It was a Tuesday, May 9th when I was called into the conference room. I walked into the room and saw my boss, the look on his face said it all. I looked at him and shook my head as if you say, I know what this is about. HR followed quickly into the room along with my department head.
“Brandon, we have some tough decisions to make. This isn’t one that we are making lightly because we know how valuable you are to our mission, but we are going to have to let you go immediately.”
“It’s alright, I understand, you all have a lot to think about, and I’m very thankful for the lasts 3 years that you have given me.”
I walked out of the building that day, with almost a sense of relief. The stress that I had experienced over the last year was gone, even though there was the task of finding a new opportunity, I felt a sense of satisfaction to find a new career.
I started my car and drove off, looking at the building I walked into for the last 3 years fade into a memory. I had been here before, and I knew what to do.
I pulled into the drive of my then 1-year-old’s daycare and took a deep breath. While it might have felt like I just had a challenging conversation, I was about to have one that I never like having.
“I was just laid-off, and we are going to have to pull our son from your daycare this Friday.”
I was about to enter a job that I knew all too well, being a laid-off Stay-at-home-dad. At this point, I had no idea how long this would last. I was looking forward to the opportunity to be the best stay-at-home-dad that I could be.
Between the few hours a day that I would spend looking for jobs, I would be planning play dates, meeting up with friends, playing with my kids, and just being there for my family I knew that it would feel like the upcoming weeks and months would feel like they would fly by.
But it seemed that month after month passed and the frustration was starting to set in. There were interviews followed by the inevitable email would pop-up and say, “We have chosen to look at other candidates.”
It just made the frustration set in even more profound. I started to second guess myself and every move that I was making. I began to say to myself, I’m just overqualified, while in the same breath saying that there has to be something about me they don’t like.
There was one thing that I did know, that my family needed me during that time. I needed to be there to take our oldest to the summer camp we had already enrolled him in over the summer. I needed to be there to stay home with my youngest so that we could save what was (and still is) the expense that hits the bank account the hardest… daycare.
As the weeks dragged into months, my frustration mounting further, my level of anxiety was putting a toll on my family. If I had known at the time that I would spend six months as a stay-at-home-parent, I am sure things inside me and to the outside world would have calmed down. But every day, every notification on my phone, until Friday, September 8th.
“Brandon, we would like to extend an offer to you to work for us.”
“Yes… yes… YES!!!!”
I have celebrated many things in my life, but I have never celebrated anything as I had at that moment after hanging up the phone. All of that frustration led up to that phone call, and suddenly it was all gone.
That is why being laid-off was the best thing that has ever happened to me. As a parent, there are many frustrating aspects of it all between the inability to find shoes, following instructions, to life in general when things don’t go necessarily as planned.
Being laid-off in 2017 changed my perspective on life. It taught me that while it is OK to be frustrated at the way things are going, whether it is professionally or personally, one should always keep their head in the game and looking forward. Every day that I sat there frustrated with each and every rejection email, it was easy for me to think that it wasn’t going to turn around.
It is easy to look back at the time I spent laid-off and think that it was quite possibly one of the worst times in my life, despite being able to stay home and spend some quality time with my youngest. But now, a year removed from it all, I look back at it and see what it taught me.
Frustration is good, as long as you are able to see the good that is coming your way and let it all go.