Thursday, May 21, 2009

A real job

After three months of worrying and wondering and then worrying some more, we hit the wall. This week, each employee was told whether they had a job with this company or not. I was one of the lucky ones. But I was in no mood to celebrate as I watched five hundred co-workers pack their personal belongings, dash off a final farewell and stumble numbly to their cars. It is unlike anything I've ever experienced. The company handled this with it's trademark compassion and generosity. But these are friends and they have families and well, it's just been heartbreaking to watch.

The request landed in my inbox yesterday an hour and a half before the meeting to discuss my fate was to begin. If you had walked into my office during those 90 minutes, you would have thought I was ill. Pale (no change there I suppose), sweating, shaking and nauseous, I tried to distract myself from the impending reality. I thought 10 years and a good performance record would offer me some protection. But my bubble burst when co-workers with 20, 25 and 30 years of service were let go. I honestly had no idea whether I would make the cut. Lemme tell you, that was a desperately helpless feeling that turns my stomach yet again as I type this.

Once upon a time, my career defined me. It made me feel successful and important and fulfilled. And then my daughter got sick so I took 7 months off of work to care for her. Those are minutes that I wouldn't trade for anything but they were not without consequences. My career has been aimless and faltering ever since as I've bounced from project to project without the security of a permanent job. So as this meeting approached, my prayer was simple:

Lord, thank you that you are faithful to provide for my family. Whether it is with this company or another, would you lead me to a job where I can once again contribute and find fulfillment? A real job that challenges me, that's all I ask. Whatever I am about to hear, help me to respond with grace and wisdom. May your will be done. Amen.

So when I learned that my new job would take me back to where I was 8 years ago, I was surprisingly calm. A real job! A job that I was good at and can be again. A job that will allow me to contribute and find fulfillment. My prayers were answered. And as I pause to reflect, I realize that God has been preparing me for this. Lillian's illness; an aimless return to the workforce; tearful co-worker's goodbyes. All of these brought the perspective I needed to handle the news with a grateful heart. I can't wait to embark on yet another new chapter in my life. And though it's harder to see through the tears, I know God has a plan for the other families impacted by these layoffs. I will be praying for them as their new chapters unfold as well.


Anonymous May 21, 2009 at 8:04 PM  

Wow, Lori, you continue to amaze me. You are so articulate and expressive with your perspective. I again am astounded and proud of you. I, too, have been hoping and praying for you to find that career fulfillment that you haven't had for a while and I'm sure that you will find it, it's just so nice that you don't have to start over with a new company to do it!!! ---Love, Mom

Megan May 21, 2009 at 8:25 PM  

A great post all around. Congrats on making the cut and on getting some direction.

Heather May 22, 2009 at 12:49 AM  

I'm so so glad this is how things turned out for you.

LCM May 22, 2009 at 6:39 AM  

I am so glad you still have a job. Taking that time off for Lillian was something you had to do and I am glad they respected that. Good luck with your new duties.

Jennifer May 22, 2009 at 7:23 AM  

I'm praising Him with you!!! He shines in you...even through a computer screen!
Love you, friend!

Mindy May 22, 2009 at 9:06 AM  

It is very impressive to go into a meeting like that with such grace and faith. Congratulations on the news and hang in there through the tough times ahead with your colleagues. I'm sure they are grateful for your support!

sara lou and stew May 22, 2009 at 12:00 PM  

Hi, Lori-

Okay, I admit it. I am a lurker. I have followed your blogs since they started. I never comment, but today, I feel moved to say something.

First, let me say, that I was not one of the lucky ones. Not on the surface anyway. I was laid off. And, I was surprised and saddened by that.

But, after having a few days to think about it, and to mull over how to spend that nice severance check (hellloooo Pruis) I feel excited for the new opportunity it brings.

And, I feel grateful. Grateful because my job brought me into contact with so many awesome people. There are a few folks I have encountered over my last six years that I really admired. Who really inspired me, and you were one of them.

As a women what can be a bit of a male dominated club, I was and am so grateful that you came across my path. Your leadership style is something I learned so much from watching. It helped me to see my own potential and motivates me still to this day. I so much enjoyed working in your team.

I doubt you even realize the impact you had on our team at the time, but everyone one of us working under you benefitted. We appreciated you a lot and remarked about it to one another, although I don't know that any of us ever got around to saying it to you.

So, a much belated thank you, from an employee you may not even remember. As you embark on your new role I wish you all the best. I am so glad that you are still there to make a difference to a whole new set of lives.

Sara Scott-Curran.

Lori May 22, 2009 at 9:56 PM  

Sara, thank you doesn't express how much I appreciate your kind words. After a couple of years of project work, I'm heading back into a management role and your comment was the perfect confidence boost I needed. Thank you so much!

I was so sorry to hear that you were laid off. But I firmly believe that this will be one step in a plan that will bless your socks off. (Get it, socks? Gotta remember the equipment days.) Your move to Amsterdam was a risk that paid off in ways you probably never imagined at the time. I think the same will happen with this move. Your creativity, intelligence and hard work are skills any employer would be lucky to have.

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