Reflections on Losing My Job of 20 Years

Early this year I was informed I would be losing my job of the past 20 years. That is basically my entire career. I only worked professionally in one other place for about a year before moving to this job. Over the years I wore many hats: started as a designer for the newly formed “Internet Department” and as things progressed, I eventually landed in a Project Manager and User Experience Manager Role.

Honestly, it was a bit of a relief when I finally was told it was over though.

I’ve been prepared to lose my job for some time – a year+ ago a large amount of the staff was let go and more left through the year. So it felt my end would also be coming, eventually. I’ve been mentally thinking about it for almost two years. On top of that, I’d been dissatisfied for many years, and wanting to make a break – so it being forced on me was welcome, in a way.

But it is hard, really SO hard. Even though I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a nice severance package, and have had several months to prepare along with a career-building team brought in to help and workshops on healthcare, finances, an incredibly supportive family and more. . . It still looms. Every now and then terror and melancholy hit me.

20 years. TWENTY years. That is a whole lifetime really. That is so many friends made, people met, experiences had, lessons learned, tears shed, laughter shared, stress-induced sleepless nights, chaos, memories and so much more.

So I do want to stop for a moment – NEED to stop – and reflect on all of it, appreciate it and acknowledge the impact of this. It is no small thing.

But I am going to keep my head up, my energy positive, and be excited for what is to come – I think there are GREAT things to come for me. I’ve been provided an opportunity and I am not going to waste it. I will look back at these 20 years fondly and appreciate all they brought me to help me through the next 20 years!

Working From Home, Actually Working.

Earlier this year I was informed I was being laid off my job of the past 20 years in a few months. Knowing this was coming, and that I am not able to move, I began looking into Remote work opportunities. We live in a rural community, so I believe this is my best option.

As I began honing in on a plan, updating my resume, understanding what roles are out there for Remote work, it became evident I needed a real work space. It’s all too easy to take a nap, or watch some TV when you are settled in, all comfortable on the couch with your laptop.

Occasionally, I work from home for my current job, and wind up with horrible back pain. At the office, I have been using a stand up work station for five years and I love it. It eliminated a lot of pain I was having. It also makes me feel energized and active. When I do sit, I feel very low-energy and find it difficult to concentrate.

So I finally made the plunge, and invested in a stand up desk, two new monitors, a docking station, and updated the office with a new coat of paint, rug and moved around the existing furniture so my partner and I can share the space.

I can’t wait to start using it as a dedicated working space! I’m excited now and really feel like I’m on the right path.

Next up: Google analytics certification, ACP certification and, the dreaded PMP certification.

PMI ACP Certification

ACP Certification – Agile Certified Professional – is a certification from PMI (Project Management Institute, the industry-standard for project management certifications). In order to take the test, one must first apply for it on the PMI website, and meet a certain amount of qualifications:

1. A high school diploma, secondary degree or associate’s degree
2. 2000 hours working in a team in projects
3. Worked for 1500 hours on teams that used agile methodology
4. 21 hours in approved training on agile practices

Once you apply and fill in all the information (this is quite tedious), you then wait to see if you get accepted, or audited. Right now I am waiting to be accepted. When you do get accepted, you then pay for and schedule the test.

There are different online self-guided training courses a person can take, or live online leader-lead course, or even in-person classes. Most of them take up about two days of classes, and cost goes up depending on your choice. For me, I am trying the most low-cost option first (self-guided) to see if that is enough.

I currently have two days planned of training (to meet my 21 hour requirement, I already checked that the training I selected is approved by PMI), then I plan to study a few more days, take a couple batches of “test” exams, and then hope to take my exam a few weeks later.

The exam is a three hour, in-person exam with 120 multiple-choice questions, and costs $439 for members of PMI (which I am). Yikes!

One off the Bucket List: Make Cat Vomit

Cat
Poor kitty had a bad morning!

I can scratch one more thing off my Bucket List now! Exciting day here…. Ritter our ale Ocicat was sitting in the bathroom with me while I applied a careful coat of makeup. He was having much fun with a small elastic hair band. Oh, so cute I thought.

Then it occurred to me he was making some weird noises. What was he doing? Oh hell no. Oh hell yes! Did to just EAT the hair tie. Yes, yes he did. We joke Ritter is “special” – but I didn’t realize he was so special he thought a hair tie was for eating. Sigh.

I have, in the past, deeply regretted not taking action when a pet ate something suspicious, so,I went with my gut here. I quickly googled, “how to make a cat puke”. Then I measured out three teaspoons of peroxide (oh don’t worry, we have stock in peroxide in this house), snatched a dropper out of some other thing in the fridge, and went for Ritter.

Poor thing.

I am thankful he is so trusting and kept believing me when I said I didn’t have that thing in my hand….honest. Took three droppers worth, and about 10 minutes later, poor Ritter puked up the peroxide, plus hair band.

Mission accomplished! And it wasn’t all that difficult. And now I don’t have to worry about the hair band twisting up in his intestines and causing a blockage and other horrible things!

Note to self: put hair bands AWAY!

Recipe: Harvest Quinoa Salad

1 cup Red Quiona – rinsed and cooked (cook like rice)
1 cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Bag – 1cup? Chopped Pecans
1 cup diced apples
1 cup diced roasted golden beets (optional, I happened to have them on hand)
1 cup reduced fat feta
1 tsp each: cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg
Bag of romaine hearts, torn

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Cook & cool quinoa, then mix everything together with the Romain.

Dressing:
1/4 cup EVOO
1/4 Maple Syrup
1/4 Water
1 TB Dijon Mustard
2 TB Orange Juice
3 TB (or to taste) Balsamic