Since the creation of PaisleyPerspective, I mentioned in prior posts that I was unemployed due to a reduction in force. I am happy to say that I am now employed using my 20 plus years of professional experience in the property and casualty insurance industry. All the areas that I have worked and all my experience are used each day in my new job. It is an awesome feeling to work in a place that is positive as well as has an outlet for me to write, I was able to create a blog at my job. However, I must admit this journey did test my faith but I believe I passed the test.
My journey down this road began in the Fall of 2009, when an email was sent to all employees indicating reorganizational changes were in the horizon. If you recall this was during the roughest period of what is now deemed as “The Great Recession”. Jobs being loss and sales declining trickled their way down to the commercial insurance business in summary reducing premium and increasing losses. So there I was reading about changes that might impact my livelihood and me. Never did I think it would really affect me, yes I was that arrogant.
Then the first of the reduction in forces came on none other than the day before Halloween and co-workers that I knew were given dire news. The reality of what might come my was right there in my face. Over the next months we were given the opportunity to say good-byes since the position eliminations were out two months. There was a span of time until the next wave and then on July 1st, I received “the email” advising me to meet in the conference room.
I felt like I was in a Charlie Brown cartoon, you know where the adults speak like “wha wha, wha wha”. I along with other co-workers were advised that our last day would be September 3rd, so after being given the news, I thought oh I surely will have found employment by that date. So on a Thursday with my birthday a few days away I went home for a long weekend. The following week the job hunt began and the referrals to positions were sent my way. I interviewed and sent resumes out to friends and posted on various government sites. Even while attending the 50th National Convention of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated in New Orleans, I visited the job fair area looking sharp with resumes in hand.
Returning to work after New Orleans there was less than a month before the separation date. I began to feel a little less easy about what was to come. The week of September 3rd we met with the state unemployment agency representatives in our office and filled out paperwork. Early in the week I had cleaned out the massive amount of paper and accumulation of 5 years of projects into recycle bins. In addition to my 5 years in the Information Systems department, I was approaching 13 years with the company. I was mad the whole last week. And my signature saying during this time was being tested. When asked how I was doing, I would say, “I was blessed before and I will be blessed after”. I begin to focus on the things that I really needed and reduced my budget. I received a severance package; however, it was significantly reduced by taxes. Still it was good padding to add to other savings.
I was successful at landing interviews but not landing the job, I begin to question whether I should keep my dreadlocs in their current style. Maybe I should pull back my hair or even cut them out. Were people judging me by my hair? I was always professional never being to bubbly or outgoing, which most know is my normal personality. I knew that my dress was always interview appropriate but what was I doing wrong. The response most times was the same you have a vast amount of experience but we need specific experience that you do not possess. One of the saving factors during this time was my involvement with South Carolina Democratic Party and Organizing for America.-South Carolina (OFA_SC) I was serving as a Volunteer New Media Lead and responsible for postings in Facebook, Twitter, and blogs for OFA_SC.
I was also able to visit with my mother and grandmother for extended amounts of days. I made it a point not to be home very much. Even though as I now look back maybe I could have done a little more home organizing but oh well. I did get some things done, even when my laptop zonked out the day I was working on a dream job application. During the six months that I was unemployed I was able to purchase a MacBook and even an iPhone4 and still have significant savings.
There were deep discussions with God during my months of unemployment. When I went for my first unemployment benefits review I was happy to tell the case worker that I was scheduled for an interview. I didn’t get the job they decided to staff in another state but then the second benefits review I reported I will start work on Monday. Being able to say those words, I have a job uplifted my self-esteem that had become tarnished and a little dinged. The job that I have now I went with hair still in dreadlocs and let the happiness in me come out that along with perfect combination of experience landed me a job I enjoy in a place that I like to go to each day.
For every set back that came my way, not getting a job or having to purchase a new fuel pump I tried to be faithful to my Christian beliefs. I tithed my unemployment check and I helped others if I was able. I gave of my time and the idea of this blog was born with the help of dear friends from as far back as high school.
I am working in an office using experience that God helped me to get along the way. By listening to him and knowing that not once have I gone hungry in my life, a blessing in itself I knew I would make it through. I realize too that I would have never looked for or applied for this position if I were at my previous employer and I believe this to be the next stepping-stone of my career. Finally we don’t know the whole plan that God has for us but if we have faith in him we will be okay.