I was laid off last week. And you know what? I was thrilled. THRILLED. If I hadn’t been laid off I would have quit. And while I would have enjoyed leaving on my own terms, it actually worked out better for me this way because now I get severance and unemployment benefits.
I was in the pharmaceutical industry (yes, Evil Big Pharma) for more than 10 years. I was lucky enough to love my job for much of that time. But from the very beginning it meant long, long hours. I frequently didn’t get home until after 10pm. Getting home at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning wasn’t unusual. In fact, on my last day in the office before I took time off to get married, I was at work until 3am. I pulled many all-nighters. I worked more weekends than I care to count. I worked my ass off. And if I say so myself, I was damned good at my job.
But the past few years really sucked, for a variety of reasons that aren’t worth discussing. And my physical and mental health suffered as a result. I had no time to myself. I fielded work calls, emails, and texts when I was out of the office—it didn’t matter if I wasn’t feeling well or if I was on vacation. They still came after me. Hell, they called/emailed/texted even when I was at the hospital with Mr. Weebles when he was sick last year.
I was pretty sure this layoff was coming. So last Monday, when I got The Call (“Hi, can you come into the conference room for a minute?”), it wasn’t a surprise. In fact, I was truly hoping it would happen.
And now I’m free. It feels fantastic. My time is my own for the first time in many, many years. I’m eating and sleeping properly, which I haven’t done in ages. I’m having a good time just being. Even chores like going to the supermarket and cleaning the house are fun activities right now. (Note to self: Take advantage of this while it lasts.)
And after I feel sufficiently detoxed, I’m moving on to my new career. I talked about this recently, and after mulling it over a bit more I’ve decided that yes, I will indeed become a Patient Advocate. People need help, and I want to help them. It feels right.
I realize how fortunate I am. I’m not panicked about being out of work, I’m not worried about how I’ll pay my bills and mortgage, and I’m not anxious about finding a new job. Mr. Weebles is the most wonderful and supportive husband a woman could ask for, and we’ll manage just fine. I feel extremely grateful and blessed. By losing my job, I’ve gained a lot more.
Thanks, Former Employer, for cutting me loose. Thanks for helping me to understand what a dysfunctional place I was in. If you hadn’t been so over-the-top insane, I might not have realized it.