A Year Ago Today

June 15, 2010

in career, life changes, working, writing

At 9:30 a.m. on this day last year, I was sitting in an office I had grown to hate in suburban Philadelphia. This morning, I was making arrangements to meet up with another expat writer for coffee and some work on the laptop in downtown Sydney. 

Today marks a year since I got laid off (which means it’s almost the year anniversary of this blog). I will never forget that Tuesday–the tap on the shoulder from my boss just before 10 a.m. as she uttered the words, “You need to come with me.”

Walking down the hallway to the little conference room was like going to the corporate death gallows. I knew what they were going to do to me, and my hands were shaking. As I walked through the door and faced my editorial manager, a sheepish grin crept across my face, probably out of nervousness. She said, “Lauren. Always with a smile, even now.”

I have not faced everything in my life with a smile. In fact, things that occur in the daily grind can turn my mood upside down, and I am still working through things that happened long ago.

But when it came to joining the ranks of Americans who lost their jobs in this economic downturn, I was committed to turning it into something positive. A full 365 days later, I can confidently say that I have.

I started working for myself as a writer and editor, effectively telling the corporate culture that expelled me that I didn’t need it to make a living and thrive in my field. This change allowed me to move to the other side of the world, where I’ve been seeing and doing things I never imagined and making a whole new life for myself on my own. 

The limbo period between getting laid off and starting to work for myself and plan for Australia allowed me time to work through some issues and things that had happened. And let’s not underestimate the fact that as of 12 months ago, I no longer have to get up at 7:30 a.m. to get to work. Everyday that I peep open an eye and glimpse a hand at the 9 of my clock, I relish that fact.

I don’t think it’s accurate to say that the “life that broke” is now mended. Rather, its fractures and wounds formed sutures that have allowed it to grow into something new.

11 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. KT

    "that which doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger."

    My law firm just laid off 4 people a few weeks ago (one of them being a paralegal). It was the closest to lay-off reality that I got to. And while I don't like working at my firm anymore, I am definitely thankful to still have a job…..for now. I count my blessings every day.

    I'm so glad you turned your lay off into something better – something that you WANTED it to be. You seem happier for it and I know that I'm happy you're living a life you've always wanted to.

    I'll meet you in Aussie soon! 🙂


  2. Jill

    Your story is inspiring!
    My roommate got laid off her teaching job a month ago :/
    I don't like my job but it's hard to find anything else.

  3. andrea

    Very inspiring indeed! I luckily have not looked into the face of lay offs yet, but I can't stand my job. I'm giving myself a couple more months (after my three week vacation to Europe in September) do decide what my next step is. I'm just glad to see that there ARE options.

  4. matthew d kyhnn

    Good on you for turning the negative into a positive. It's great to see how things change – to see yourself one year out from that turning point of a day.

    I'd take traveling, writing, and working odd jobs over an office any day.

  5. Donna @ NappyDaze

    Wow this is so inspiring! I have the (limited) opportunity to start pursuing some of my dreams (in amongst being a wife and mother) but am so scared to take a big plunge. Its scary and seems like so much hard work for no guaranteed victory. I guess that is the wrong attitude though, right? Feel the fear and do it anyway should be more the motto I sing along too 🙂

    Congratulations on your anniversary of finding freedom, i hope the next year brings even more wonder to your world xx

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