My sweet baby boy was 12 weeks old yesterday! This milestone meant that my time on maternity leave was coming to an end. I spent most of the week trying to soak in as many baby snuggles as I could because when else could I spend my days with nothing on my agenda but taking care of my sweet boy? However, I was also ready to go back to work. I needed to get back to grown up conversations, fancy dressing, and getting back to the daily stimulation and fulfillment that my job gave me. I love being a mom, but I loved my job. I loved the company, the people, the work. I was ready to go back. I was supposed to go back tomorrow, January 23rd….until…I got laid off on Wednesday.
I worked (it’s still hard saying that in the past tense) for a large well known CPG company. We’ll call it MG. I had been there for three years, and it was the first time in my career that I could actually say that I loved the company I worked for, and I loved my job. I was doing the kind of work I only dreamed of! I got to go in every day and work with extremely smart and talented people. I got to use my talents in digital marketing and marry them with amazing food content to help solve families’ problems of what to make for dinner (and lunch and breakfast and snacking). I got to be analytical…I got to be creative…I got to be a part of a company that I was really proud of.
And, I was good at my job. I was so good, that I actually got recruited by another large food company out of state about a year ago. They offered me a big job with a big title with a big salary and a big signing bonus. When I told MG that I got such a great job offer, they offered me a bonus to stay. They also told me that they really appreciated and valued my talents and could see a promotion happening in the near future. I was not sure what to do, but ended up deciding that I was going to stay at MG. Like I said, I really loved the company, I really loved my job, and I could see a future there.
I continued to kick ass and got a stellar performance review in July. I was happy and content that I stayed at MG, but was still waiting for that promotion. Then one day in September, I got called into my bosses office and was offered the job I was working towards! Along with being part of management, I would have direct reports and own two digital media platforms. The icing on the cake was a nice bump in salary! I was so happy and excited and felt that I was truly now in my dream job. I officially started the new role on October 1st, but was working double duty wrapping things up for my previous job and getting my feet wet in the new role until I went on maternity leave starting on October 29th once Callum was born.
Maternity leave went by so fast! I forget how fast it goes. That twelfth week of leave started off really bittersweet. I was sad that that phase in Cal’s life was coming to an end, but I was excited to get back to work. I knew that MG did not have the best quarter financially while I was out and there was some talk of reorganizing and downsizing. I had been through a few of these reorgs already and was not too worried about it. I mean, digital marketing is a huge asset to have and the team I worked on brought a ton of value to the company. I did not think much of it until my boss called me on Tuesday. She asked how things were going at home with Callum and told me that announcements about the reorganization were going on this week. She let me know that my appointment to find out about the new structure would be Wednesday at 11am. She asked if I wanted to come in or if I just wanted her to call me at home. Since I was still on leave, I asked if she could call me at home. She said it would be fine, and that was that.
That evening, I mentioned to Mark that I was going to get a call the next day to learn my fate. As we always do when the companies we work for go through restructuring, we were optimistic and said that we’d be fine with whatever happens. I know that I am good at what I do and would be fine. I mostly thought I’d be fine because I had just been given a bonus to stay at the company and I had gotten a promotion just 4 months ago! But, I also knew that if I got laid off, I’d be fine because I have a marketable skill set…..and everything happens for a reason.
My phone rang at approximately 11:04am on Wednesday, January 18th. I answered confidently ready to hear that I still had a job and everyone was excited to see me on Monday. My boss asked if this time was still ok, and I said yup! She then told me that HR was also in her office. My heart sank. She began to read from a script and eventually told me that after the restructuring that had happened, my job was eliminated and there was not a place for me in the new org. I thought I was prepared to hear that, even though I didn’t think it would happen. Everything happens for a reason, right? Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, right? The rest of a conversation was a blur. I turned in to a crying snotty mess, but was still trying to hold it together and be professional. I was trying to be perfect in this extremely imperfect moment.
As soon as I got off the phone with my boss and HR, I did what any good Polish girl would do and went right to the freezer and took a big swig of vodka. I was so sad. I could not stop crying. I did not think that this news was going to affect me so much because I know logically that I will get a job. I was mentally prepared, but emotionally I was not. They really couldn’t find ANY spot for me at the company? I am awesome, how was there not ANY role that they thought I could do? I know that I should not take things personally. I know that the company had to do what it had to do. But, it still makes me sad that I will not be going back there on Monday.
I was able to pull it together and call Mark to give him the news. I pushed away the tears, blew my nose, and told him that I got laid off. But, I told him I was fine and we’d be fine and I’d get a job and life would be good. Within a few hours when Mark got home from work, I was not able to keep it together anymore. I even had to have Mark take Harlow to dance class for me because I was not ok.
I am the breadwinner in our family. I have four children. Three of those children are three years old and under and ALL ARE IN DAYCARE. I do not have the luxury of just being a stay at home mom because the bills won’t get paid. I do not have the luxury to go “all in” with my Beautycounter business because it isn’t big enough at this point, and the bills wont get paid. But, I’m not really worried about those things. I will get a job, but I feel like I’ve lost a part of my identity.
The past few days I feel like I’ve been an emotional zombie. I do not want to do anything but sleep and be alone. Those things aren’t really happening because, like I said, I have four kids, so I have to keep pushing these big emotions to the side and go on with life. I feel similar to how I felt in the weeks after my dad passed away ten years ago. I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders and that I could cry at the drop of a hat. Losing my dad was the end of an era, and losing my job, this job in particular, is like losing a piece of my identity.
I’ve worked for two very big well-known companies in the Twin Cities. I did not love working for one of them, but I loved working for MG. I loved working for them even as the culture was changing and morale levels were getting low. I was their biggest cheerleader. I loved being the savvy digital marketer that was kicking ass and working for the big company in the big city. Whenever anyone across the globe asked me where I worked, I was proud to say MG, and they were impressed that I worked there. I had a passion for my job. I was so excited to go back.
I don’t have that anymore. Sure, I will get a job. But, it wont be the same. It won’t be at a big well-known company that I am proud to be a part of. I will no longer be the powerhouse marketer that moved from the small town to the big city and was working for the big company. I’ll do what I need to do to provide for my family, but things are going to be different now. And hey, I will build a new identity, but it feels like my old one has died. I am dealing with a sort of death….a death of an era….a death of a part of who I was.
So, as many of you may see the fun pictures and comments I make on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook…this is what’s really going on. My life is imperfect. I’m trying to pull it together for my family. And the only thing I can do is hope that everything happens for a reason.