I’m just curious: what would you do if you found out you have only two more days to work there?
On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, two days after I came back from visiting my cute little grandson (7 days old), I’ve got the “big” news: I’ll be out of job in two days! The government discontinued the mentoring program for professional newcomers that I’ve started back in 2007 (when I switched from engineering to coaching). I was not very surprised by their decision, since their new direction is creating community connections through group activities, not individual mentoring relationships. Yet… I didn’t expect their decision to “hit” me so suddenly!!!
I was in my manager’s office, listening to what he was telling me: how they all fought to save this program (especially since the government wants to strengthen the francophone community in Ontario), but it didn’t work! CIC wanted to cut exactly this position, and a receptionist’s one. I sat there, brave enough to listen more and say nothing, until my coordinator start saying how much she appreciated my work! That was too much!!! “If you appreciate me so much, how come I have to leave … so suddenly?” , a voice start screaming inside my head … until I burst in tears, giving place to a “poor me!” attitude. The program officially ends on March 31, but I had to leave earlier since I still had some vacation days, and they gave me a small “package” (one paid week for each year I worked there).
I couldn’t stay at work that day; still crying, I took my coat and rush out of the door to go home. Yet, I was also appreciative of the fact that they tried to save that position and the program; they even offered me a job starting April 1st, and a few days to decide if I accept it or not.
In fact, that bothered me even more than loosing my job! I had a few days to decide if I will accept a job offer that will leave out of job a good friend who was in divorce, has three children and no money from her husband, and very little chances to get another job (since she has a work permit, not the permanent residence yet). It was her position that was offered to me, because she’s on a contract that would not be renewed if I accept that position (I was a permanent employee, not on contract).
And that was not all: my mindset right now wouldn’t allow me to take a decision based only on external circumstances. I wanted to base my decision on what I want for myself, to help me move toward my dreams.
“It’s not the moment to think like that”, you might say, but for me …
I went through a huge struggle until Friday morning at 5am! 🙂 I wake up from a dream with the very clear sensation that, if I accept that position, I will continue MY “agony”. It’s been a while since I wanted to start looking for a new job (the program became a kind of routine for me after so many years), and I wanted to focus on my business even more. I’m so excited about the impact that my coaching could have on people, that I wanted to run my coaching business full time as soon as possible. As soon as I became clear about that, not accepting that job offer was the only acceptable decision for me! Not because someone else is involved, but because of me! I could go now toward companies, to help them tap more into the biggest resource they have: their employees! I want to help companies create a more positive environment, that fosters a better communication and collaboration, creative thinking and solutions, appreciates initiative… which leads to happier employees, increased productivity, customer satisfaction and profits! And when the employees are happier, they could focus on creating a better life for themselves too! 🙂
While Wednesday and Thursday I cried a lot, and couldn’t talk with anyone without starting to cry, Friday I went to work with a totally different attitude: happy, excited and ready to put in practice my new idea! My colleagues, who came to say encouraging words and how much they appreciated our work together, got puzzled by my excitement! Even I was surprised by such a quick bounce back! 🙂 I was able to take a decision based on what I want, and that decision seemed the right one for me… based on how it made me feel!
A day before, Thursday, I sent a message to all clients and mentors letting them know that the mentoring program is discontinued, and why. When emails start coming back with appreciation for the program, and sadness about what’s happening, I gathered all the messages into a file and sent it to my coordinator – in case they want to use it to get funding again (they expressed the willingness to do it).
I also sent a farewell message to all employees, thanking this organization for how it handled the situation, and for trusting my non-yet-proven abilities to design and implement such a program back in 2007, in a period of time when I was going trough a career change: their trust meant a lot to me!
Friday morning, I was invited by the General Manager in her office. It was obvious that she was affected by the decisions she had to make, it’s not easy to let people go! She started: “Well, we knew you have class, but your email to all employees proved it once again!”. 🙂 We had an interesting discussion in her office. “The only thing I don’t like about how the organization handled this decision”, I told her at one point, “is that you gave me only two days to wrap up a program developed in five years, and pass the documentation to my supervisor”. “You know why? We tried to save your position until the last minute: we got back to CIC, looked for other options… until it was too late and we had to tell you!” What could I ask for more?! In that moment, the last pieces of anger and resistance about what happened … melted away. “I hope to see you back soon”, she continued. Well, that was the moment to tell her my decision: thanking for the generous job offer (even the salary would be the same if I would’ve accepted), I told her my dream.. going toward the companies, to make them more “human”. She started to laugh, and I noticed her energy shifting. “If anyone can do it, you’re the one!”, she said smiling. And added how much she appreciated my work, not only with my program, but also my contribution to the organization level… and offered to give me a recommendation. Wow, if the General Manager offers to give you a recommendation, what can you ask for more?!
The funny thing about all these: few days before hearing the “big” news, I told a colleague “I’ve never worked more than five years in a position; I’ve wished it’s not the case this time.”
Well, I’ve got out of this job … exactly two weeks before accomplishing the five years! 🙂
After I’ve got the “big” news, she reminded me what I said … and we laughed together!
Pay attention what you wish for, it might happen! 🙂
Where am I now, a month after? Still excited about my new path, got new clients, delivered a workshop to students at TED Rogers School of Management (Ryerson University), a presentation to Districts B and H Toastmasters, invited to submit two workshops proposals and were accepted (one for Project Management Institute – SOC for their Professional Development Day; one for District 60 Toastmasters Spring Conference), a potential collaboration with the Bilingual Job Fair, featured two consecutive weeks in L’Express de Toronto (newspaper), interviewed by Radio Canada International (for Tam Tam and The Link segments), and other projects going on.
Was this the right decision for me? Time will tell!
And you… how quickly do you bounce back? 🙂
Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.