For years I had dreamed of working for myself but I was too chicken to give it a try. My hubby was the first of us to venture to the world of the self employed. I was the one with the great benefits and steady salary and I wasn’t willing to risk them.
Although I envied his freedom and his chance to make something of his own, the thought of not knowing how much I would bring home each month, let alone both of us not knowing, terrified me so I toiled away at my university job. Then things changed at the university and the dream of being self employed started to rise to the surface again.
I got a crappy boss and no longer loved my job. I hated to going to work. As miserable as I was, I still could not get myself to take that leap into the world of not having a steady pay cheque.
Then IT happened, I was laid off. I was not surprised. I thought it might happen and had been looking for another job. But it was still a HUGE blow to my ego. Even though I thought the university was going downhill it was a blow to have my position eliminated.
When I told my hubby I had been laid off, he reminded me of something. He said, “Great! You’ve been wanting to leave and start something else and now you can, you got a package, right?”
Thoughts of all the times I complained about my job in the last year, joking about welcoming a “package” and going off on my own swirled in my head.
What followed over the next few weeks was a lot of thinking and talking to good friends and my hubby. The experience made me realize how much support I have from my friends and family and led to an awakening. Yes, I had wanted to leave but, as I’ve mentioned, I’d always been too chicken. My friends and family kept telling me how this was a good thing. No more crappy job and crappy boss. I had time to think and decide what I wanted to do without having to worry about money for at least a few months.
After nursing my bruised ego for a while, I started to embrace being laid off. Was it not, in fact, what I had wanted deep down? Yes, it was and now I had no excuses to be a chicken anymore!
I won’t bore you with details but it has been two years since I was laid off. It hasn’t been easy, but I took the plunge and am officially self-employed. I started one business and failed but picked myself right back up again.
I have found myself, professionally speaking. I have my blog, I have my writing and I have my passion of working in social media. A passion I didn’t know I had until I was laid off.
It hasn’t been an easy road, it hasn’t all been flowers and balloons, and I’m certainly not making anywhere near the salary that I did when I worked at the university. But you know what? I’ve learned that I can live with that.
I’m happier. I’m doing what I love. I have the flexibility to pick up my daughter every day from school, something I didn’t have the option of doing before. So what if I make less money? We spend less (most of the time), and I’m still working away and building my business. If times get rough, I can take on contract work to supplement my income.
If you had asked me 10 years ago, or 5 years ago or even 3 years ago if I would have taken that plunge, I would have said, “no bloody way.” Now here I am. I work freaking long hours but I’m happy, the happiest I’ve been in a long time. I know I’ll get to where I want to be by continuing to work at it. The story is not done by a long shot and I’m having fun writing it as I go along.
Sometimes being laid off isn’t such a bad thing. Something being laid off can help you find the passion for life and for work that you didn’t even know was missing.