Chapter 1: To Sink or Swim? That is the Question
Updated: Apr 9
An Unexpected Surprise
On April 1st, 2019, I walked into work, proud of myself for being early on such a cold Monday morning. I am not saying this because I am a tardy person, but because I was so used to working from home for the past few months, so for me to wake up early and make it into the office before 9am, made me very happy.
Once I reached my desk, opened my laptop, ready to tackle my morning, I was unexpectedly asked by my supervisor to come into the conference room via Slack messenger. Puzzled that he would be requesting a meeting so early in the morning, I stood up, and began to walk to the room. As I approached the glass doors that led to him, I saw him and the Head of HR , who lives out of state, and I felt a chill run down my spine. Now, keep in mind, I have never in all my years working in Corporate America been terminated from a job, however, in that moment, I knew they were not about to give me a promotion. Q1 had ended the day prior, however, despite me surpassing my sales goals that quarter and the one prior, I just felt it in my bones, that this "meeting" was not about to end well.
Once I sat down in the chair, I smiled, said good morning, but they both said it back dryly while slightly looking down at their laptops. Then he got right to it, and murmured the words I did not expect to hear, "Unfortunately, today will be your last day working with us." I instantly turned numb and couldn't help but to cut him off and ask him "WHY?!"
I just delivered great numbers the past 2 quarters, and all he can say was, "we do not think that this is a good fit, and that is all I can say since you are an 'at- will' employee."
'At- will employee?! What the heck does that mean?!' My inner self felt me reaching across the table to grab him by his neck, but I just stared at him and said "I have no idea what this means!" He apologized and then got up while saying, "I wish you all the best, take care, she will take it from here..." 'ummmm, what, sir?!' The audacity of him to think he can dump something like this on me on April Fool's Day! I was waiting for him to come back into the room and yell out, "April Fools!" but based off the tone of this story, I am sure you can conclude, that is not what happened.
While the Head of HR was trying to explain to me what happens next, a million things ran through my mind. However, I could not help but notice that she was quickly packing up her things. It appeared to me that she was trying to figure out how to get around me to leave the room. I then asked her, "where are you going?? I still have questions. He said you would answer my questions!" I tried my hardest not to raise my voice, my tone tends to rise when I get impatient or if I have a point to make; what can I say besides, it's the West Indian culture in me. In that moment, she already seemed very uneasy and scared of me, so I calmed down and asked her again, in a gentler tone, "what happens now?" She reassured me that she will send me an email on what happens next, as she scurried past me towards the door, which I was blocking... unintentionally. It's almost like she thought I was about to go all 'angry black woman' on her, and that annoyed me even more! As she walked out, I followed her back to my desk where I noticed, my laptop was already gone; I didn't even get the chance to log out of my personal email and ichat, and that infuriated me even more. Yes, it was time for me to leave this building before I really caused a scene!
I gathered my things and managed to make it outside where I met with my friend/ colleague whom I just texted about the termination. He too was in shock and reassured me that all will be well, while he assisted me with disconnecting my iPhone iCloud from the company laptop. I then reached out to my girls who worked uptown, and I met one of them at work to use her laptop to strategize next moves before meeting the other one to do the same. I literally felt like I had no time to waste because I had just moved back home to New Jersey from New York at the end of 2018, and had rent and bills to maintain with no regular income coming in now. 'What's next?!' is all I can think about! Despite the shock, my friends were amazed at how externally poised I was about all of this. I was able to remain calm on the outside because I kept hearing my Life Coach in my ear reminding me to control what I can, and since this was clearly out of my control, I was able to exude a very calm, slightly in-shock demeanor. All I can do is what I was doing, which was connecting with the people closest in my life at the time to come up with a plan that I will be able to execute. We created some S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant,Time-bound) which made me feel more confident as I ventured back to New Jersey.
Once I got home, I literally had to take a moment to let the reality of everything settle into my system. I cried while I prayed, asking God to please show me the way, since I know that He never gives me too much that I can't handle. I hugged my dog, and then did what I needed to do by researching and applying for unemployment, and then negotiated my severance pay. After all of that was done, I had a still moment. I realized that God just answered a prayer that I had for almost a year at that time. I prayed for freedom, peace of mind, and the ability to make money doing the things that I love to do, without answering to anyone. He may not have answered the prayer the way I expected Him to, however, He had just answered it by giving me the freedom that will ultimately lead to some peace of mind. Now it was up to me to decide how to make money doing the things that I love as my own boss!
A Blessing in Disguise
I did not inform my parents and sisters right away that I was without a job. I did not need the added stress of dealing with their emotions around it, nor did I need all the questions my parents were going to ask me about what I was going to do next. I was controlling what I could and maintaining the energy I was allowing around me at such a time in my life. I simply wrote out all the things I needed to do, managed all my bill due dates and figured out when all my payments were coming through to pay them on time. I reached out to my life coach and attended a networking business meeting with her bright and early the very next morning at 7am in NYC, and made some amazing contacts while there. That was my first time pitching my brand, A Colorful Dreamer, in front of a large room of people who were ready to listen; it felt great, and I made some amazing connections! Afterwards, I reached out to my best friend's cousin who is a graphic/web designer and inquired about her services to make this website and brand come to life.
The next weekend another friend blessed me with a ticket to a Black Women in Business Expo in Newark, NJ, right up the street from my house, and I made even more amazing contacts there as well. I felt like I was on the right path towards getting back to me, and the peace of mind I was in search of, I felt it settling in my spirit, and I embraced it with open arms. I cannot waste this time that I have been blessed with. I planned on making the best of it by being productive each day, even if that means I take a day or two of rest, and remind myself to celebrate all my small wins.
Later on, I would find out how this whole ordeal was a huge blessing in disguise that will teach me so much about how important it is for me to maintain and further implement my faith into my daily life. Ultimately, this will teach me how extremely resilient I am, and that God never gives me too much I can't handle.
Chapter 2 of my story will be revealed next Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.