So; what do you do when your life begins to disintegrate? Everything I thought I was, and had planned to be, was now falling away. Yet another relationship was over and though I felt lucky to be out of it the upset and turmoil which naturally comes after such an experience had a huge effect on my mood and self-esteem. My life seemed to be going nowhere and then came the final kick up the backside that was both devastating and liberating at the same time.
My uber-boss, as distinct from just my immediate boss, told me he wanted to meet with me ‘to discuss my future’. You can imagine how quickly the knots in my stomach began to form. In order to even be considered for this job I had had to pull out all stops. I had done well in my previous roles in the fashion industry but I had never been a buyer before – I had always been in product development, account management and sales – so moving across to buying was considered a big step up. A good work ethic is my minimum standard, so to say that I had worked my heart out to do well as a buyer was an understatement and yet my immediate boss had never seemed satisfied with me.
So there we were, the three of us – uber-boss, immediate boss and me – sitting uncomfortably around a small, round table in uber-boss’ office. We talked about the eighteen months of my employment and it was all very pseudo-civilised. My memory of what was actually said is patchy at best because I was so nervous, so I wont try to bore you with the details of the corporate-style, HR speak that went around the table for about an hour.
Looking back on this event it shocks me how little I really knew myself back then. I told them that this was my dream job and that I loved being a buyer. I reminded them of the fact that I had met all my targets and been paid all possible bonuses available to me during the course of my work with them, so I couldn’t be doing too badly…..could I? Despite my factual protestations I could feel that the guillotine was about to fall, but the death blow began with an unexpected confession. My immediate boss made it clear to me that she had only agreed to take me on because the person she really wanted for the role had gone back to the UK for a couple of years for family reasons. As she couldn’t have the person she wanted, she had had to make do with me. The other candidate would soon be moving back to Australia – hence our little chat – and now she wanted to get rid of me.
Like a fool, I burst into tears. Uggh!
Swoosh, chop, gone….
I left the offices that afternoon, never to return. After completing the obligatory rituals of clearing out my desk and saying farewell to a bunch of people I would never see again, out I stepped. “Ummm, just one small hitch folks, the car I arrived in this morning is a company car. How am I supposed to get home?”
Would you believe that it was my immediate boss who drove me? Sixty excruciating, hypocritical minutes as she chattered away telling me I would be fine, that she would write me a great reference and that it was actually down to her that our uber-boss had agreed to give me three months’ salary as severance pay – he was only going to give me two. She dropped me off with some glib remark about catching up at the gym soon and then scooted away.
As I climbed the three flights of stairs to my rented apartment in that upmarket, lower-northshore suburb of Sydney I felt devastated, humiliated, frightened, angry, hurt AND liberated all at the same time. I was as yet unable to explain the latter feeling because my Monkey Mind was still convinced that I had lost a great job and that my life was now in ruins. So I guess it was what I would now call my Soul or my Higher-Self that knew something I didn’t, because at the time all I could think about was getting back into the job market and into another role in the rag-trade as soon as possible. Little did I know that the Universe would kindly and lovingly slam every possible door to my old life squarely in my face, whilst also opening doors to a pathway I had hardly dared to dream of or acknowledge.
Was I willing to work in a fast-food outlet or clean other peoples’ houses in order to pay my way, keep my head above water and investigate these other possibilities? Willing or not, I had to do whatever I could do to survive while my world turned upside down and a whole new pathway began to emerge.