January 29, 2012. At the time, I thought it was one of the worst days of my life. A Sunday morning. I remember it well.
The night before, I was in Niagara Falls. The Fallsview Casino, to be specific. Playing, and losing, a $20 bill. Something I enjoy doing from time to time. Not losing. I don’t enjoy losing. Playing a slot machine can be fun, though.
I received an unsettling text from a friend / co-worker. Carrie. Something was up. Something that didn’t sound good. Immediately I called my boss. He said, “we’ll talk Monday.” I responded, “no. We’ll talk tomorrow.”
The following morning, Sunday January 29, 2012, we met at the radio station. He informed me I was being let go. Not fired. Downsized. No fault of my own. In fact, he informed me that in the few short months I’d been with the company I had not only met, but actually exceeded all their expectations. Nevertheless, corporate was making cuts. I was one of them.
Let go for exceeding expectations.
With all the humiliation one can expect to feel in such a moment, my boss – or I suppose – former boss, escorted me out of the building.
I’m not a crying man, but I cried that morning. As soon as I climbed into my vehicle, I broke down.
My broadcasting career began in 1995. Never, in all those years of jobs in radio and television had I been let go before. In fact, the vast majority of my jobs came as a result of being recruited. People sought me out to come work for them. I’d worked hard to build a solid reputation.
Now I was just another broadcasting statistic. Another corporate layoff.
After a few minutes I collected myself enough to drive home. I called my girlfriend at the time. My mom. My dad. I told them what happened. When I got home, I climbed into bed and cried a little more.
I was unemployed.
Celebrating My Independence Day
It’s Friday January 29, 2016. Four years have passed since the day I was let go. Only, in the years that have passed my perspective has changed. Back then, I was another victim of another corporate cutback. All too common in broadcasting.
Now, looking back, I can clearly see I was liberated.
You see, if had never been downsized, it never would’ve forced me to follow my true dream. My voice over dream. My entrepreneurial dream.
Getting downsized, as it turns out, is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
What I had initially considered one of the worst days of my life, has now become one of the best.
So I celebrate.
Tonight, I’ll put on a suit. My girlfriend will put on a dress. We’ll head out for a fancy dinner in a fine restaurant. I’ll drop another $20 at the Fallsview.
God knew exactly what I needed back then. He knew what my heart desired. He knew I wasn’t brave enough to pursue it. So he nudged me. A forceful nudge right out the door and into the unemployment line, mind you. But a nudge nevertheless. He had my back then. He has my back now.
To Him, I’m eternally grateful.
Today, January 29, I celebrate my Independence Day.