I remember this one December evening in 2002 vividly. I was sitting in my apartment at the time and for the first time in about 18 months, I felt a little more relaxed. I was employed again, I had worked through some quarter life self identity issues with a wonderful counselor that summer and fall, and released some old relationships and patterns and the bad feelings that went with them. I finally felt more like me.
I’m glad I found that space then – mentally and emotionally – because in 4 more months I would be laid off, again. It would be my third layoff in 2 years. I had just turned 25.
The first two layoffs threw me into tailspins. I was an amazing student in school and so finding a job was the project, the task, the problem to solve. I don’t thrive under scary stress like wondering how I’ll pay rent, yet I didn’t have a choice here. I focused in a way that only top performers can do. If I cried and felt sorry for myself and my circumstances, I did so for a little bit and then picked myself up and got on with looking for work. And I buried any extra grief and shame I felt about being laid off.
Here’s the thing about being laid off — Anyone who has been knows it isn’t her fault. Well-meaning folks said that to me and I already knew it wasn’t my fault. At its core, there is almost always an organization that is unraveling from within, lost money, didn’t get funded, and now has to deal with the reality of the risk or the poor decisions that C level execs made. It has nothing to do with something you or I did or didn’t do. And yet there I was hearing horrible message after horrible message – as a 24 year old! – about how marketing isn’t a revenue generating role…how I wasn’t as valuable since I wasn’t a sales rep or an IT developer…how could I have made that mistake on the press release?…how I was too young to be a sales rep…
Yes, all of the above and many other words were said to me during my early twenties while I worked at those companies and at the time of the pink slip. The stories went ON. The blaming went on. The projecting of mistakes, fears, and insecurities in a post-9/11 world onto 20 year olds went on. I was 23, 24, and 25. I was that young. And while there’s something to be said for the real world life lessons after college, there’s also something to be said for empathy, honesty and integrity.
Those stories are the records my brain would play over and over again for years. Stories of unworthiness.
I would be laid off again when I was 32, this time with an 18-month old and right at Christmas. I took some time to grieve and enjoy being with my toddler but my next decision would be rooted in these stories and themes. I would start a company and come into it from an excited place – a place of feeling rejuvenated through my child – to serve youth and family programming – only to face the old monsters again and again.
Chrissie DiAngelus is an entrepreneur, seasoned marketing/communications professional, and mentor to soul centered entrepreneurs. She has worked with entrepreneurs, professionals, artists, small businesses and non profits for over 15 years to develop clear consistent marketing communications strategies that show value and position clients for success.
She founded Marketing Mentor in 2015 to answer a higher calling to be more and do more, especially for passionate ambitious women entrepreneurs. She helps you out of overwhelm, struggle, and breakthrough stuck points in your business. She helps you to think differently, perform with integrity, and become the leader and CEO of you that you are destined to be. Her specialties are business strategy and personal branding, all of which stem from solid self awareness and mindset work. Interested in learning how you can work together? Fill out the form and she’ll be in touch.