When I designated 2016 the year of challenges, I specifically said I didn’t want huge, uncontrolled challenges. Instead, I wanted cute, little challenges that I gave myself. Challenges that might push me just enough out of my comfort zone, help me heal, and look at exciting ways to move forward as a “better” person.
That was my plan.
Because life always works out as planned.
On March 2, when the company I worked at, one filled with fun, talented people, closed its doors. I worked with a few others to find as many people jobs as we could. The ability to transition people and clients immediately to another agency was an amazing challenge, one I took on whole-heartedly, working as many hours as I could to help make this happen.
Once the transition was over, I finished the initial work, and things were starting to take on a life of their own, my time at the new agency ran out leaving me unemployed.
Next year I’m calling my year something besides the Year of Challenges. I should have declared it the Year of Amazing Things! Or the Year of Unbelievable Awesomeness! Or, the Year of Paid Exotic Vacations!
I had to go with the Year of Challenges. And they’re not proving to be the cute little challenges. Instead, they’re the challenges that require me to call my parents twice in barely three months to tell them their oldest, single, childless daughter is now unemployed. Again.
It’s incredibly humbling.
In 2000-2001, when the dot-com bubble burst, I was laid off twice in 10 months. The first time when my company closed its Denver office. Much like this past March, my friends and I scattered to different agencies and companies around town. Most of the Internet-related jobs were eliminated, it took everyone a long time to find work.
While I was lucky and my old manager hired me nearly right away, after 9/11 I was laid off again. In the end though, that layoff gave me time to recharge, to focus, and finish my MBA. The stress of searching for a job is a special kind of stress I don’t like repeating, in 2001 it gave me a chance to explore Hawaii and Europe, to move back to San Diego, reconnect with friends, family, and even myself, for the first time since…well since the last time I’d been laid off.
Every time I have been laid off or found myself unemployed, it has always worked out for the better. I’ve been happier, found more job satisfaction, and could dive into my new work without stopping to look back.
I remind myself of that frequently these days.
With my promotion, clients, travel, and work this past year, I forgot that somewhere along the way I’m supposed to be taking care of myself as well. Now (hopefully not for too long) I have that chance to step back, recharge, and figure out what I want to do next. This is the second time in a few months I have this opportunity. I didn’t take advantage of it the first time, so this time I’m determined to do it right.
I knew it in January, when I designated this a year of challenges. I knew it would tempt fate, but I did it anyways.
And here I am.