How to gracefully go from 6 figure salary to WIC in 90 days
By Holly Suso on August 21, 2009
"There are blessings in a storm."
"There's always a silver lining."
"Things can't get worse."
"At least you've got your health."
These are all things that people tell you when you're going through a crisis and they are trying to fill an uncomfortable silence. I'm not the type of person to really complain or commiserate. I generally keep smiling and keep moving when challenged with adversity. But I'm learning a humbling lesson lately that has my good nature in a head lock. The lesson for today students is How to Gracefully Go From a Six Figure Salary to WIC in 90 Days.
Let me start by saying that this story is not to tell you how sorry I feel for my self but rather a way to say that I empathize with anyone who has, is, or will go through it themselves. After all, no one can understand your trials better than someone who's been there right?
So here's where my story starts.
Three months ago I left (unwillingly) my job at PayPal. I knew this was a precarious situation considering how many other people I would be joining in the unemployment line. At the time it seemed that there was an announcement on a daily basis regarding the hundreds to thousands of people that were laid off on a weekly basis.
Lesson number 1: How to hold your tongue and smile graciously
Friends and family alike will ask you the same questions when you're going through this stressful process. "Are you looking for another job?" "Do you have enough savings to coast for a while?" "Why are you moving?"
My advice to you when you are battered with the obvious, don't bother to explain, it will only confuse them. Though you will be tempted, DON'T say "No, I'm not looking for another job, I hate to pay bills, eat in restaurants, and havinh a car to drive." You will probably look at those who know you like they are crazy and want to say "Yes, I had enough to coast for a while, but I blew it all and thought I could live off of you for a while", You will want to shout at your neighbors "I'm moving cause you make to much darn noise!"
But STOP. Hang on, don't take it out on those who are just trying to help. They know not what they say. I was buffeted similar questions and kissed and hugged everyone as I graciously accepted their advice and condolences. A loss of a job shouldn't cause you to loose your friends and loved ones in the process. So, I packed up my things and moved south to live with my mom.
It's awesome to know that home is the place that they have to take you in. Several weeks after the move my son is pretty much over the novelty of "vacation" and wants to know when he can go home. Back to ABC Montessori. Back to Budd Ave. I tell him, "We live with Grandma now." His new school is great but his best friend and favorite teacher aren't there. I heard that Isaiah's BFF's mom is going through the same issues as I am so sadly his friend wouldn't be there if we went back anyway.
Looking for a job is a job in itself, especially since you have to report your valiant efforts to EDD to receive your check on time (battling the EDD monster is a completely different lesson). I went online today to apply for jobs on hotjobs. Each job I applied for gave me the response "you've already applied for this one." DOH!
Lesson number 2: Keep trying or at least make it look good
Those who are counting on you need to SEE you making an effort on a daily basis. Complacency and laziness can settle in quick, followed by depression and anger if you don't keep trying. Yes, sometimes it seems pointless to run yet another search on monster.com just to return the same list of work from home scams you saw yesterday, but you never know, there may be something new today.
A while back I called the Women, Infant, and Child program that provides checks to purchase food to low income mothers. They gave me an appointment for six weeks out stating that the system was so taxed by women in need that this was the soonest the could get me in. Finally my appointment arrived and a wave of emotion overcame me as I consider my salary only a short few months ago. How quickly things change. But as I waited I made an interesting observation. The women around me were just like me. They were women who had recently become unemployed or their spouses were without employment. They were your average family trying to feed their babies in a time where the land of milk and honey is starting to curdle.
Lesson number 3: Where there's a will there's a way
I've started focusing on my Mary Kay business with the persistence and vigor of a hungry lioness. Eyes lines, lips glossed, and cheeks blushed, I drove 45 minutes to yet another networking event. Though tired and frustrated that every woman at the event already had a Mary Kay consultant, I came home triumphantly after acquiring the phone number of the server who "LOVES Mary Kay" and needs a new lipstick.
The networking seems to be working for me and though I'm committed to search the classifieds on a daily basis for an "office job", I will continue to build my Mary Kay business in the hopes that it will give me the stability and flexibility to support myself and never have to worry about getting laid off again.
Well, as they say... "There's a blessing in the storm." "There's always a silver lining." "Things can't get worse." and "At least I've got my health."
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