On Friday I was laid off.
I was laid off.
I’ve been working since I was 17. I’ve never been out of work. I was laid off once before but was given 45 days notice and during that time I was head hunted by my current company. Er, my former company. That was four years ago.
Four years of my dedication, talent, and tears, gone with a 90 second phone call, four weeks of severance pay, and a phony “I’m sorry.” This is the first time in over 15 years I have been without a steady job and paycheck. And I feel wonderful.
The truth is, I was planning my exit strategy from that office. I didn’t talk about it here because obviously I didn’t want my employer to find out about my secret plans. But my closest friends and family knew it was in the works. I even set a date – September 15, 2014, my 35th birthday. My goal was to wake up on this day, free of their shackles and in control of my own destiny.
So everything is happening a bit sooner than planned.
But you know what? I’ve been wanting to quit for a while. My job was boring, my company didn’t appreciate my skills, and I was constantly being belittled by my boss. I found myself severely depressed every Sunday night as I set my alarm clock. A couple months ago, things got so bad I had to see my cardiologist for an irregular heart beat and chest pain. The culprit – stress. I mean, I have a lot of stressors in my life but for 40 hours a week I just hated myself. And it takes a toll.
But every time I got really down about my position in life, I would come up with some excuse to not quit. I would have liked to have saved more money. I would have liked to have grown my blogs and my vacation planning businesses a bit more. I would have liked to have felt more secure in my side jobs before they became my main source of income. All of that is out the window now.
Within minutes of being laid off (via phone, keeping it classy), I felt the stress start to melt away. I was actually finishing up a report (can you believe that?) and my system access disconnected. I watched as each open program on my laptop closed and finally everything disconnected, leaving me staring at my own desktop. And you know what I saw? Folder icons, of all the blog projects and ideas I keep meaning to get to and never had the time. All the DIY projects, recipe pictures, real wedding submissions. All of these folders, representing my real passion, were covered and hidden eight hours a day, due to that job I hated.
Friday evening, with Mr. BFT working late, I went to our local bar to drown my sorrows (during happy hour pricing, of course). I met a woman there named Bobbi. She was an older woman, in her 60s maybe, and when she heard I lost my job she told me she had been laid off more times than she could count. “Really?” I said, “How do you deal with not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from?” She told me she’s never had to worry about finding a job, and every lay off was the opportunity to learn a new trade or skill. “Eventually,” she said, “I could find a job just about anywhere, doing just about anything, because I knew so many skills.”
As we continued chatting, at one point Bobbi said to me, “You don’t belong in insurance. You’ve been given the great gift of a free month to find your true passion. Relax, don’t stress out, but don’t waste it, either.”
So now, it’s crunch time. Do or die. Time to find my real passion. This is the day I’ve been dreaming of. The first day of the rest of my life.
What does all this mean for my blogs? Well, now that I have some free time until I find another full time job, there will be some changes, and hopefully it will all be improvements. There is always some trial and error when doing something new, but I’ve been building up a list of ideas for some time now and I have some big plans.
1. Moving all my blogs to WordPress. I was actually going to do this over Thanksgiving weekend, but now I don’t have to wait! I plan on doing it in the next couple weeks so there may be some blog downtime.
2. Re-branding Disney Wedding Inspiration. I have some really big ideas for DWI. I will be completely changing the name, URL, and expanding the site to cover more than just weddings. I’m really excited about it! It is something I’ve been wanting to do for many months now and just never had the time.
3. Producing more content. My plan is to do DAILY Monday – Friday posts on ALL my blogs. Is that a little ambitious? Maybe … but I’ll try it out and see what happens.
4. Increasing monetization. This will probably be the most annoying for my readers, but with more content comes more advertising. I’ll be honest – it’s not my favorite aspect of the job. But I’m committed to only partnering with brands that I fully stand behind and I think will be beneficial to all of you. So look for more sidebar ads, affiliate links, and sponsored posts. And please, if you love my blog, support our partners! (Thank you!)