I remember experiencing a really rough time in my job. I was going to therapy regularly, discovered I was hypertensive and by trying to comfort myself with junk food, had racked up a pretty high cholesterol level. The job paid more than I’d ever made before and I just couldn’t imagine making that kind of money anywhere else. There were elements of it that I enjoyed immensely, supporting nonprofit leaders and organizations in developing strong, fundable and sustainable programs. But the day-to-day environment depleted my spirit. I certainly didn’t think I’d find something comparable, especially in a down economy. So I chose to let the golden handcuffs hold me at bay. Then it happened, the decision was made for me, my entire office was laid off. My fear level was off the charts, I just knew I’d end up homeless. Anderson Cooper had been coming around my town doing stories on the tent camps that had begun springing up as people lost their homes, and I just knew I’d end up there.
As someone who can be quite anxious under normal circumstances, I knew I had to do my best to not to be swallowed up in the dark tunnel of fear. The glimmer of hope that I clung to was the fact that I’d been laid off before in other economic downturns and had felt the same fears. Yet looking back, each of these situations was the opening of a door into more fulfilling and financially rewarding work. I did not realize it at the time, but the conditions were created that allowed for a broadening of my knowledge and skills, placing me in stronger position to be more independent professionally.