After nearly three extremely fun, often stressful, always rewarding years of walking the proverbial work/motherhood tightrope, I find myself in need of a new circus.
On Monday, I was let go from my consulting position in favor of a big time agency. The good news? The start-up I started at three years ago is no longer a start-up. They are a full fledged, successful and growing company on the precipice of owning their space outright with an excellent product and all the right pieces in place for explosive growth again this year. The bad news? Understanding why the big time firm is the right move for the company doesn’t make the reality of my not being there to participate in this exciting time feel any better.
I’m not bitter or angry or grudge-holding, really, although I move through some of those phases each day. I’m more sad and confused and unmoored. This perfect situation had fallen in my lap, challenged my skill set, afforded me growth and allowed me to see that yes, I did have something to offer, I could work and mother, and I could contribute financially to our family in ways that have been extremely beneficial the last three years. To say I’m a little lost would be fair; in mourning, more accurate.
I’m mourning the paycheck. The job. The person that I was four mornings a week. I’m mourning the relationships I had with a group of extremely intelligent, dedicated and quirky folks I now won’t see every day. And I’m nursing the wounds of rejection.
The fact of the matter is I’ve always left jobs on my own terms. First job, hated to leave but there was no upward opportunity for me. My next job was filled with wonderful people and mentors and interesting projects, but an economic downturn in the communications space after 9/11 whittled our agency staff to the point where work wasn’t as much fun, our team was faced with challenging circumstances and the bureaucracy finally chipped the positives away and I chose to move on. Leaving the third job was for my babes, knowing that growing a fledgling bureau would take more commitment than I was willing to give at that time and I knew I was leaving it in good hands.
When you hire someone, it’s about their resume, of course, but it’s also about whether they have “it.” Are they the right fit for the team? Do you gel with their personality? Do you see potential and growth? You can overlook a possible gap in skill set for the person because they just have the right “it” for your company. I understand (and truly believe, these folks don’t make a habit of sugar coating) this was not a performance based parting, but it’s still hard to be on the receiving end of a lay off and not feel it’s personal. If anything, saying it’s all about the paper facts (budget or position elimination or whatever) almost smarts more because they’ve taken your “it” out of the equation — or determined “it’s” not enough to make up for the rest of it.
Or that’s what it feels like today. Tomorrow? I’ll keep you posted.
So, I’m going to lick my wounds. I’m indulging in a little self-pity. I’ll spend May shepherding my children through the end of the school year craziness and do some hard thinking about what I want to do next. And I’ll be writing. Expect to see me here more (shocker, I know!). After all, it was exploring my thoughts and life through this blog that contributed to my hire when a friend read something I’d written and later told me, “you know, if you’re thinking about dipping your toe in the water, my husband’s company could use some PR help…”
I will say this, my kids make it really hard to be sad for too long. Thanks to them, I have a little perspective on set-backs vs. priorities. Not to mention the snuggling under the covers reading Harry Potter with the seven year old Monday night helped restore a little balance in my thinking.
The scales might have tipped a bit for now, but I know that the odds are still in my favor.