Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What I Learned Today

This post is a bit emotional for me...

Just before I was hired by the company I just left this week in September of 2007, I was laid off by the company I worked for at the time. I had only been there about 6 months and it devastated me. The company was locally owned and was an ad agency and I had always dreamed of being an Advertising Executive (the movie What Women Want probably helped with that).

I truly loved my role there. I loved the people I worked with. There were fiftyish people employed there and we were a family. All very close, eating lunch together, traveling together, failing together, succeeding together. When one of the employees was on a diet...everyone else supported them and cheered them on. It was honestly the best place I ever worked.

To lose the job I loved so much was a cruel blow and I really had no idea what I was going to do. The office manager/HR Director was literally crying when she told me they had to let me go. She was so upset at the thought of losing me and before I left her office I was consoling her. "I'll be OK Stevie. I promise. I'm resilient and I know something great is coming for me. One day I'm going to see you out somewhere and you'll see how wonderful this is going to be for me. Thank you so much for the opportunity."

I left the building that day sobbing and completely not believing anything I had said to her. I really just wanted to make her feel better because she had taken a chance on me when others hadn't and it had worked out for both of us until the bottom fell out and the owner had to let people go. In one day the company went from employing 50ish people to employing 15.

Fast forward...6+ years in the future, I've been hired by my current employer and they are in the process of doing my background check. I got an email from the verification company performing the background check this afternoon saying that they weren't able to get confirmation that I worked at this ad agency. I was confused. Until I realized that it was my name causing the problem. In the 6+ years since they laid me off I've gotten married and the agency knew me as Shelley (because that's my outside the office name) but the verification comany was asking for me by my legal name. They wanted information for someone the agency had never heard of so the agency couldn't provide it.

Once I got the email I called my old employer to let them know what was going on and to ask for their help...and I'm so glad I did. I'm so incredibly glad I reconnected with them. I spoke with many of my old coworkers as they literally transferred my call from one to the next to the next to the next. They all wanted to see wedding and baby pics and to know how I am because in the 6+ years since I left them they have wondered how I am often. My name still comes up around the lunch table. Silly things I said, did, gifts I gave, cookies I baked, goofy things I did while traveling for work. And when they finally put me through to the HR Director, Stevie...she had tears in her voice when she told me she was so glad that my predicition came true.

You see...she knew all those years ago that when I told her I was going to be OK I didn't mean it...We both knew it. I was devastated and trying to be strong. My 24 year old self was trying to be brave in the face of such uncertainty. So for her to finally find out what happened to me was beautiful for her and for me. To be reminded of that day and to see where I came from and how bold I was then and to see where I have grown and how much and how far...It amazes me.

I'm also just in awe that 6 months of working with these people left such an impression that 6+ years later they still talk about me and wonder about me and laugh at me. It's so flattering and incredibly humbling to know they still think so highly of me that they would pass my call around and immediately call the verification company while I was still on the line so they could assure me that they did their part to advance my future. I hung up the phone in tears but oh my word what happy tears they were.

The lesson for me in all of this is that who I am, while not strictly buttoned up and professional, is someone who makes strong connections. That I am apparently someone who leaves a very lasting good impression. In my career I have been told many times that I am too happy. Too perky. Too caring. But now I know...Those jobs just weren't right for me. They didn't value me and my personality and who I strive to be everyday. I hung up that call today thinking about exactly how lucky I am that I've found my place.

I'm so glad that I am who I am and that I've always been this person, no matter what. I'm so glad I've always tried to be a kind, caring, perky, happy person because in the end...that's who I am and it's obviously paid off.

Have any of you ever experienced this? Tell me about it in the comments.


PS: Be sure to find me on Facebook here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley. You can also find me on Instagram as InANutShelley.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This story from your life is very encouraging! Glad things worked out for you as well. It also shows the value in developing good relationships with those around us, no matter how long our time with them may be as life and its circumstances can change in an instance.

Good post, Shelley!