Happy Canniversary to me!!!
One year ago yesterday, I got let go from my job as a call center sales representative. Maybe I was still on cloud 9 after my outstanding interview with Great Day St. Louis the day before, but yesterday I felt wonderful. In August of last year, I left my current employment situation, selling cell phones in a store, to work in a call center for a large hair removal chain.
So at the end of my shift, December 2nd, 2009, my boss came in and said I “wasn’t a good fit.” Ironically, it was right after their busy season and promotions had ended. I smiled, shook his hand and said, “Thanks for the opportunity.” I always saw jobs the same way I saw dating. If they don’t want me, then it’s not my path. I wouldn’t want to waste my time somewhere I “wasn’t a good fit” any more than I’d settle for someone who “wasn’t that into” me. In a way, I felt liberated. (I did feel bad that my sister sent me a fruit bouquet to congratulate me on my new job, but oh well.)
I knew that wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. I’d been laid off from 3 different call centers and let go from 1. Hmmm…Is there a pattern here? There is something else I need to be doing, I always thought. I always wanted to change the world. Even when I had steady employment, I felt almost imprisioned. Like I had too much talent to just be staring at a computer screen in my little cube. There were so many days, while on the phone talking about phone or cable service, I’d stare at the gray strings in the fabric of the cubicle walls thinking, Is this my life? Day in, day out…Sitting here…answering calls…until I retire… I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this. I’m sure many people enjoy working in a call center. All I am saying is it wasn’t what I wanted to get out of life. I wasn’t engaged or feeling any passion. I didn’t feel like I was providing any value to the world.
It was time for a new start. I had done quite well in the 3 small months I worked there. I had paid off all my debt and had a made a large chunk of money. Plenty to get me to the next job, maybe I’d even get a career this time. Plenty of money to start a new venture. I was open to whatever life had in store for me. I had plenty of time to get my Christmas shopping done, plenty of time to travel with my boyfriend, Andrew, now soon to be my husband.
Meanwhile, a conversation with my sister still lingered in the back of my mind. “Nobody will hire me, I’m in a wheelchair,” a quote from one of Mandy’s former schoolmates still haunted me. Something had to done. But what? In January, I woke up on a futon at my boyfriend’s cousin’s place in Huntington Beach, California, after a dream about Wendy. “I’m going to write a book about a girl in a wheelchair ,who is a superhero,” I whispered to Andrew. “Mmm,hmm,” was his sleepy response.
The next day, I stood barefoot on the beach with Andrew, silently listening to the waves, feeling the wet sand in between my toes. I had no clue how to write a children’s book, much less publish one. At that moment, I knew what I had to do. None of that mattered. All things were fine.
So anyway, if I hadn’t have lost my job, I wouldn’t have been able to go to California. Wendy on Wheels would have never existed. I’m so grateful I was able to publish the first two books. I’m even grateful I had the skills to sit down and write them. I’m thankful to my former boss, for letting me go. He’s got two kids, maybe I should send him a thank you note and directions on how to buy my books.
For all the people who get let go or laid off from their jobs, I would say, “Congratulations! You have the opportunity for new beginning. Be open to whatever direction life pulls you.” It may be a blessing in disguise.