Silver, Gold, and Platinum Linings

I was laid off from my job a couple of years ago.  It … was not a fantastic moment in my life.  My wife was pregnant and I was numb and hurt (and angry) by the way the downsizing was handled.  But while it felt like the end of the world when it happened, there were some silver linings.

I hated working on my resume before the layoff, which is one of the reasons I was still at the company when the final curtain dropped (because let’s face it, we all saw the end coming, we just didn’t want to see it).  Now, after extensive practice, I’m pretty good at it and can crank one out for a job opening in about an hour.

I was terrible at networking.  I’m, well, I’m still not great at it, because in large groups of strangers I tend to be shy about introducing myself, but I’m a lot better than I used to be.

Through an unemployment service, I had the opportunity to first attend, and then start facilitating various workshops. It was a great experience, and I discovered I’m actually pretty good at facilitating, not to mention that I loved the give and take of interacting with large groups.

I had A LOT more time for writing.  I don’t think I’ve been as productive a writer since college (when I was young enough to stay up insanely late and still manage to get through the following day).  Having a day job seriously impacts the amount of time one can dedicate to writing.

I discovered what an incredible support network I have in my friends and family.  I owe so much to so many people who helped me out.  I now know just who I could call if I ever needed help moving a body, and that list is longer than I would have ever imagined it could be two years ago.

Most importantly, I had the opportunity to spend more time with my family at a critical moment in our journey.  I was able to go to every doctor’s appointment my wife had during the pregnancy, see the little flashing lights on the untrasound screen develop into actual baby shapes, and I was with her and my babies for the first six months after the birth.  This was an amazing time, and I wouldn’t trade those moments for the highest-paid job in the world, even a job I really loved.  I witnessed key moments in my kids’ development, moments I’m painfully aware I’m missing now that I’m back at work.

Times are tough right now.  The economy has gotten better since I lost that job, but things have a long way to go before they’re ‘back to normal’ (if that’s even possible).  Which is all the more reason why it’s important to remember that when bad things happen, there are positive outcomes associated with them.  Maybe not as many positive outcomes as associated with good things happening, but there are reasons to be thankful.

Which is good to know, because things are starting to look uncertain at my current job….


  1. Great post, Ian, and a good reminder. A number of years ago, I went overseas to work in Ireland. I had this whole narrative playing out in my head, in which I would work for a year or two as a glamorous expat and “find myself” along the way, then move back to Canada and settle in Toronto.

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a job and had to come home after a few months. It took me a long time to get over the failure of that narrative. But it did mean that I landed in Toronto in time to pick up a good government job that might not have been there if I’d arrived later. And later that year, I found NaNoWriMo, from which many, many good things flowed – including TDP. 🙂


  2. Definitely a great and timely read for me too, Ian. Thanks for putting this out there.

  3. Siri, thanks! Bummer about Ireland not working out (I used to fantasize about living in the UK), but at least things worked out. And yes, NaNoWriMo! 🙂 And TDP!!! 🙂

    Dave, glad to hear you found it timely. I hope it helps. Even when presented with the silver linings, I can’t help but wonder what the heck is going on with this country outsourcing all its manufacturing overseas. At least you got a severance package! 😉

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