What Being Cut Loose Has Shown Me

I can see it like it was yesterday.

That first day I returned to office following the news that "cuts had to be made" and one of those cuts would be me.

Enter the well-meaning dude who wheeled a chair up and told me he'd been in my shoes before and, "Believe it or not, one day, you'll look back on it as the best thing in your career."

Picture me gripping my mouse til my knuckles go white, blinking back tears, hostile-like, thinking: "Don't you mean best thing in your career? One less bit of dead weight for the team to carry around, right?"

But, you see, I wasn't dead weight. The dead weight wasn't anyone's fault but mine, for I had let it creep in. It was the unspoken underutilized and overlooked situation I had created for myself--through things that were and weren't under my control.

A dozen or so months earlier, I had been promised a move upward. It was very exciting and I waited happily. Then, nothing. A year later, I began to revisit and reevaluate what was happening, going so far as to flirt with leaving the team--and then autism knocked on the door, made its presence known as part of our two-year-old son's reality. Stopped me dead in my tracks. Killed ambition for the time being. It was reasonable to think that something like this could be revisited once things settled in my personal life. Reasonable because hey, the job was "safe."

In the days that followed, I pushed in the clutch. My career/gunning/ambition anthem became work, collect a paycheck, don't make waves. There was a lot to process. I had flexibility. The health plan was good. The 401(k) match was outta sight. In an uncertain world, looking that stuff in the face and ghosting just wasn't my thing...so for another few months, I kept my head down and did my job. Produced output like a champion.

But, it simply wasn't enough for the powers that be to defend keeping me when it all boiled down. Ouch!

These days, when I think about it all, there are a few big things I would have done differently. Instead of skipping educational sessions in the name of my deadlines, or keeping silent in the name of being a team player, I would have carved out time to make sure I was learning as much as I could and fighting for myself as loudly as I could. Instead of letting things like the gym, the dentist, the facialist, etc., fall by the wayside, I would have taken the best care of myself possible. Rather than quietly sit back and coast, I would have been vocal, asked for meetings, demanded feedback no matter how difficult it might have been.

Couldda wouldda shouldda.

How about gonna.

Being cut loose has shown me that I'm my best advocate--so I'm not going to be afraid to ask upfront about what things pay. I'm going to speak up if the pay is short or the demand is too great for the compensation. I'm going to be confident, yet strive to avoid over promising and under delivering.

I'm not going to be afraid to walk away from situations that abuse, confuse or don't enthuse me. I'm going to maintain healthy lifestyle choices and put them at the forefront of my mission so that mom is happy and everything else is happy too.

Most importantly of all, being cut loose has shown me that opportunities are crazy rife. That what has held me back is pushing me forward now and that dude might even be right about this being the best thing that happened to me.

"We shell shee.."