Well, maybe “laid off” is a better term. It was my 18-year-old daughter who did the firing. (I’m still employed by the 12-year-old).
Like most lay-offs, I didn’t see it coming.
I mean, I’ve heard of it happening to other people, but until it happens to you, you are not really prepared for it.
I’ve been employed as “mom” for 18 years and 9 months. Like most people entering their first job, I had zero experience and a blank resume. I did, however, have the desire, the tenacity, and the “willingness to work hard” that most employers look for when hiring for entry-level positions.
I am not going to lie. The job has been challenging and has brought me to my knees many times.
As others in my industry know, the pay is terrible, but the benefits are great. Side note: I also shared duties with a co-worker who happens to be my husband of 25 years. He was, and is, the best coworker anyone could have. That has been another benefit of the job…the people I work with.
Anyway, as difficult as the job of being a mother to my first born was, I loved it. It was exhausting and frustrating at times. And honestly, there were many times I just wanted to quit. But the work was too important. Also, I was becoming experienced and more confident. So much so that I took on a second job 6 years into the first one with another daughter.
But back to my firing.
I should have seen it coming.
I was asked to do fewer and fewer tasks over the years. It seemed the “project” didn’t need me as much as it had when it was in its implementation phase. I was less of a manager and more of a financial backer it seemed. I was called upon for some emergencies, but for every day managerial tasks…not so much.
I volunteered to do extra work, but she wasn’t interested. The “project” moved to a different location about a year ago in the form of college, and I was left to work from home. I also had to delegate tasks and to anyone else who is a control freak, you know this is a tough thing to do.
I’d check in on phone calls, and I would have meetings and office visits, but it just wasn’t the same. I was becoming increasingly left out of the loop. Most of the time I wasn’t even privy to schedules or invited to meetings. The writing was on the wall.
The breaking point was about a month ago.
Outside industries were being unfair and taking advantage of my daughter. I felt that unethical practices were at play. I went to war with her rivals on her behalf without consulting with her first. I was outraged and indignant. My job as “mama bear” had been perfected over the years, and I felt very competent and comfortable in the role.
In this particular case, though, I let my emotions get the best of me and I was my most unprofessional self. In my defense, it was because I cared about the project so much! Couldn’t she see that?
My daughter felt otherwise and sat me down and with a grace and maturity that I had never seen (or never noticed) before. She said she was fine, and I overstepped my job duties. She could handle this. She was ok. She didn’t need me to interfere on her behalf.
It knocked the wind out of me.
What was she saying to me? Was I being phased out? Was I being fired? Yes. I was. The project was complete she said. I had done a good job. I had trained her well. My services were no longer needed.
I think this was meant to make me feel good. I think this was considered a good review. But why did it hurt so much? I guess because when you eat, sleep, and drink your job for 18 years you really don’t know what else to do with yourself when you are finally let go.
So, yes, I was fired from my full-time job and it was a blow to my ego and has left me a little sad and a little lost. I have more time on my hands now to do the things I’ve always wished I had more time to do, and I still have my second, equally important, job.
Overall, I feel OK about the work I’ve done despite my initial naivety, frequent errors, miscalculations, stupid mistakes and all the other things that can go sideways when learning on the job. I feel I have some more things to offer and who knows, maybe she’ll come to appreciate my services, values my input, or flat out miss working with me and give me a call occasionally.
If I’m lucky, she may even take me on as a part-time consultant. I’ll keep my phone on just in case.