The Retrenchment Observed draws to a close.
NOT that I’ve settled firmly and unshakably into my path of the future!
But I think I’ve learned the lessons that can reasonably fall under ‘retrenchment’.
My lessons henceforth will tend more toward ‘next chapter’.
AND, I wonder if any of us are ever firmly and unshakably settled into our career paths these days? Mine is new and precarious, yes, but clearly my previous path wasn’t without some shake!
Is it strange to say I’m grateful for this time and its lessons?
Losing my job still isn’t on the list of roller coasters I my highly recommend, but I have gained from this experience. I’ve talked before about some of the riches I gained through the actual period of loss. And about the resources I discovered when the need appeared.
Fragile though it may be, I’ve also gained freedom, and opportunity.
Building a business while working full time is a very hard process, and doing that while chronically ill is an extremely hard process.
Now, I would not have CHOSEN to ditch my job before I had a good solid foundation built to go out on my own, but having my job taken away did provide me with far more time to devote to building this baby up!
Some risks are too scary to take, obviously. And for me, quitting my job to take on a dream project would probably have been in that category. But losing my job presented the opportunity to take on that project – kind of risk free.
Final takeaways from this experience:
Even the worst case isn’t always terrible.
Losing my job was not my most carefree moment.
Frankly, trying to start a business STILL isn’t quite carefree! I’m well aware of the odds, and it certainly didn’t escape my notice that this is the absolute worst political climate in the US for trying to make it as a small business.
On the other hand, I am now living in a place I LOVE, and doing mostly work that I also love, that I’m good at, and that I can begin and END then move on to the next project – DREAM LIFE!!!
So, even the worst case, I’ve found, can have some true blessings tucked inside.
The month before my job ended was terrifying. When my first contract ended four months later, I was more calm, and had much more confidence about the future.
My situation was not dramatically different, but my perspective had changed.
I had learned that I COULD find other work, that I could create a productive schedule, and that I COULD make it through. My trajectory hasn’t been a smooth and continual ascent from that point, but I’ve had the hope inspired by that broader perspective.
Even the worst case can look very different over time.
You don’t always get a couple months’ warning before you job disappears (or your spouse calls it quits, or the test results are bad, or whatever crisis you have to face in any given season), but some prep work really makes a difference.
And some of that prep work can be done before the crisis is even on the horizon.
In the three or four years before being laid off, I had turned my attention to eliminating debt, budgeting and saving money for life’s adventures, and building an emergency fund.
These were a blessing long before my job disappeared.
When my car needed BIG DEAL repairs, it was not much fun to write that check, but knowing that I had an account with Car Repair Funds in it was a heck of a lot less scary than wondering where that money would come from!
Making a mistake on my taxes and getting fined really sucked – but not nearly as much as it would have without savings!
And after the initial hysteria of realising my job was really-going-to-end, having a 10 month emergency fund was also very reassuring.
Perhaps more importantly, it turned out to be not just a safety net, but also a source of freedom.
Would have even considered going freelance if I had not had that fund? BIG NO THERE! Not in a million years!
But because of the emergency fund, and the blessing of that first dream contract, I had the teeny tiny grain of hope to give it a shot.
So, scary as this new world is, yeah, I am grateful for the blessings of even retrenchment!
My hope now is that as I face other big, scary, unwanted life changes – which we all do from time to time – that I’ll be able to remember the good in this one, and have another teeny, tiny grain of hope with which to face them.