Friday, August 19, 2011

A New Beginning

Today was my last day at my “day job.” Like many who work in high tech, I was laid off. Actually, I was laid off twice: the first time was 8 years ago; I panicked, rushed into a job that wasn't right for me, and, and after a two-year stint in hell, came back to work for this one. I’ve been there this time for 6 years. I would have stayed, probably, for as long as they wanted me, just because that’s how I am. I’m easily bored with day-to-day activities, but at heart I’m a long-term gal.

I thought being laid off for the second time would be easier, but I was wrong. That sense of shame at losing one’s job runs deep in those of us who are optimistic romantics, who believe that if you work hard, life will treat you fairly and reward you accordingly.

This afternoon, I had a chance to review the projects I developed, pioneered, or worked on over the last 6 years as I gathered files together for my portfolio. I quickly realized two things: 1) I do some damned fine work; and 2) they were idiots to let me go.

I think it’s easy to forget our accomplishments, especially when it seems like no one sees or appreciates them. Often even we don’t recognize their value like we should. Perhaps our accomplishments, taken one at a time and spread out over months or years or decades, seem small or simple or incidental and routine, so they are easily forgotten, easily overlooked.  When we pull them all together, though, those dull scraps suddenly become a colorful patchwork of value, a tangible reminder that we were (are) here in the world, engaged in living and working, even if no one--including ourselves--notices much.

Have you looked back over your accomplishments lately? Do you track your projects? keep a written or visual log or diary of your accomplishments? Even if you don’t, try flipping back through the photos you've taken of your work, the blog posts you've written describing it, the emails you sent announcing with pride and relief that you finally finished that project.

What do you see? What does the quilt of accomplishments that you’ve created over the last few months months or years or decades look like? Draw that quilt around yourself whenever you need a little psychic “hug.” And don’t forget to show it off; it never hurts to make sure others see and appreciate the value you offer.

As for me, I'm at the edge of the abyss, peering into the darkness to try to see where the path heads next. I'm going to go slowly so I don't trip over anything. I may need to stop and feel my way along frequently, and I'll probably rest often. And I'll carry my quilt along with me as a reminder that I'm capable of some damned fine work.

9 comments:

ANNA said...

so sorry to hear your news but I sympathise - i have been laid off 6 times in the last 12 years!! each new job I have thought 'I will be here until it's time to retire' and each time have felt shame for thinking that! I and no doubt you have gained valuable life experience at each post. Hopefully the next will be not only the best but the long term one. I have been in my current job for just under a year and feel very secure at the moment - in a growth industry for once. Best of luck for the future

yarngoddess said...

Pooh, I hate when that happens... I am fortunate in my current job, however crazy it is at times, I feel confident I will be there till I retire and if I wanted to stay I probably would be welcomed with open arms.
I'm glad you're taking it slow in your search this time and going with confidence. I'm sure you will find a better situation with this approach.
Keep quilting. Love the post about the wavy rose petals. Thanks for that.
:Diane

mageez said...

I can completely relate. What made me feel better was when i went back to clean out my desk and say goodbye to everyone was that they had laid off the whole entire IT dept including my supervisor. it wasn't just me. Have been at my new job 8 months and can see the end coming. Maybe it's time to change my field.
good luck. It's not just you.
maggie

Robin said...

Love the quilt analogy. It is so true. I was laid off many years ago and decided to go it on my own and contract out my experience. Sometimes I'm real busy, other times no so. But I am a calmer, more confident person from it. However, I do surprise people when I tell them what else I do, when I pull the quilt tightly around me. It truly is life-saving.

You will do well. You have in the past and will continue. Best thoughts to you!

Martha said...

Linda, I read with interest and sympathy about your being laid off. You can't help but feel rejected when this happens, but you are an artist and have creative skills that will help you.
After being married 57 years and caring for my Parkinson's husband the last 10, his death last month seemed to parallel your thoughts of being laid off. I will have to carve a new identity for myself as a single person instead of half a pair. But our wonderful art quilting activities are the perfect way of continuing to express ourselves and contributing to life. I wish you success and know you will again "do some damned fine work"!

Yes Mam! Fiber Art said...

Linda, I can truly relate. I was laid off a year ago. For the first 3 months I was devastated, but then I began to take advantage of my time for quilting, making friends and just enjoying myself. Unfortunately, my specialized background and age have kept me from getting a full time job, but I'm going with the flow and know things will work out the way they're supposed to. I'm sure the same is true for you too. Thanks for sharing.

Michele/TextileTraveler said...

Thank you all for sharing your stories. I think having a community to help us through these times is truly a gift!

Btw, it's Michele, not Linda--not that y'all would know that, since I've never had my name on the blog. I added it now :-)

sweetypie said...

dear michele, so sorry about your job, as one door closes another opens, go look for that door, love from tina rose from sweetypie50.

The Textile Library said...

After being married 57 years and caring for my Parkinson's husband the last 10, his death last month seemed to parallel your thoughts of being laid off. I will have to carve a new identity for myself as a single person instead of half a pair.