Sometimes in life everything works well. You career is on track, your home life is on track, and you are happy and healthy. Sometimes things are all off balance making you off balance. Work is hard, family has issues, health is not on track. Sometimes things get so off balance, you feel like you are the edge of a precipice, and not knowing what to do.
2019 was a hard year for me. I started the year struggling with finding joy in my work. My work had become what I never wanted it to be, a chore. Difficult to find joy. Then, my life was turned upside down when my father was diagnosed with cancer. I took the summer to care for him and returned to work with a new outlook on life. Returning was a hard transition. I tried to manage it, but then my home life became out of balance too. My son, who was so well behaved during the entire ordeal, started to act out, have issues at school. I came home exhausted with nothing left to give him or my daughter. Writing, which had always been my favorite hobby, became hard to do. I never had the energy, time, or excitement. I felt a little like I was dead inside.
I knew I wanted a change, but I wasn’t sure how to enact it. I wanted to quit. My husband was encouraging me. He said “You supported me for two years as I perused my passion project. It’s your turn. Find your passion”. We looked at the numbers, we could make it work. I was going to start 2020 free and clear. But at the very last minute, I backed out. Maybe it was the new role they offered, that allowed me to spend part time on work I enjoyed. Maybe it was fear of not finding another job. Maybe it was both. Either way, I was on the verge of making a leap, and then I backed away.
Then March 2020 happened. The world fell apart in spectacular fashion very very quickly. Suddenly, we went from a bull market to a recession. We all moved to remote work almost overnight. And we went from stability to uncertainty in a head spinning manner. Adjusting to four people working and learning from home was a difficult transition. My son had a difficult time coping with his anxiety and emotions. My level headed daughter began melting down every day. And I found it difficult to manage work and my children at the same time, finding myself working late into the night to make up for the time away during the day.
At the end of the month, late in the evening as I tried to wrap up work for the day, I saw the email. A layoff was coming. A quick glance of the calendar saw that I had a random meeting with my manager scheduled for the afternoon the next day. I knew exactly what was coming.
I sat down stunned as the realization hit me. At first, I was afraid. I let the fear set in. The economy is a mess. What if I never find another job? Then, I thought about it more. I was ready to walk away just a few months ago. Why wouldn’t I be ready now? This was my chance. Sure it wasn’t a leap, it was more of a push. But, was that so bad?
I processed my emotions that night, and spent the next day organizing my files and wrapping up work so, when the meeting with my boss occurred I was ready. I was calm when they told me my position was eliminated, and I listened carefully to the details of my severance package. I smiled, was pleasant, and said my good-byes. Afterwards, I was…fine. I was, dare I say, relieved.
Am I still scared? Sure, a little. Will I miss the people? Absolutely! Will I miss the work? Some of it. But I’m also really excited for the next phase. Maybe I’ll go back into finance. Maybe I’ll find a new industry or job that I’m passionate about. Maybe I’ll write that book I’ve always wanted to write. Maybe I’ll finally get my CFP. Maybe I’ll grow this blog and it’s following. Who knows? But what I do know is that once the decision was made it felt like a weight I hadn’t even known I was carrying, was lifted off me. Sometimes you take a leap. Sometimes you need a push. But regardless of how it happened, even in all this craziness for the Coronavirus, I feel a surprising sense of calm and relief. I’m ready for the next phase, whatever that may be.