“Stories Make Us More Alive, More Human, More Courageous, More Loving.”– Madeleine L’Engle
Corporate Life Comes To A Screeching Halt
It was December 2nd, 2008 at 9:20 a.m. I was in my office at an asset management firm in Boston where I had been working for the past 20 yrs. When I joined the firm, I was just out of college. I began my career as an administrative assistant and worked my way up the corporate ladder to the level of vice president.
The phone rang that morning and I was asked by the director of marketing to come to her office. She had something she wanted to discuss. At the time it didn’t seem odd, as I knew restructuring was in the works and I honestly thought she wanted some input.
Minutes after the meeting, I was walking to human resources in a daze. I was being laid-off and was soon to learn that a considerable number of us were being let go that day. This included my own boss and many employees that had been at the company for over 10 plus years. This was also the beginning of so many amazing and talented people being let go all across the U.S. and abroad.
Within seconds, my world collapsed. I was told I had the rest of the week to get my affairs in order. I walked back to my office and, numb from what had just happened, I went back to work. I was in the middle of writing up a status report on all the projects our group was working on. I remember catching myself after about a half hour and thought, “what the hell am I doing?”
I grabbed my coat and headed for the door. I walked around some and ended up on a park bench. I sat there watching the people bustling around me. They all seemed to have somewhere to go. I felt invisible and disconnected. I finally called what was now suddenly my former boss, a man I reported to for well over 10 years, and he said, “I guess you heard the news.” I asked, “What news?” He said he had just been laid off. I paused for a moment and then I said, “So was I.” His response was, “Are you fu*c%ing kidding me!?”
He asked where I was and I told him I’d left the office. He was still in the office and he said word was starting to spread and everyone was a wreck. People were getting called throughout the firm. He suggested we meet at Kitty O’Shea’s, a local watering hole, to regroup. We later referred to it as the Day of the Irish Wake.
People started pouring in. There were those of us who had already received the news we were being let go. Others were coming in and out all day, still concerned for themselves, while offering condolences. We sat there from late morning until nightfall trying to comfort each other and make sense of what had just happened.
I recently went out with some close friends. We were talking about falling on hard times and one girlfriends comment was simple and absolutely perfect. She said, “When times are tough, that’s when we do our best work.” We hold each other together. Well, let me tell you, that was one of the toughest days of my life and, by God, we did our best work.
I won’t deny I saw some pretty, dark days after the layoff. My co-workers were like family and I wasn’t only ripped apart from my surroundings, but also from those I worked with day in and day out for many years. I know the feeling of loss, but more importantly, from the loss I gained the fortitude to pick myself up and move forward into a new way of life. I was fortunate to have my family, friends and my faith to believe that everything would be ok. I discovered hope.
Confronted with a change as big as this, I had to make some decisions where life was now going to take me. I had a supportive husband who was on board with letting me explore out-of-the-box options. I also knew I wanted to spend more time with my two young sons.
I took on some fun and fulfilling challenges. One was to cut an indie, music album of original songs called Time, under my maiden name, Renée St. Cyr. All the work was done in a 3rd floor studio in my home and online with other collaborators.
Next came SkyLight Creative, where I teamed up with another local businesswoman to begin a business focused on innovative marketing solutions and mentoring for existing businesses as well as start-ups.
And with the start of 2016, came the release of my new book, You Want It, Then Damn It, Go & Get It! An Inspirational Roadmap For Personal Productivity.
I’ve gained so much over these past years. I now often feel like a phoenix rising up from the ashes and more and more, I’m compelled to try to find ways to give back and let others know they’re not alone when they’re trying to find their own way through adversity. This is how the idea for The Passion to Pursue was born. I want this website to be a home base where anyone can go for advice to stay passionate in whatever endeavor they’re trying to pursue. Here’s How I’d Like to Help.