Three months ago, I was unceremoniously and without warning laid off from the job I loved at Jones Day (to be fair, it wasn’t personal; they laid off 64 other IT professionals the same day). There is no national support group for such life events, so once the initial shock wore off, I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and figure out what I was going to do with the next chapter of my life. To be honest, I spent the first six weeks in a deep fog of depression, occasionally getting out of bed long enough to go buy groceries or participate in the webinars offered by Right Management, a career transitioning service provided as part of the severance package.
Kübler-Ross provided me with an intellectual distraction; I’d think “OK, I must be going through the anger stage now.” You know Kübler-Ross, don’t you? The five stages of grief? Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance? Yeah, well, it turns out, the fives stages are applicable for a variety of life events. And it’s not too far a stretch to say I was in the grieving process. It was a death, of sorts, to lose a job, lose friends, lose income, lose seniority, lose respect. I think I skipped over the bargaining stage, and I probably spent way too long in the depression stage, but here I am, three months on, firmly planted in Acceptance.
You know what? It’s a good place to be. I’m considering things I never considered before, including starting my own business or buying a franchise. I’ve never thought of myself as the entrepreneurial type, and yet, it sounds really appealing at the moment. I’m also considering things I had already thought about prior to being laid off: getting an MBA, getting another job in training and instructional design, or getting a master’s degree in instructional design. I’ve also gotten a peek into what it’s like to work from home, thanks to a former Jones Day colleague who left the firm a number of years ago to join an online learning provider in Florida. He contacted me a little over a week ago to ask if I’d like to do some contract work from home, reviewing online modules prior to publication on their site. I’m really enjoying working from home, even if the pay for this particular gig is abysmal. I get to wear whatever I want, I have a window office, and Zoey (the amazing wonder dog, or Z-dawg, as I sometimes call her) is rarely three feet away from me. It’s a comfort to feel her head resting on my feet under the desk.
I’m also considering writing. Writing a book? Maybe. Writing short, anecdotal stories? Maybe. Writing poetry? Definitely. Not sure yet, but I thought beginning with a blog might be a good start. I’ve kept a paper journal for 35+ years, but I see this as an extension of that. I’m currently reading “The $100 Startup,” and one of the pieces of advice the author gives is that with any endeavor, you should just start somewhere and not worry about how perfect it is or if you have all of the questions answered yet – just start…