What I Took When I Left

I’m beginning to think this is just a “Serious Sunday” series here on the blog, as I have something funny for next week, but as predicted, I have a little bit more to say about the things that happened last week


First of all, another big thank you for all the overwhelming support. Between that post, Facebook and private messages, I am honestly touched by the hundreds of you who reached out. Because people have asked for an update, I figured a blog post would be the easiest way to reply, so here we go.

This past week has been weird.

Two hours after it happened I shook off the shock and was already on the phone. The whole weekend was spent completely overwhelmed but filled with getting my resume sent out, replying to messages from friends and family and trying to navigate this unfamiliar terrain.

There have been a few moments when I’ve lost it–when filing for unemployment and honestly, most of this past weekend–but other than that, I’ve really yet to wallow.

I’ve kept to a schedule and have honestly been busier than I’ve been in months and haven’t even had much time for “fun” writing or reading. I’m sure that things will settle down soon, I’ll crash and then catch up on “Chopped” while feeding my feelings again.

But through it all, I’m still cautiously calm, a feeling that’s completely foreign to me in situations that are pretty much out of my control. As you know, control and routine are a big thing for me and until this happened, the smallest thing that upset that (pseudo) balance would stress me out.

My days were spent in a bubble of predictability and routine and quite honestly, as unhappy as that place made me, I relished that sense of security. I might not have liked where I was all the time, but at least I knew where I would be—and when I would be there.

The day I left I walked back to my office to gather my things and do you know what I walked out with?

My space heater, a planner full of deadlines—most already met for things that once held practical importance—a bottle of lotion and a pair of old tennis shoes. That’s it. After almost eight years at that place, those were the physical things that I took.

I think that when I realized that, that’s the first moment that I felt relief. I don’t know that I ever really belonged in that environment—in an office, at a desk by myself, playing the corporate game—and I never made it “my home.”

Despite putting forth my best effort every day, it never felt authentic, and along with that space heater, I realized I left there with something even more valuable.

I left with new perspective.

Until this happened, I never knew how many people cared. I never realized how many opportunities are out there. I never let myself think about doing something that I really wanted to do because I was comfortable—not hopeful for the future, but at least comfortable thinking I knew what that future was.

Now I don’t.

With that predictable perspective now shattered, I have to pick up the pieces and create something totally new. I’m still unemployed and freaked out, of course, but I’m also figuring out what it is that I want to do, not just what I thought that I should be doing. I’m trusting that something better can happen if I work my butt off to find it. I’m not stressing the way that I thought I would be an even feel a little bit hopeful.

I would say this is very un-Abby-like, but I don’t know that that would be true. I think this is very un-Abby-like for the person I was for too long. Maybe this is the Abby that I used to be.

Because the biggest thing I took from that job is that sometimes you have to let go—to what you think should be happening, to how you want certain people to be, to that predictable perspective that can dull the spark you have.

I didn’t get to do it on my terms, but this is my reality now. And while it’s scary not knowing here I will end up, I do know that if I’m brave enough to trust myself, to wake the hell up and find what it is that I need to be doing, that reality can be even better than it was before.

Hopefully next week along with some humor my update includes a new job, but if it doesn’t, I have to keep faith.

That’s what I took when I left. 

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28 responses to “What I Took When I Left

  1. I’m sorry, I missed your post about losing your job. What an awful situation for you to be in… I hope that you’re quickly successful with finding a new job! All the best… Thinking of you!

  2. I have found that the ability to “let it go” (damn that movie) is one of the hardest, yet most important to develop. When I went through my divorce I was forced to let a whole lot of my old life go and it hurt like hell, but three years later I am a much happier and calmer person for it. You’ll find the place that is right for you. I’m sure of it. And then when you look back, you’ll be glad that this event happened to catalyze a major life change.

    Oh, and you’ve got to make time for “Chopped” and fun reading. You never know when you’re going to have the ability to sit on the couch at 2:00 in the afternoon and binge watch (or binge read) again!

  3. hollowtreeventures

    I loved reading this, Abby. That perspective is so hard to find, and so crucial to moving on to something better – which I know you’ll find soon! Which is why we have to get together for lunch sometime before your days fill up too much with the next adventure. 😉

  4. I’m so sorry. I’ve been reading along but forgetting to comment because I suck and am self-absorbed with my own depression.

    Hang in there, you’re an amazing woman

  5. Oh sheesh, that sucks. I have no idea what your job description was, but you mentioned corporate world and I’ve got to say it -you are so stinkin’ talented. I’m not even blowing smoke here. There’s a whole gaggle of us freakishly, issue-burdened, gals that would agree with that. YOU CRACK US UP DAILY. Do you know how important that is for some of us? That laugh from one of your posts can get us through the day a little bit longer. That connection that there’s other women like “us”? You are so witty and creative. You’ve got something going with all this…follow your heart [insert cliche here]. I’m 33 too (!) and found myself floundering at one time (okay several times) and Jon Acuff’s books not only cracked me up but gave me motivation and perspective. Sorry to add a commercial there at the end but the guy in hilarious AND insightful. God bless ya ~ I’ll pray for you. 🙂

  6. Keeping you in my thoughts, Abby! I have faith that this ending is going to spur you on to even greater beginnings.

  7. Sorry, I also missed last week’s post somehow – I would have responded then has I known.

    I lost my job on my oldest daughter’s 16th birthday. I cried, and she had to comfort me. But as it turned out, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I really hated that job I lost, and within not too long a period of time, I found something more in line with my abilities, and I’ve stayed there for 15 years so far.

    And, of course, Cordelia quit her day job (I thought she was nuts), and then was able to build her own freelancing and editing business, with which she is now supporting herself and her disabled husband.

    With your skills and personality, I’m sure you’ll find your way to something way better than what you had. Maybe by the time you read this comment, it will have already happened for you.

  8. One thing I do know, cousin, is your are one of most talented and passionate writers I’ve ever read. Your place in this world was not necessarily meant to be in a corporate cubicle – that may pay the bills, but you’re talents stretch so far beyond. I love you and support you in whatever you do.

  9. Fly. That is what you can do now. Take your life back. Yes, we all need work, but we don’t necessarily need jobs. We don’t all need or want traditional employment. It’s not the same thing anymore. Knowledge workers really don’t need employment unless you decide you want a false security blanket again.

    The best security is providing services to multiple clients so that your fate is not being decided by a group of people who ultimately just don’t care about you.

    The last job I walked out of was for a terrible law firm where the partner barked like a dog at his staff. I lasted there a grand six months, and that was only because I had a house I had to get rented to tenants and a car I wanted to pay off. But yeah, when I left that place I left with my purse.

    They had already taken my dignity and sanity because I stayed there and took the abuse because I felt that I had to do what I had to do out of financial necessity. I should have walked out the day the abuse started. I would have bootstrapped it and waited tables or sold the stupid car if I had to. Being miserable for money is bullshit and I wish I could get that time back and do it over.

    Sorry, I’m rambling. The point is you will absolutely find a better way. You may make less money at first or feel less secure. But I’m betting in the end you will like being an eagle, and not a monkey in the job cage. I’m pulling for you.

  10. “sometimes you have to let go—to what you think should be happening, to how you want certain people to be, to that predictable perspective that can dull the spark you have”

    that you took this important and valuable truth with you is a good thing – I so get the security, but security is often stifling and rarely exciting, and you are meant for bigger things – let your talents and interests point you in the right direction.

    thinking of you xo

  11. I’ve been lucky and never been unemployed, but I have worked jobs that ground me down daily. My most sincere hope is that you find a job that fulfills you and quickly.

  12. I’m glad to read this blog and learn that you are coping…rather well, I might add. I never got fired from a job but I can relate in a way. When my husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness and then died 6 months later, I felt very lost. But I was determined to find something good about every day and I am now so busy, I can hardly keep up.

  13. Abby, you’ve got this. There are tons of inspirational one-liners that I could throw your way, but you’ve read them all too many times to count at this point, so that’s really all I can tell you: You’ve got this. Awesome things are ahead.

  14. Abby, I missed the original post, but I know just how you feel. I was “re-structured” out of my job in late July. A complete shock, given that I had exceeded my goals and left the organization in a better place than when I found it. But, in the end, it was a great gift. I was miserable there. Every minute of every day, I knew I didn’t belong there. The day they terminated my employment, I felt free. A little scared, as the single mother of a child, but mostly free. I networked and sent resumes, of course, but I also took the time to meditate, walk in the woods, write more and realize, for the first time, that I could create my own reality. I focused intensely on what made me happy, and good things happened. I don’t mean to sound too “new-agey,” but because of that journey, I’ve honestly never been happier…and it keeps getting better. I started my new job two weeks before my severance ended, and many other doors are opening. Mostly because I had been the one keeping them shut.

    You’re too gifted not to succeed. I hope you believe that.

    • You don’t know how much this comment means to me. Right now it’s the insurance thing freaking me out, but I am keeping that tiny spark of optimism and hope that what I’m meant to do with happen, that I can start over with something brand new. Again, fingers crossed, adn thank you so much.

  15. I know this must be terrifying, but, you’ve got this. You already have an amazingly healthy perspective on it, and that’s half the battle.

  16. whats the thing about letting go?…Yes!, new doors are open for excellent opportunities to tap in. No regrets,just lessons! All the best Abby!!!

  17. Sometimes, alright lots of times actually, you find out what you’re truly capable of when the chips are down. You realize how scary life can be, but also how strong you are as well. It’s a hard time to learn a lesson, but if you’ve learned one, and you have, you’re doing it right. You’re amazing.

  18. This is beautiful. I can’t wait to see what you do next! I just know it will be better (for you).

  19. Well done Abby; you are a very wise woman and your insights provide me with inspiration to move forward with some new projects. Thank you.

  20. Gosh the response on this has been overwhelming! I cant help but add my two cents in here as well. Absolutely hit the nail on the head when you said that you didn’t get to do it on your terms but that’s just your reality. That is kind of the way of things sometimes isn’t it? I am finding myself in a similar point in my life as well.. just kind of not sure what my plan is anymore and looking for new things. It is kind of exciting though isn’t it? To be the keeper of brilliance and be able to realize it? This unfortunate event will be the turning point for you I bet. I think that’s the way those things work. At least that’s what I’m hoping. And here’s to it! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Everything happens for a reason. Keep your eyes open and when opportunity knocks, open the door. It will be interesting to see what’s your next chapter!

  22. I meant to reach out earlier when I first saw what happened, but time got away from me. I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through (and sad that I won’t be working directly with you on a professional level). But at the same time — especially after reading this post — I’m also excited for the new perspective you’ve gained and what the future holds for you. I think so many people can relate to where you were and where you are now. It’s definitely the fear of the unknown that keeps us from venturing outside our comfort zone (even though we may not be all that happy there).

    Bottom line, you’re extremely talented and you’re a kickass writer. Something will come along. I’ve got faith too.

    I plan on following your updates and keeping in touch. 🙂

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