My Big, Fat, Audacious Career Lessons, Mistakes & Risks

My Big, Fat, Audacious Career Lessons, Mistakes & Risks April 12, 2016
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 I got laid off from my company last November, the day after Thanksgiving. The company was seriously shady & in preparation for their imminent bankruptcy they’d stop paying into unemployment for my state, where there were only 3 of hundreds of employees. Needless to say, none of us Michigander’s were able to collect unemployment while we searched for new positions. We got our last check a week into December, when we were expecting 3 December pay-outs. Not only that, because it was commissioned-based most of us were/are still owed thousands of dollars. (Yes, we could take them to court but the emotional toll & legal fees are not worth it).

This situation really took us off guard financially of course, but for me it gave the me the biggest b*tch slap of all time & for all ages. First off, my husband & I had just found out we were expecting. At that time, with both of our individual emergency funds, we assumed we could make it 3-4 months-ish. And then free-fall. Just before this, I had been thanking God over & over & over again for that position, because after about a year, I’d started enjoying it and I’d gotten GOOD at it. The commission aspect was motivating me more than expected. And as the money rolled in, we had the extra money to tackle more debt than expected & the plan for where we’d live and what life would be like once our child was born, well, all that was thrown up in the air. My schedule was completely up to me, I worked only when I wanted making me completely available for my kids every soccer game or sick day. When I wanted vacation days, I took them. No need to ask anyone. It was an ideal position.

I had plans y’all. And in some ways I’d grown comfortable. Even though this job wasn’t ideal in terms of my career history in non-profit advocacy I was grateful for the opportunity to work again, to feel productive & make the scrilla!

When this happened, I had to face the reality that yet again, I would have to find ANOTHER position for the 5th year in a row. It’s *almost* humorous but not really. For one reason or another, I’ve looked for & found a new position every. single. year. since 2012 when I left a full-time, 12 yr. ministry position. I don’t regret leaving that one, because I needed to at that time, for sanity sake. I was falling apart there, my marriage to my ex was falling apart there as we worked & did ministry together. But I do regret leaving the position in 2013 & especially the one in 2014.

Both of those positions ultimately succumbed to my issues and depression, angst & my emotional turmoil as my 1st marriage turned into a toxic nightmare. For a time, during my divorce & custody battle while everything was in COMPLETE & UTTER CHAOS I took a job as server at Red Lobster for 4 months. Something I had done in college. 16 years later & after all the speaking engagements & high level leadership positions I’d had, after working for an international celebrity & rubbing shoulders with the best & the brightest in all the fields I’d been in, there was a level of shame & humiliation I felt in waiting tables yet I was proud of myself for doing WHATEVER I had to do to survive my life at the time and to keep my kiddos with me on an ongoing basis. Yet, I see God’s grace in it. I was trying to put my life together & waiting tables was simple and easy in comparison to managing multiple people & multiple complex projects across multiple states with million dollar budgets and such. Those 4 months gave me a minute to breath.

And then 2015, learning an entirely new skill, in an entirely new field, getting it, gaining confidence and then being abruptly discharged amidst a scandalous company. All the while still applying and hoping to get back to non-profit advocacy where my heart remains fervently passionate. After The Big Disappointment, I started the search anew but while dealing with the throes of 1st trimester HELL. In hindsight, all I did in my entire 1st trimester was apply for new positions, throw-up, sleep, cry, lurk Facebook, take drowsy baths & do the best I could to take care of my boys in our shared custody schedule.

By February, not only had the fear kicked into hyper-drive (OMG WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF MONEY!) but also the emotional tax of the job search life. For as much as I’ve done it, I’ve never been great at handling rejection after rejection after rejection. And the shame of my joblessness, my seemingly inability to procure one, the worthlessness pressed down on me hard. This situation made me take stock of ALL of the career-related snafu’s, hiccups & utter failures of 2012-2016. All at once.

On the one hand, I found myself saying “Grace you have failed & failed again. You are a loser. A big, fat, worthless loser.”  And on the other hand I had to counter with this: “Okay, so you failed. Your career life is basically plummeting. You are not worthless. Yes, sh-t has fallen apart. Good God almighty, it’s been triflin’.  However,  it’s not all your fault, though a lot of it is. But for now, ya know, just own it. Being realistic will not kill you. These failures have *shockingly* not killed you. You are not the sum of these mistakes, nor these circumstances. Is not God’s grace more than evident?  Okay then baby girl, we are going to stand back up and try again. Okay? Allrighty then.” 

 

Transitions like these have MADE ME sit my booty down and generate gratuity for all that I have which is stable and consistent. It’s also MADE ME consider the strength of fear while simultaneously digging deep within myself for my strength, rather God’s strength.

Late January I was presented with an opportunity to launch my own business in yet again, a completely different field with a completely different skill set.  Tired, overwhelmed of the job-search ballyhoo I said, “sure, sign me up!” (While simultaneously asking God, “Lord, why can’t I just get a normal job like everyone else? Why have I had nearly 16 years of the weirdest, non-conventional jobs of all time?)  He said little. Understandable.

I’m going to take this (low-to-medium risk) business opportunity and reinvent myself, once again. This is actually a great opportunity in a fantastic and fast growing company working with a herd of very motivated inspiring people. In many ways it is exactly what I need, though not what I prayed for, worked for, begged for nor pleaded with hiring managers for. That’s okay. I have learned to embrace transition in 1,000 ways I think.

I’m growing this business from the ground up, as a brand new self-identified mompreneuer & I’m looking to grow my team. I’m looking for other driven individuals who want to make  extra income while working from home and juggling all manner of children &/or PT/FT job. My small team so far is growing, committed & even having a little fun supporting and partnering with one another to change our financial future.   If you’ve been considering trying something new with a rad, go-getter hit me up! (GraceSandraWrites@gmail.com).

I’m excited & hopeful about this change. There’s nothing guaranteed about launching a new business nor acquiring new skillz-to-pay-the-billz but I’m in it to win it. I look at my growing belly and the desire to survive presses on me just as sure as my baby presses on my bladder.

Here’s to that new-new!


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  • mongupp

    Love that 2nd last sentence!!

  • Brenda ( Kenny’s mom)

    Hey Grace. Was thinking about you and happen to pop in on your blog. Love your Truth and transparency. Brenda