One year ago today, I was let go from a job that I really didn’t like anymore. So much has happened this past year, but I decided it was good to celebrate the anniversary of something that served as a catalyst for massive change in my life.
Today, my life looks drastically and completely different than it did one year ago.
I posted a little bit about this on my personal Facebook page, but basically, at any time you can choose to decide that your story will not end the way someone else has seemingly decided for you. Sometimes you may need an ending forced on you to shake up everything you believe and think to be true. And even though it’s technically a negative thing, I’m grateful for everything I’ve been through in the last year because I’m more confident and secure than ever. And I’m just getting started.
This anniversary makes me feel a strange mix of emotions. It’s bittersweet, gratifying, sad, maddening, joyous and a bunch of other conflicting words, but that’s honestly how I feel right now.
I was working at a place where I loved what I did but I hated the environment (and I felt it hated me, too). More often than not, when I would go home at night, I would rage about something or cry or be frustrated and just not understand what else I could do next.
I’d been looking for a new job, albeit not super seriously, and apparently the Universe decided I needed a little kick in the pants to get started. Well, it turned into a few very intense kicks in the pants, but still.
I met up with a new friend for coffee this morning, and I ended up sharing so much with her about how the last year has been for me both personally and professionally. I was intending on sharing a quick-ish recap, but once I started talking, I couldn’t stop.
Then I realized that I couldn’t stop talking about it because I was finally in a place to fully appreciate and be grateful for all the shitty and unexpected things that happened last year. I thought I’d reached this place a few months ago, but now I know that that wasn’t really true. I thought I was ready to move on before, but now I know that I truly am.
I don’t harbor any resentment towards my old boss, coworkers or place of employment. Everything went down the way it did for a reason. I don’t regret how I reacted to everything that happened. I was able to show myself how much of a resilient fighter I am, and it wouldn’t have happened the way it had if I hadn’t been let go the way I was.
But I’m finally ready to fully decide that I don’t want to be known as the girl who was let go from two full-time jobs in a row. I don’t want to be defined by these “failures” anymore, especially because they taught me so damn much about myself and the world around me.
This one year anniversary crept up on me even though in the back of my mind I knew it was coming. It crept up on me because I thought I had thought about and processed everything I needed to think about and process, but I was wrong.
I used to be so hurt and pissed off and emotional and I felt like a victim, but none of those ever sat well with me for long. I’ve experienced a lot of emotions over the past year over everything that’s happened, and I’m learning that I’m still not done yet.
Now I’m processing what it feels like to look back and be so grateful and happy that I’m not still where I was a year ago, in just about every way possible.
Today I discovered that this anniversary means more to me than I ever thought it would. I imagined that I would look back on this day as the day that everything changed and that propelled me forward on my path away from people and an environment that I felt didn’t support me.
While that’s all technically true, it’s also the day that the Universe stepped forward and really showed me how much it had my back. It just took me several months or close to a year to really understand and appreciate that.
I used to be so damn afraid of change. In the past, especially in corporate jobs, change was bad; it meant people were leaving and shakeups were coming. Even though that’s technically true as well, change is so much more than that. Change is so much more positive and life-altering than we often give it credit for.
I would not be where I am today, right now, if I hadn’t been let go the way I was a year ago today.
One year ago today, I was tapped into the shoulder by an HR person because I was wearing headphones while working and I didn’t hear her calling my name. I was guided into someone else’s office and the door was shut. I was told that I was being let go because they decided that my position was no longer necessary.
I will never forget the faces of the two people in that room with me. I will never forget the absolute shock I felt that lasted the rest of that day and even for days and weeks afterwards. I will never forget what it was like to gather up my things while the HR person watched and then walked me to the elevator. I will never forget walking to visit my husband at work (at the time, we worked a few blocks away from each other) because we had carpooled to work that day.
I will never forget the look on his face when he saw me around 3 p.m. or so and said “Hey!” with a smile and then saw that I was holding all my stuff and then he said “Oh.” I will never forget all the sobbing that occurred the day and in the weeks and months to come. I will never forget how broken and ashamed I felt, and I will never forget how hard those feelings were to get rid of.
There are a lot of things I’ll never forget, and it’s interesting to revisit them today on the one year anniversary in a different context.
I will never forget all of those things and more, but I’ll also never forget how grateful I am to be where I am today. I’ll never forget realize how strong, resilient and fucking badass I am.
Even though my previous employer tried to fight my unemployment claim and say they fired me, I fought them and proved that I was right and my unemployment claim was approved. Even though my previous employer tried to claim I had already received my last paycheck when I in fact did not, I fought them and again proved I was right and then the paycheck was direct deposited into my account. Even though I had been looking for a new place to work, I fought through (not past, through) the feelings of inadequacy and shame to finally for the first time figure out what I really want out of my job and career.
A lot of positive and negative things happened this past year, but I’m choosing to celebrate the catalyst of most of them today, the one year anniversary.
I’m so fucking proud of myself for how I’ve handled everything that’s happened to me in the last year, including moving into my husband’s late aunt’s house after only seeing three rooms in it beforehand; living with his mother in the house; deep cleaning the first floor of the house by using three city dumpsters in addition to our weekly city trash pick-ups; holding a garage sale with so many random items on a super hot summer day and getting incredibly sunburned despite wearing sunscreen; having a lot of very tough conversations with my husband about everything that was happening in our lives; having a lot of breakdowns and breakthroughs; crying, screaming and laughing more often than I ever thought possible; and much more.
This year has been quite a rollercoaster, to say the least, and today’s anniversary hit me in an unexpected way so I decided to write about it. These are my unfiltered thoughts exactly as they came into my head without any editing or second guessing.
Right now I’m sitting at a table at Barnes & Noble with an iced americano, my personal journal, my work journal, several brightly colored felt tip pens and an empty wrapper from Justin’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter cups. I’m wearing a few different shades of bright blue eyeshadow, as well as a black crop top and a leopard print skirt with my Sorel winter boots (#fashion).
One year ago today, I can’t imagine myself wearing blue or any bright eyeshadow out in public. I didn’t own a crop top then, and I probably never ever considered owning one. I did own and wear these Sorel boots a lot, but that’s where the comparison stops.
I’m an immensely different person than I was one year ago today, and I owe a large part of that to the company that let me go. On this anniversary, I’m choosing to finally and truly forgive you. You don’t hold that power over me anymore, and I’m choosing to set you free. I’m detaching from the old expectations and stories I told myself when I worked there and afterwards when I was dealing with the aftermath of everything.
I’m choosing to let it all go and release any hold or power my old employer continued to have over me. I release it all with love and compassion. I’m not going to be held down any longer. I choose to rise.
So, happy anniversary to the new me! It’s been a wild ride, and I know we’re nowhere near done yet. Let’s do this!
Photo by Chelsea Joy Photography