“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.”
― Mary Anne Radmacher
Recently I heard from four separate friends who do not know each other that they got laid off from their jobs. All of the friends are pretty senior in their careers, so hefty paychecks with good benefits. One woman, who was a Director at a major fashion company had been at her post for over ten years. When they handed her the "pink slip", she confessed to me she was shocked.
My other friend told me on the day I was shoving the last of my belongings into the moving pod frantically. I felt my own stomach get knots as if it were me who was in the situation. She is one of the kindest, gentlest woman I know. Just the other day, another friend reached out to me to see if I had any contacts in the industry... her own friend had just lost her job. When someone loses a job, it's unsettling. It is hard to know what is next, what do and how to possibly climb out of what seems like a dark hole. Even more, it can seem difficult to be thankful at a time like this.
I know. I have been there. I lost my job at a major fashion house in 2008 during the financial collapse through no fault of my own, other than I was just another person the company needed to cut in order to save themselves.
Even though I knew it was not my fault, it was hard not to question all my actions, my interactions, my work - everything. To someone who has never lost their job, it can be hard to explain. The day after I lost my job, I had no routine, no schedule and no structure. Despite the fact I got a hefty severance package, I felt like crap for lack of a better word. It felt like I was sitting in a dark room and I couldn't find the light switch.
Sometimes life can feel like that - whether we lose a job, lose a relationship, lose a loved one, or - fill in the blank. From that situation, I did learn how to change the way I looked at my situation. Instead of being angry at the company and at the situation, eventually I stopped blaming myself and hit the ground running to look for other opportunities. In that time, I focused on fitness and exercise. I took long walks in the park, listened to uplifting podcasts. I met people I otherwise never would have met or interacted with. Instead of coming from a place of fear and worry, I decided to become curious and see where this new adventure would lead.
Eventually I found another corporate job in the same industry making way more money than I did before with even better benefits. Instead of a lateral move, it was a move upward for my career. But before any of that would happen, I had to let go of the paralyzed fear of what would happen next and whether or not I was good enough. I had bills and costs of living just like everyone else. My life was not perfect, so I did have to figure things out.
As I look back, I can say focus on the things that you HAVE and not the position/ salary/ lifestyle you HAD. Focus on your health, your family, your kids and your friends. Look to all that is going right in your life and trust that everything happens for a reason. Chances are, you probably still have a lot to be thankful for. And, if you are not the person who has faced a recent loss, remember to that time when you did lose something and needed someone to help you out and lift you up. Be that person to another in their time of uncertainty. That is how we can pay it forward this Thanksgiving. Truly understand what it means to Give Thanks.
with loving gratitude