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I Was Laid Off

Well, my impending lay-off finally happened.  Although you might expect that I’d be crying in my beer about it, I’m not.  I’m actually very happy…elated really.  Sure, financially, it would be better to be fully employed, and the timing isn’t so great (is there ever a good time to get laid off?) but emotionally and career wise, this couldn’t have happened to a better person.  Granted, I loved a lot of things about my job, but I actually love much more that my job did not afford me the opportunity to do.  And now, I finally get the chance to give some of those things a fair shot and spend my time on the things that I really want to focus on.  Of course there are aspects of my recent career that I will continue to incorporate into my new found future, but I have many other passions that I’m dieing to tap into (Sheer Balance being one of them!).

Although most people in my company were dismayed at my office’s decision, I saw it coming and was very ready for it.  I even cleaned out my desk the day before it happened.  You could say I was a bit over-prepared.  What I wasn’t prepared for, however, were some of my co-workers’ reactions.  I found myself consoling my colleagues about my status, rather than the other way around.  And, no matter how much positivity I expressed, certain colleagues were in short, dumbfounded.  And even though I was quick to assure them that this was good for me…that it was a blessing in disguise…that ‘when one door closes, another opens’…that it is a new chapter…and that I was excited for this change…a few people just couldn’t accept it.

This was crazy!  Somehow, my joy was their sorrow.  My excitement was their disappointment.  My lay-off was their loss.  When I expressed my confusion to my closest colleague about this phenomenon, he very clearly stated, “Brett, for some people, work is their life.  And even though they have family, work is really everything to them.  That is why they see this as so devastating.  You on the other hand, are balanced.  You have your company, hobbies, a social life and other things that give you purpose.”

His statement really hit me.  First of all, although I might own a company called “Sheer Balance”, in no way do I think I’m actually balanced.  Second, I have spent my whole life wanting to get involved in everything, that in certain ways, I have felt that I have actually been involved in nothing (Can you say over achiever?).  Ironically, my ‘nothingness’ has given me the gift of everything.

It makes sense, right?  Those people who dedicate every waking moment to one thing, would be completely devastated if that one thing was taken away from them.  Yet, those individuals who are less focused on a single purpose, but rather are passionate about multiple things, can be at peace if one of the many passions go away.  I never really thought about it, but having a well-rounded life, is akin to the old adage of ‘don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.’

I have to thank my parents for this.  Growing up, they were quick to get me involved in many things.  If it wasn’t choir, it was orchestra.  If it wasn’t orchestra it was tennis.  If it wasn’t tennis, it was horseback riding.  Their parenting made me the crazy, passionate, over zealous, “I want to do and experience everything” person that I am today.  Although I couldn’t understand it at the time, I realize now more than ever, that being an extremely active child and being given the opportunity to be so, was one of the best gifts and one of the best lessons that they ever taught me.  And I’m truly thankful for that.

Have you been laid off?  How did you feel?  Do you see this as a new opportunity or as a devastating blow?


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Posted in Brett's Blog, Mind-Body Tagged with: , , , , ,
  • Brett, this is a great posting – one of your best (and that’s a strong statement). Well, you know what side of the “work is life” debate I fall on. So let me be the first to write it in this space at least: CONGRATULATIONS! Maybe I shouldn’t have used all caps, but I’m sure you get my drift.

  • awww shucks…thanks 🙂

  • Jamie Herring

    Brett – I love reading your articles, and working with you, has truly been, my pleasure – this article was, so touching, and inspiring ~ THANK YOU !! I know, good things are bound your way – part in cause, you do deserve so, and in part, because you make them happen !All the best to you my friend – and I’ll see you somewhere along this “journey”.

  • Jamie..thanks so much! That means a lot coming from you 🙂 Miss you…

  • Jim Meredith

    Egad, Brett! I had no idea. Let’s connect when you catch a breath!

  • Adam Milsky

    Wow, Brett!
    I’m so glad I stumbled upon your page here. This was one of the most inspiring things I’ve read in a while, thankyou so much for sharing your point of view. I agree with you on so many levels. As you know, I was layed off the same day as you and I think it was the kick in the ass that I needed. I look forward to keeping in touch with you and perhaps crossing paths professionally again some day. Thanks and see you on FB in the meantime.
    Adam 🙂

  • James Taylor

    Hi Brett, I was randomly checking in on a friend and saw a “bounced back” e-mail from their work address. Upon seeing this, I suspected that the world’s tragic economy had claimed yet another victim.
    After reading your Blog on being laid off, I must say that your positive outlook is awesome! Taking control of your own life and becoming the driving factor in determining your own destiny is an attitude that we all should strive for. It’s fair to say, for most people, it’s just so difficult sometimes to see the sun on a cloudy day. I believe that the most important single factor that guarantees our individual success is having a relentless optimistic and positive attitude. After all, “at the end of the day” (CityCenter favorite construction and design phrase… lol…) happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves optimistic as we smile and be strong, or we allow ourselves to be miserable. The amount of work is just the same. All successful entrepreneurs follow their dreams, hopes, and aspirations without regard to all of the adversity or trials and tribulations they would face or the failures they incurred along their way to success.
    The site looks tremendous! I believe in you and know all will be well!

  • Sharon Wigutoff

    Brett, this is the company’s loss, for sure. They will miss your energy and your intelligence and your solid work ethic. It’s great that you have such a positive attitude about the situation. I hope you can hold on to that and not let this get to you.

    Nice comments about your parents at the end of the blog. That was really sweet.

  • Michelle Thevenin

    Hey Brett — Great article and perspective! I think the times when I’ve hit a wall with a job and not found it as fulfilling, I’ve done some soul searching to see if I can find that fulfillment elsewhere. Sometimes I’ve stuck with the job and done lots of other fulfilling activities and sometimes I move on to a new job. I think something about getting my MBA has made me more focused on realizing my potential and fulfillment through my job. Good to read as I think about this challenge right now.
    Hope to catch up with you soon!

  • Hi Brett, here I am one year later than your article was posted and commenting. I recently subscribed to your blog and just came across this article. I think it’s great that I am not the only person to think being laid off a great thing. For me, it’s been a blessing. I have actually been laid off twice in my career. The first time was a little more than 11 years ago and I was completely devastated. But a few months later I got a much better job that ultimately helped me to reach and grow. That job carried me for the past 11 years until I was laid off in January. For me, this “job” ended more like 3 years ago when the corporation I worked for made some major changes and so many of my colleagues were let go or moved on. I was not surprised by my lay off, because those changes were ultimately moving the business to another state and wasn’t where I wanted to go. In the interim of the past 3 years, the atmosphere became very difficult and so for me, I was thrilled when it happened. I too have taken some time to pursue some other passions and feel more balanced in my life for doing so.

    • Brett

      Heidi…congrats. things really do happen for a reason