Be careful what you wish for. We’ve all heard it, and most of us can probably point out numerous occasions where this well polished adage proved true. After a very tumultuous (hey, I’m a writer, I like my descriptive words) end to 2014, I had considered my obstacle strewn path fairly safe to proceed forward. Last week, a big, ol’ giant boulder plummeted right smack in front of me. The stomach dropping words of “workforce reduction” left me choking in the dust.
Eighteen years with the same organization. Thirty years of never, not having a job (yes, I realize what a huge blessing that is), and suddenly I find myself–unemployed. It’s a very strange feeling, similar to the free fall fear when I step out to do something really scary.
After the initial shock wore off (three hours later), my need to keep things safe for me and mine kicked in. No time for administering chocolate first aid. Healthcare was switched, bills were re-evaluated and reduced where possible, and unemployment was filed. Day two, up before dawn, get the Prankster Duo out the door and on their way, get the Knight off to battle his dragons, and then I scampered into my office and spent the morning revamping my resume and cover letter, reaching out to old colleagues and scouring the job boards.
Resumes sent, I came up for air in the afternoon, took a breath and realized I could spend the next few hours catching up on word count. Done. By evening of day two, my mental chaos was settling and plans were in initial stages.
I know the Big Man Upstairs doesn’t do things without good reason, and I’m trusting Him to help me forge my path here. When I finally let myself deal with what had happened, I cycled through the anger at the way my organization handled things, admitting that this is how the current corporate environment works, and logically understanding what has happened to cause this reaction. While my stomach churned at this sudden change, there was also a weird sense of relief.
For the last couple of years, my writing has become more and more important to me. However, I had a job that pays the bills, I was contributing to my family’s financial security and helping Knight shoulder the responsibility of our family. To suddenly shift that to him and give myself permission to dare reach for a “dream” wasn’t something I could comfortably do without risking my job.
Obviously, someone was listening and decided to nudge me (rather abruptly) out of my rut of comfortable safety. Now, as hard as this circumstance change may sound, I have to admit, the timing was the best we could hope for. Between the severance package and the fact our family had been preparing for the worse for the last six months, I actually have some breathing room to reach out and see if I can make what makes me happy, support my family.
Now, I know you’re all thinking, “You’re going to write full time.” Um, well yeah, but that’s not it. I’ve always written, that won’t change, but I need something else to take place of the job-that-pays-the-bills. So I’m going to keep this stomach churning edge and I’m going to start something else that I will allow me to make what I love, my career. I’m stepping into editing.
Scary as this is to strike out on my own with no safety net, I’m not doing this alone. Remember that whole thing about timing? Seems I’m not the only one at a crossroads. My partner in crime and I are in the initial stages, but since we complement each other in our editing styles, we’re going to offer writers 2 editors for the price of 1. The business plan is in the initial stages and we’ve set a deadline for expected results, which means the next few weeks will be quite hectic.
However, because I recognize the risks, I’m still out there submitting resumes and exploring other job opportunities. While I understand the nerve wracking journey I’m about to begin, I’m also not one to put all my eggs in one basket. However, I’m trusting the Big Guy to know more than me, and I’ll wander through this door and see what it brings. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted on what happens next.