I started a blog a few years ago, after I found myself suddenly laid off from a nice job I had for 10 years, at a large St. Louis law firm. I was blind-sided by this, and unprepared for a job search. I was in shock for the longest time, but then got angry and sad and eventually quite depressed. It was a lot to go through. I was over 40, a single home-owner and wanted to keep my house and car that I was paying on.
So I searched. Searched for jobs, searched for information, searched for tips and tricks, and comfort. Searched for any avenue that would give me answers, hope and even the slightest bit of peace. And I soul-searched.
I went to every marketing get-together that had to do with job hunting, from workshops to regular seminars and meet-up groups. I was desperate to get my life back in order.
What is really funny now, years later, is that in 2008, the year before my layoff, I was miserable with my job! So miserable that I literally woke up each morning wishing I hadn’t. I was wishing for God to take my life from me, as I couldn’t stand the misery any more.
My life was terribly unbalanced. I had put almost all my energy into that job. At home, I barely got things done. Doing the minimum: laundry, dishes and getting the garbage out. Cleaning the bathroom every so many weeks when I couldn’t stand it any longer. Friday nights I was so exhausted I frequently fell asleep on the couch by 7 o’clock. Weekends were for more sleep, to make up for all the sleepless hours that my anxiety kept me up from. That was it. I barely had a social life. I didn’t have the energy.
At work, I had taken a newly created position in a different department. It had sounded like a golden opportunity. I was an IT person performing a newly created IT job in the Accounting department, supporting Accounting applications that I did not know at all. I reported to the CFO. What could possibly go wrong?
The position was created due to office politics and boy did it get political. I don’t even want to go into the details as I don’t want to relive it at all, but that is in huge part that reason for my misery. This new position began in mid-2006. By early 2008 I had had enough.
So, in desperation, I reached out to a counselor friend who lives in California and she invited me out. Out I went! In July of 2008. I had not only a very nice and relaxing time, but it was really a spiritual awakening for me.
The rest of the year seemed to calm down, and I hung in there. The holidays came and went, and a new year began (2009). In January 2009, my position changed again and I was learning some new things and it seemed promising … until out of the blue … my layoff occurred. It was mid-March.
Panic. Super-dooper anxiety. Craziness. But …. I gave it time. And I had hope. (What is there, if there is no hope?)
In August 2009, at a seminar for professional unemployed folks, I met my husband! I sure didn’t see it either upon first meeting. I also met some new friends there.
In October 2009, I was contacted by our local CBS news station for an upcoming segment they were doing on the difficulties of finding a job for women over 40, and my interview was on TV at the 10pm broadcast! I was picked because someone I had met at one of the networking functions I attended recommended me. Wow. That was a first. And pretty exciting!
Then in December 2009, after going on to Dr. Oz’s website to check something I had seen on his program earlier that day, and then answering some questions on a particular subject (sleep apnea) on one of his webpages, the producers contacted me. It turned out they had me and my fiancé on their show! Due to the show, we both have been checked for, and both have, sleep apnea, and now we both have very nice C-PAP units to help us sleep at night! The show aired in February 2010.
But wait! There’s more!
My future husband and I (who I used to call my “sleep alligator”, as a pun for his sleep apnea) flew to New York, taped the Dr. Oz show and flew home a few days later. Then went to the Christmas party held at that weekly seminar place we met at (called The Go! Network). At that party, there were some reporters and photographers from our local newspaper, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, there to do a story on this fantastic venue. One of the photographers was taking our picture from across the room unbeknownst to us and came over to get our consent to publish it. She found out we had met there, and were now engaged. Guess what happened? They published a side-story about us next to their main story about The Go! Network! And it was published on 01/01/2010, on the FRONT PAGE of the BUSINESS section! OMG!
That was amazing to me. I still smile ear to ear over that. A lot of people read the paper here, and especially the Business section. Old friends contacted us after reading that article. My husband’s brother’s boss, an old friend I used to baby-sit for in the ’80s, and others , and it was wonderful.
At this point we had not set a wedding date, as we were both still unemployed. But good things were coming our way. Mr fiancé got a job a few hours away so he had to move. I stayed at my home still looking for work here, and also in his new city. Nothing was happening for me.
By April of 2010, we set a date. The wedding would take place on 10/10/2010, a Sunday. I liked the date, and I just have a thing for numbers, and cool dates, so that was it!
I spent the new few months looking for work and also planning my wedding down to every last detail. And setting up a wedding website. Loving every minute of it.
Got married unemployed (“unemployed and fabulous” as one friend said), had a stay-cation honeymoon here at the St. Louis homestead, then hubby traveled back to his city for work, and they let him go on Monday morning. Sounds terrible, and it a way it was, but it was truly a blessing in disguise. I did not like the city he was working in. To me it was the equivalent of Mayberry, and we were the outsiders. And I didn’t want to sell my house for that. So, no more issues with what to do! We were staying in St. Louis where both of our families are and where we were raised. Amen.
In early 2011 I secured a contract job and hubby found part-time work at the Anheuser-Busch brewery that frequently needed more hours and the pay was good. So things were better.
Also in early 2011, NPR (National Public Radio) did a story following six folks in the St. Louis area who were looking for work. The story line was “The Road Back To Work”. We were chosen for that too. This was all on radio and not too many segments aired over the year, but it was still cool, nonetheless.
Eventually we both left the jobs we started with in 2011, had at least one in-between that and where we are now, but now … both of us are full-time permanent employees at good companies and are both doing quite well at them! I just got a promotion too!
I couldn’t be happier. This is a dream. Is it perfect? No! But perfect for us – Yes. Hubby has a 2-hour daily commute with a job that requires a lot of O.T., and he is salaried. But he is employed, full-time and permanent. And he loves his job! So it is a very good thing.
My job … I started as a Contractor for 6 months. But then I was hired right after the 6 months and it’s only gone up from there.
I write all of this, baring my soul to you dear readers, to give you hope and see an example of an ordinary women with a very ordinary life have miracles happen to her. And it can happen to YOU TOO! I am no different than any of you reading this.
Was there any special tricks for all these good things to come pouring into my life? Well, I would like to think so. I am a strong believer in a higher power that I choose to call God. I strongly believe in prayer to God, and I also believe in being grateful for the things I do have. In fact I think this is so important that I believe when we are in a state of gratitude, we are as close to God as we can humanly get.
Here are some things that helped me when I soul-searched:
- Dr. Wayne Dyer (watching his programs on my local PBS station).
- The Secret (movie and book)
- Joel Osteen (awesome pastor on television).
- A journal dedicated to things I was grateful for which I wrote in each day.
- The Go! Network (the former seminar I met my hubby at, in St. Louis).
- Searching the Internet on various spiritual subjects.
- The Meditation Garden in Encinitas, CA.
- My cat Pandora (she just makes me happy all the time).
I want to leave you with great encouragement that no matter where you are at in life, things will get better. Just believe it! And keep believing it. Get yourself in a state of gratitude – doing whatever it takes (well, legally). Then count all your blessings.
Take care and know you are loved, friends. As you are!!