When my boss scheduled a meeting with me, I thought nothing of it. I had recently requested a raise and assumed we were meeting to talk about it. So, come meeting time, I joyfully walked into his office with a smile on my face.
That’s when he blindsided me.
“Do you really think you can get someone to pay you this much?” he asked, referring to the extremely reasonable raise I had requested.
“Absolutely.” I declared, confidently. After all, I had done my research, I knew that I was being paid well below what my peers were and the raise would just barely bring me up to a competitive level.
“Well, we can’t do that. Effective immediately, we’re going to have to let you go.” He continued speaking, talking about how my role had changed and I no longer fit… blah, blah, blah.
But I was no longer listening, I couldn’t.
I was devastated and inwardly panicking. How am I going to feed my son? We just put in a bid on a house, what are we going to do now? How am I going to find another job?
I felt as if I’d been punched in the gut. I had never been fired before. Never.
Outwardly, I was calm, I called my boyfriend, the realtor, and went around the office to say good-bye to everyone. I didn’t even cry on the way home, instead, I called my girlfriends and ranted. Of course, I cried later. A lot.
I spent the next few days stuffing my face, filing for unemployment, updating my resume, frantically emailing for references, and calling in numerous favors. I started to become upset with myself for losing the job. I couldn’t let that happen. I couldn’t let this job derail my quest for unwavering confidence.
I had to remind myself that I hated that job. I hated almost every second of it. The environment was unhealthy and stressful. The former family-friendly company, who appreciated the struggle of a single mother, that I had hired on with no longer allowed me to bring my son to work. I had started to have mini-panic attacks every time I had to call in sick, late, or leave early due to a family emergency. I was gone from 7:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., every day.
I felt as if my talents weren’t being properly utilized and I often felt belittled. For the past few months, I had cried the whole way home, every day, because I hated that job so much. A good friend told me that I had fallen victim to “golden handcuffs.” I hated my job, but was held prisoner to it by the security it offered.
A beautiful soul reached out to me and gave me a free hour of coaching. She asked me about my talents and goals. Through our discussion, my new direction became apparent.
So I decided to embrace freedom.
Yes, I was embarking on another job hunt and now my future was uncertain, but this also gave me time to do what I always wanted to do: build my own business and spend time with my family.
In between filling out applications and spending time with my son, I started to revisit my mentor Leonie Dawson’s website and biz building tools. I was inspired again and, eventually, Bloom Your Biz was born. Though I didn’t launch the business until October, 2015.
Finally, I have a career that not only pays me double the rate that I had asked my former boss for, but now I can make my own schedule and I never have to miss my son’s events again. Since being fired, I’ve lost over 15lbs, reconnected with my son, boyfriend, and a multitude of friends. I’ve started teaching and practicing yoga regularly again, as well as revisiting some of my other hobbies and interests. I’ve even decided to go back to school and finally pursue that PhD that seemed so unobtainable a year ago.
I haven’t been this happy in a long time. I didn’t realize how badly that job had been affecting other aspects of my life.
The quote attributed to Ellen Goodman has never been more relevant to me than right now.
“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.”
I don’t want to be that version of normal. Ever. Again.
So I ask you this, dear readers, fellow entrepreneurs, artists, and lovers of life, is your current job status truly making you happy?
If not, are you ready to branch out into your own business and start living your life the way you want to?
Do you want to be Ellen Goodman’s version of normal or are you ready to break free?