Tag Archives: job loss

I Survived A Stressful Week Without Going Completely Insane

19 May

I am participating in theĀ 2012 Wordcount Blogathon, which means one post every day for the month of May.

This last week has been fraught with stress. Along with almost everybody in my department, I spent the first half of the week waiting to hear whether I still had a job. I work for a large corporation, and they do these organizational shuffles from time to time, and invariably not everyone survives these. While we knew that this reorganization was underway, no-one was telling us anything. Throughout Monday and Tuesday, several familiar faces quietly disappeared. And those of us who remained were wondering who would be next.

On Wednesday, the new organizational charts were finally released. I had a brief moment of panic when I couldn’t immediately find my name, but located it under a new manager. I was not thrilled about that – I loved my previous manager – but at least I was there, doing more or less the same work I’ve been doing.

On the same day, I received notification that I had been accepted into the Professional Writers Association of Canada as an associate member. This was big news indeed: it gives me access to all kinds of tools and people that could help me in my quest to get a foothold in the freelance writing business.

While all of this has been going on, I have been trying to resolve some technical issues that have been preventing the upload of my new website. Last night I had to log onto a couple of sites, and click a couple of buttons that would finalize the transfer of my domain name to a new registrar.

My website broke.

I went into emergency fix mode, calling customer support lines and harassing my long-suffering website developer. I was able to put in place a band-aid fix, which will work just fine until my new website is uploaded after the weekend.

Then my email broke – the email that’s associated with the domain name.

It didn’t take me long to figure out what needed to be done. I had to kill off the email address in one place and recreate it in another. Which meant that I first had to sift through the emails in the old place to figure out which ones I wanted to keep. And we all know that nobody keeps their inboxes nice and tidy, right?


I got the email address set up in one place, but now it would appear that I didn’t succeed in fully killing it off in the old place. So the Internet thinks the email address exists in two places. While I’m getting most mail in the new place and none at all in the old place, there is the odd message that simply doesn’t get delivered. Kind of like lost snail mail.

I am trying to muddle through and sort all of this out while coming down from a week of stress.

And deal with an autism meltdown that happened this morning when George couldn’t find his box of DVDs.

All of this is happening as I go a bit mental leading into the final week before my half-marathon.

At least everything that’s happening is, in some way, a step in the right direction. I still have a job. My writing career took a big leap. The infrastructure is in place for my new website, and I can always change my email address.

Even George’s meltdown was a positive thing, because he was able to communicate what the trigger was.

I am ready for a relaxing weekend, and I hope that anyone reading will relax right along with me.

A Scrap Of Paper That Changed My Life

3 Mar

I was numb with shock as I drove home that day. Although I was only 22, life had already jaded me to the point where I never believed that anything good would actually last, but I had no idea, when I woke up that morning, that things would change so abruptly.

I went to work that morning, just as I did every other morning. It was my first real jobĀ  – a job with a regular paycheque AND benefits – and I was so proud of it. I had been there for about nine months, and for the first time since my early University days a few years previously, I felt as if I was starting – just starting – to get some direction.

I had emerged intact – bruised and damaged and hurting, but intact – from the wreckage that my life had been, and I had somehow managed to create the semblance of a normal existence. I was proud of this. I was starting to like myself again, to feel kind of OK about who I was.

I was starting to think that just maybe, I was not a complete failure who was capable of nothing more than disappointing myself and everyone around me.

That day, I lost my job.

It was a crushing blow. All of those feelings of failure and disappointment came flooding back. I hadn’t sorted out my life at all. The sense of direction, the sense that things had been getting better – that was all a mask, something to hide the fact that I was and always would be a complete screw-up.

As I drove home, I didn’t know how I was going to tell my parents. It seemed as if they had just seen me through my last crisis, and here I was, about to show up with another one. How was I going to face my Mom and tell her that I had lost the job that she had been instrumental in me getting? She had made the initial contact and arranged the interview for me at a time when I would never have been able to do it myself. And now it was all gone. I was a disappointment once again.

I felt low. So low that I actually contemplated wrapping my car around a telephone pole with me in it.

When I got home and blurted out the news, my parents wrapped me in a bear-hug. Their love and support covered me like a soft, soothing blanket. Take your time, they said. Catch your breath, give yourself a chance to recover, and then try again.

They assured me that this was not a reflection on my worth as a person, that I would indeed make a success of my life. I didn’t believe them, not really, but I really needed to hear it.

About ten days later, I was at a loose end, so I decided to tidy my desk drawers. I must have had six years’ worth of old papers and notebooks in there. It was a veritable time capsule that took me right back to my high school days, to the time before.

I went through my old diaries and books and scraps of paper, and reminisced. I reflected on the days when my whole life had stretched before me like a blank canvas, when I had not made bad decisions that would create emotional tsunamis that would ripple through time. Most of the items went into the garbage. I was sad to throw away these mementoes of my youth, but that stuff hardly seemed relevant to the way my life was now.

I pulled out an advertising leaflet and automatically started throwing it in the garbage bag without even looking at it. Just before it went into the bag, though, my eye caught the word “Israel”.

Curious. Why would I be in possession of an advertising leaflet that had anything to do with Israel? Presumably it must have been of some value to me at some point, otherwise I wouldn’t have kept it.

It turned out to be a travel brochure for people wanting to go to Israel to experience life on a Kibbutz. The brochure posed a series of questions in the form of a checklist. Do you want to see a part of the world that is like no other? Are you trying to decide what to do with your life? Have you reached a difficult crossroads?

Yes, yes and YES. As I read the brochure, I grew increasingly excited. I called the number on the brochure and asked some questions. Yes, the company that produced the brochure still ran the Kibbutz program. Yes, it was true that all I needed to pay was the cost of the airfare plus an administrative fee. No, there was no waiting list – I could leave with the next group to depart in six weeks’ time.

With fumbling fingers, I dug out my latest bank statements. With the money I had saved up, I could just about cover the costs. I wouldn’t have spending money, but that was OK. I didn’t want to go shopping. I just wanted to go.

I booked my spot there and then, and then, with my face involuntarily pulled into a completely unfamiliar-feeling expression that I later realized was a smile, I went to talk to my parents, to tell them that I was going to Israel.

Little did I know how completely this spur-of-the-moment decision would alter the course of my life.