What I Learned From Being Laid Off

Something unexpected happened to me this time last year.

Yes, I turned 25, which officially meant I wasn’t in my early 20s anymore. But something else happened. A few days before my 25th birthday last year, I was laid off from my corporate job.

Wasn’t I supposed to “officially” be an adult at 25? Yeah, an unemployed one.

This time last year, I was doing everything the way I was supposed to. At least that’s how it looked on paper. In reality, my life was a compartmentalized routine. I spent weekends catching up on sleep I so desperately needed. I was practically a zombie from Monday through Friday. Woke up at 6am, went to work, worked anywhere from 9 to 12 hours per day, tried to work out on occasion to ward off the cellulite that was inevitably accumulating in the back of my thighs after sitting down all day, got home around 8:30pm, ate dinner, then went to bed to do it all over again.

I was drained. Not only by my routine, but the corporate culture of competitiveness I was dedicating my energy to. More was more, and to squeeze profits, less people doing more was even more. There was an undocumented system everyone was participating in, whether they wanted to or not. 

Where did I find the energy to keep going? What was such a motivator I was willing to put my mental and physical health on the line? And for what? Validation from coworkers? Money? A pat on the back?

Whatever it was, it didn’t matter at the time. I thought that participating in the system – and being the best at it – would prove my loyalty. And more naively, I thought that being loyal to another person’s vision meant they would be eternally loyal to me.

But here’s the rub. And not the kind of rub you look forward to. More like a Louis C.K. rub that’s very ironic, unwelcome and unexpected.

You can’t find your purpose being loyal to someone else’s vision. So when I was laid off, I simultaneously felt a sense of disappointment and relief. Because nothing you sacrifice will change this – no matter how many lunches you skip, hours you work, or projects you take on. I can’t find my purpose being loyal to someone else’s vision.

It took me an entire year to let that sink in. Nevertheless, here we are. One year later. One year wiser.

I walked away from the corporate world with a work ethic, resilience and stamina that rivals viagra. Except now, I’m using that energy to invest in the things, people and projects I believe in.

I can’t find my purpose being loyal to someone else’s vision.

Here’s to intuition + the universe leading us where we need to be. Here’s to 26.

With Ambition + Mischief

Sam



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