Hi, my name is Terrah and I’ve been laid off two times in twelve months. Frustrated? Disheartened? Worried? Not at all! I’ve taken on the attitude that my job will not define me, nor will the state of the economy deter me from fulfilling my dreams. A very surprising merger forced me from my job as product marketing manager where I was responsible for promoting our company’s newly developed environmental sustainability program. Just as I was getting to understand a new industry and become proficient in terms like “carbon footprint,” “corporate compliance,” and “Sarbanes Oxley,” I found myself sitting in interviews, negotiating my next salary.
Nearly six months later, my second lay-off came as quite a surprise. It was a Monday afternoon. I was busy planning all the details for an upcoming trade-show, when I got a call from our CEO. “Hello, Terrah, as you know, business is hard and the economy is really hurting us…we are eliminating a few positions within the company and yours is one of them.” Scratch, caw, owww, buurrrrp, kuucccchhh, beep. I didn’t hear anything he said after that, I was just holding back tears and contemplating if I should tell my husband before he left on a golf trip with the boys. My first reaction was to ask questions like, ” was there anything I could have done differently?” It was disturbingly reminiscent of a high-school break-up. My former boss and I set up a meeting for an exit interview and attempted to make me feel better by saying, “you are going to be great in whatever you do, Terrah, I will serve as a reference for you.”
This is about the time that I was able to take a deep breath and realize just how terribly caught up I had gotten in my job. I had no balance in my life. I was working from 7am-11pm from my home, with nobody to talk to but my dog, Lucky. I was always under pressure and too tired to enjoy the things that truly made me happy, like spending time with my friends, visiting family and traveling.
I began to really contemplate what I wanted for my life and my career. I’ve decided to look for a job that fits my personality and my talents as opposed to molding myself for a job. I’ve been networking, meeting with recruiters, total strangers, dodging news about the economy and staying true to my goals.
What I’ve discovered is that I really need a vacation, much more than I need a check in the mail or a new title behind my name. My sudden unemployment has rekindled a long-time dream of mine; I want to go away, for at least a month, live on an Italian Vineyard in Tuscany, learn how to cook authentic Italian meals, speak the language, squash grapes beneath my bare feet and immerse myself in Italian culture. I believe there is great power in thoughts and words, so I have put my dream right out there for everyone to hold. I’m hoping someone I meet will have a cousin, Jean Carlo or an aunt, Allessandra, who lives on a beautiful vineyard in Italy and wants to adopt an American woman for a couple of weeks.
Here is a recent email I wrote to my friend, Kelly:
Kelly, I wanted to let you know that I am available and on the market… for a job that is. I am being laid off at the end of the month from my cushy marketing job with a software company. Perhaps you might have clients or peers seeking a marketing professional with a background in journalism, proficient in product marketing, public relations, event planning and passionate about consumer insight and brand strategy. I have attached my resume and linkedin profile. Do you have anything in mind? I just need the introduction and I’ll take it from there. On a side-note, I need a vacation to re-center and refocus my energy. I’ve been caught up in the rat race of professional being and I need a safe-place to contemplate who I am and what I want for my life. My long-time dream has been to live on a vineyard in Tuscany (or any Italian province) and stay with an Italian family who will teach me how to cook authentic Italian, speak the language, teach me about the art of winemaking/harvesting/bottling and in turn I will teach them English as a second language and work around the vineyard. Do you know of anyone who can help me fulfill my dream? Cooking is an extension of family and food is something to be thoroughly enjoyed. I want to experience that for 3 weeks to a month. Hope you can help.
Laid-off and leaving for Italy