Like so many others, I recently was furloughed from my job due to the Coronavirus. The news came with mixed emotions – fear and anger were the first to hit. Fear of what this meant, anger because of the unknown. What does “furloughed” mean anyway? I have projects that I’m finishing, vendors and clients that depend on me. And, how am I supposed to interpret that I “still technically have a job”???
What am I supposed to do now? Years of therapy taught me that my sense of calm comes from a sense of control. How do I gain control in the midst of uncertainty? This chapter of the story showed me a few things:
- A consistent schedule has helped me retain a feeling of control
- The unknown is scary, and I am terrified right now
- I’ve made a profound impact on people that I have worked with in the past and present
- It’s ok to not know what I want to do when I grow up
How did I get here?
Cry. My daughter was home when I got the news. News that made me feel unwanted, unskilled and unimportant. I have always prided myself as a mom on showing my daughter strength and agility in the face of adversity. So, I hid in my bathroom and cried…the picture of strength, right? This step though was critical. Feeling emotions makes us human and I had to allow myself to feel the pain of loss.
Straighten your crown. I am damn good at what I do. My job has always defined me as a person. After being a mom, I am a woman that excels at business. But, an overwhelming sense of inadequacy came with being furloughed (refer to Step 1 above). I needed to hear that I was as valuable as I believed. I took to my LinkedIn network and asked for recommendations. While my brain was foggy with thoughts of the future, copying and pasting requests was an action that gave me a feeling of control, which gave me a sense of purpose, and the recommendations I received reinforced my well being. Sometimes our self worth needs reminders, and others see us better than we see ourselves.
My crown is straight, my emotions in check….and now it’s Saturday.
Find purpose. The last time was I unemployed, I was a single mom with a mortgage desperate to make sure I took care of my daughter. Flash forward 13 years and I’m blessed to not have that level of desperation. I could take the time to find my purpose, instead of just a job (after all, I still technically have a job, right?). Instead of reassuring, this felt utterly paralyzing – I’m 48 years old, I don’t know anything else besides going to work every day. The next step for me has always been about need – a need to take care of my daughter, a need to be able to support my DSW shopping addiction, a need to feel productive, a need to be at work. For the first time, I found myself without a need and desperately searching for a purpose.
Find refuge in consistency. Finding my purpose is not going to happen overnight. So, I am sticking with the routines that have helped me through the Stay at Home orders – continuing to work out every morning (at 6AM though instead of 5AM), shower, get dressed and put on makeup, make a to do list for the day and week – consistency has kept me sane through the chaos of Coronavirus so far. Consistency will help me through this too…I hope.
I created this blog as an outlet to help me as well as other women through the uncertainties of life. This is one chapter in this part of story. I’m extremely lucky that our savings can last until July if needed. I realize that I may be in the minority, and that some of you are desperate to find that next role to keep food on your table. I get it, I’ve been there, and I’ll write about that story too. But don’t get me wrong, my desperation is there, as an undercurrent – the negative self talk still creeps into my mind often. What does the next chapter in the story bring?