The national economy has suffered and Floridians have been hit hard these past 3-4 years. Many adults with families to support have been faced with the challenges that come with losing a full time paycheck. Typically, a job loss is not well planned for by most people because many live paycheck to paycheck. For those that are fortunate enough to have a nest egg or receive a generous severance package, being laid off might be like having a mini-vacation of sorts. Eventually though, a reality check brings a person face to face with the mirror and the bank statement. Losing a job before the holidays is also like being kicked when you're down. That is what I experienced over 3 years ago. The way I see it, a job loss can be life changing. It is up to the individual whether or not the job loss defines them or is turned into a stepping stone. There are two choices to make and no time to waste.
With an incomplete college education I found myself considering returning to college soon after my lay off. Within 30 days I decided I should move forward and make the most of the time "off" while I continued to submit online job applications. I joined Linked In and didn't find a job, I walked the malls and found very few retail job openings for managers. The international company that I worked for decided to save 5 million dollars in the last quarter of 2009. 330 middle managers lost their jobs across the United States. I happened to be the only person out of 5 employees that had the magical title which brought our District Manager to see me personally! No pat on the back this time. Although he was a great boss it didn't really help me feel better when he told me, "You're eligible for rehire." I guess a good reference is better than a poor reference. Nonetheless, he wasn't going to pay my bills for me and Christmas was just around the corner.
The day I learned I was to be laid off because my position was being "eliminated" I was shocked. There's nothing like being told your job is not necessary any longer. Then what have been doing here working my tail off? Earlier in the year our company had sent out an email which was quite misleading to those of us working in management. It was obvious that retail sales were down and we struggled to sell every single customer that walked in our door. The corporate email we received stated specifically that all of the management employees would retain their jobs as long as we did not expect salary increases for a few years. That was somewhat comforting albeit disappointing, however, it seemed we were a few of the lucky ones. Throughout the mall several corporate chains had closed their lower volume stores and several independent businesses had filed bankruptcy. The mall management informed us that the commercial property was owned by a company that had filed bankruptcy also. We were waiting to see if our mall would get picked up by the same company that purchased the Altamonte Mall and turned into an upscale shopping mall. No such luck for the West Oaks Mall, our store was doomed for failure!
When a chapter of life ends, it's time to move on to the next chapter. The store might have failed to reach its annual sales goals but I wasn't a failure. I knew I had the average top sales figures for every hour I worked. It made absolutely no sense at all that the best salesperson was the only one to be let go. That's big business and what the bottom line does, it is not analytical or personal. The bottom line for an international business is simply numbers. The stores with the highest numbers didn't lose an employee. I was fortunate to have transferred to a lower volume store because had I been promoted in Altamonte Springs, I would not have left my job to return to college.
I'm thankful because my layoff changed my life for the better. Things happen for a reason, I don't believe in luck and I think it is up to us to make life happen. I must admit that I did mope around for several weeks after my layoff. Depression can destroy a person's desire to achieve anything. It is a black cloud of despair that must be dealt with! Sometimes a person needs to see a professional and that's what I did. I did not wait until I was convinced I wasn't worthy of making a contribution to society. I chose not to believe the lies that those that are over 40 and laid off are done. I am no where near ready to retire. Three years later I have completed my two year college degree and a professional scientific workplace preparedness certificate. I've decided on a new career in teaching because I was inspired by a teacher and finally realized why I have always been intrigued by life. As I sat in a biology lab one day I realized that studying plants and flowers (botany) was interesting to me. Most of my classmates were young and didn't really care. I noticed when I went home that alot of my wardrobe has floral prints and designs, the colors I like seem to be earth tones and bright colors. I'm addicted to flower gardening and I've always loved animals. I helped my childrens' dad go through college and veterinary medical school. I've been involved in the life sciences ever since I was a little girl and my grandmother taught me to grow flowers and feed birds in the winter time.
Spending a Saturday morning at a beach clean-up is an activity I enjoy. I was born to live at the beach, the ocean is my retreat and brings me such joy and peace. I grew up in Florida and spent many days and nights on sailboats, houseboats and motorboats with my family. Occasionally, I went canoeing when the opportunity presented itself. Discovering a passion for science gave me a foundation to build upon for a new career. I am still a few years away from teaching some of the courses I'd like to teach: biology, microbiology, anatomy & physiology, oceanography and environmental science. I do have a bit more studying to do but I have a purpose and know that teaching is what I do best. In every job I've ever held, I was always the one that was given the additional responsibility to provide training to new employees. It occurred to me that I usually enjoyed that part of my job more than the tedious and mundane tasks. I'm very happy to report that I'm no longer unemployed. Seeking higher education opened several doors to me.
I was offered a Student Assistant position working at my community college's wellness center in 2011. After a year on that job, it was time to move to another campus to continue my studies. It took just a few months but I was successful again, gaining employment on campus. These jobs working with instructors and professors have given me additional education and professional development opportunities that I would not have if I chose to attend school and not work part-time. I attend school full-time and work as much as possible. Additionally, I have my tutoring business and a small online retail sales business. These are two businesses I can work around my school schedule and they provide me an income and goals each month of the year. When I have breaks from school in the Spring and Winter, I ramp up my sales business. I no longer sit around waiting for an email or phone call from a job application. I still apply online or apply in person when I find an opportunity I am qualified for that might fit into my busy schedule.
But no more waiting around and certainly, no time for depressing thoughts. As my father always said, "You only live once." I understand what that means now that he is gone. I'll continue to seek opportunities to enhance the lives of others as I continue my education. God willing, I plan to teach biology and other science courses to college students one day! In the meantime, I will work with any age student that I am qualified to assist in any subject that I am capable of tutoring.
Currently, I am working part-time on the UCF-BCC Cocoa campus as a professional writing consultant (tutor) in the University Writing Center. I've received 6 weeks of training and professional development to acquire the necessary skills to assist undergraduate and graduate students, university faculty and staff. I'm well equipped to assist any age student with most writing assignments, including but not limited to: essay papers, book reports, marketing plans, nursing research papers and APA or MLA research projects. I also work with students that English is not their native language. Assisting international students is enjoyable and it does not matter what level of English tutoring is needed. I tutor all levels. In fact, my students range from age 5 to 60. I work with a kindergarten aged child that is left handed and learning to read and write. I also work with adults that are non-traditional college students returning to school after decades. There are several subjects that I am qualified to tutor and a full review of my public profile outlines the subjects and descriptions. Future subjects will include biology, chemistry and algebra. Feel free to contact me via email on this site if you have questions regarding tutoring. I'm here to help and usually respond within 24 hours.