’t trained by the military, and if I thought I could stay out of jail and still get my severance, I would kick your a** right now. You backstabbing b****.” But my momma didn’t raise no fool and I’m a Christian, so I held it together and remained professional.
In my office, I grabbed only what was necessary. As she waited for me so she could walk me out like the common criminal, that I’m not, she asked if I had a coat. Seriously? Don’t act like you care if I remember my coat. Don’t pretend like you’re concerned about me walking out into the cold November pre-holiday season air. Don’t try and ease your conscious by acting like you’re human. Just shut up talking to me. But I thought about my unsigned severance and Christianity once again and just said my coat was in the car. While she walked a couple of paces behind me, I felt like I was walking the green mile. I saw a couple of people I knew and tried to act normal, although there was nothing normal about this situation.
Walking out the door, I actually told her thank you. Not because I meant it. But because I wanted her to feel awful. I didn’t want to give her any reason to feel justified for basically firing me. And firing me without cause. I’d been in the corporate world long enough to know that politics outweigh performance any day of the week. And I had unfortunately found myself on the losing side of a political game of chess.
Nevertheless, in spite of what had just taken place, something strange happened and this is how I knew I would be alright. When I pushed open the doors to the outside, the sun was shining. And I felt…relief. Peace. I knew I would need to hold onto that moment because losing a job, especially one that you once loved, is like experiencing a death. And I knew I would go through the life cycle of grief. So I tried to burn that moment into my mind. And in the moments when the “Why did this happen to me” song would inevitably play in my head, I would be able to reflect on that feeling of relief and peace.