Twenty-four years ago, in September I started a promising career at a company that I was certain to one day retire from. I believed so deeply in this company’s mission that for 23 years I sacrificed holidays and vacations with my family, juggled the task of raising children while maintaining a demanding career, and forwent so many personal self-care needs for myself. Like most busy moms, I always put myself last, behind work and then behind family. And for many years these sacrifices yielded promotions and invitations to executive-level perks. At the time, it all seemed worthwhile.
After 22 years of sometimes bitter, and sometimes sweet memories at this company my direct supervisor, close friend, and mentor passed away unexpectedly. This was the beginning of a 12-month grief avalanche that I wasn't sure I could survive. Soon after my direct supervisor's passing, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. In the months that followed, I did my absolute best to be there for my mom when she struggled with doctor visits, treatments, and medications, but sadly with little support or empathy from my employer.
And after 23 years, on this day, November 3rd, 2021, I was unexpectedly let go from my job as a result of a questionable and petty company PTO rule violation. While this cut was deep, I had no clue just how deeply severed this would make me feel inside. What hurt the most was the loss of many long-time friends that I had gained through my employment over the years, lack of self-identity, and a complete change in my overall vision of my life moving forward.
The silver lining, however, was finally having time to consciously be there for my loved ones. More than ever, my mom needed me, and my newfound freedom proved to be a blessing when she lost my stepdad to COVID. This tragedy took place just three months after I had been offered the option of a significant demotion or the opportunity to seek other employment, all the while my mother was dying of cancer and chemo herself. Fortunately, my newfound freedom also afforded me the opportunity to spend some much-needed quality time with my mom before cancer began to limit her mobility. But the final blow came five months later when she lost her battle with cancer.
After all of this, I wouldn't say that I am a victim or a survivor. I would say that God had a bigger plan than mine. And today I thrive because of it!
After some time to reflect and consider my options, I decided to start my own business. Why would I want to join another corporate structure where value in employees is short-lived and fleeting? I wanted control of my life, and that included the direction of my career. The business is small yet demanding. I help other businesses grow by marketing their services and products; something I am good at. And refreshingly, I am appreciated and valued by my clients. After only one year I find myself in a better position than I was any of 23 years prior; both financially and emotionally! It still hurts to look back at the events in my life over the last year, but it is also so very rewarding to look ahead and see my vision and my dreams unfold before me.