Friday, April 15, 2011

I should panic now. (...98 days)

I was laid off yesterday from a job I'd been at for over ten years.  Called in, sat down, told the bad news, and that was that.  I should panic now.  I should sob and scream and be flooded with anxiety, anger, shock, and sadness.  But I'm not feeling any of these things yet.  Instead, I feel like how I look in the picture above.  This is a pre-Ironman race photo that my Dad took in 2005 and I think it captures my state of mind today:  nervous and unsure but ready for a monster challenge.

I should feel unnerved for all of the following reasons:
1)  In 98 days I'll stop receiving severance pay.
2)  I have a mortgage.
3)  The things I enjoy might become unaffordable: trips, classes, home improvement, triathlon racing, buying delicious fancy cheeses and wine, beautiful fabrics to sew with, indulgent dinners out, my gym membership...
4)  My familiar routine is going to change dramatically.
5)  I have to look for a job.  I have no idea what I want to do next and none of my passions or talents scream "moneymaker." (My mind is awhirl with all the self-exploratory reading ahead...Myers Briggs, the Parachute book, Dan Pink's "Drive," "Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow," and so many others...) 
6)  I'm disposable.  At times I felt important at my job, but I'm not needed anymore.  It doesn't make me feel better that I'm one of many who've been let go, that the budget has shrunk, or that I've been unhappy there for a very very long time.

But I'm sort of excited and feeling kind of lucky because:
1)  Being laid off means I have severance while I figure out the next step.
2)  I have renters who pay my mortgage.  I don't have mouths to feed.  I like living frugally.
3)  There's more time to enjoy my hobbies and projects...albeit affordably.
4)  My old routine made me feel bad: alive on the weekends, a drone during the week.  No longer!
5)  This is a chance to find work that invigorates me.  I can test out my interests and explore my passions.

I'm not all rose-colored glasses and ignorance is bliss.  I'm reasonably aware that this will be a terrifying, challenging, uncomfortably self-questioning, possibly shame-inducing situation.  The next 98 days will be monstrously tough for sure.  Sometimes.  But I'm not panicky yet.

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