Three years ago, when I was laid off from my employer of 12 years I never thought I would be writing the words: Thank you for laying me off. The employer in question can be found on my LinkedIn profile. When I was laid off, I felt devastated, as at the time, I believed that if I was a loyal, hardworking employee with seniority, that my job would be secure job. What I did not know at the time is that no job is recession proof.
Why am I thankful for being laid off? Well, for 12 years, I had a good paying job with good benefits, but it was a job that I really did not like. I had graduated college with two liberal arts degrees and no idea of what I wanted to do. I had visited my school’s career service department, but that only helped me complete a resume, not figure out my career direction. What I did not know at the time was that I needed to find my own direction. What my former employer allowed me to do was establish a family and home with a good paying job and benefits. What my former employer did not allow me to do was to find career fulfillment.
What did my lay off do for me? Well, after 12 years of service to a fortune 500 company, I was provided with a very good severance package. I also qualified for unemployment. This allowed me to go back to school and earn my MBA. It also allowed to be financially sound while I interned in a new field, gaining experience to help in my career transition. My internship turned into a part time job at a local private college in a new field for me, career services.
Now, I work at a local non-profit as a career counselor. My goal is to transition to a local college and work in their career services department. To do this, I need a master’s degree and three years of experience. I just earned my master’s degree last May, and in May of 2015, I will have 3 years of experience in career services. I now work in a field where I look forward to coming into work on Mondays. Why am I thanking my former employer for laying me off? If I had not been laid off, I would still be going in to work each Monday to a job that I really did not like to a job with good benefits and pay, but no furfillment.
Oh, and on a final note, my former employer just sent me a letter and a package to cash out my pension. As an MBA, with a good understanding of how companies must list pension obligations on their balance sheets, they are “Companies eager to “de-risk” their long-term pension obligations”. Well, my answer to that is, no thank you. I will hold on to my pension, thank you.