Downsizing 101: A Self-Inventory of Skills
Over the past ten years or so, I have had numerous friends who have been caught in corporate downsizing, reconfiguration and possibly, wrongful termination. They have all been over the age of 50. For the most part, their former employers made available to them outplacement services that included an office to go to each morning, secretarial help for all those letters and resumes, and important messages swamping their voice mailboxes. For six months or one year, their jobs are to find a new employer. Then their clients had better have found a job, started a business or opened a little B & B somewhere in the Caribbean. The golden parachute was neatly folded up and put away. Part of the work the placement firm does on behalf of the severed employee is an extensive skills inventory. Counseling is available as well.
Well, I started thinking about it. In May, 2013, my youngest child graduated from high school and headed for places rich in possibility and promise. In May, 2014, my youngest daughter graduated from college; in less than three weeks, she had a desk on Madison Ave. working in her chosen profession. In June, 2014, my oldest daughter relocated to Philadelphia to begin work on her doctorate in Psychology. The fact is my job has been down-sized. My career for twenty-four years has been to raise three children who are independent, self-reliant and invested in pursuing dreams consistent with their unique skills. I believe that has been accomplished. My children let me know how much they appreciate what I have done for them. They tell me weekly, in fact. However, they all agree that it’s time for me to work strictly as a consultant in that capacity – at least, for the time being. Each of them has inventoried my various skills and encouraged me to work on my resume because it holds such promise. In their own ways, they urged me to overlook the obvious limitations.
The downside: I am not the most energetic, mobile or predictable worker. I do not travel without some careful planning. Doctor’s appointments take precedence over most other meetings. Sitting and pain are synonymous. Moving and pain are synonymous. I am extremely impaired when it comes to making multiple copies on a copier. (I actually have a certain Fed. Ex. employee that would be willing to attest to this!) Okay, so much for full disclosure.
On the upside:
I make really good chocolate chip cookies.
I am organized and diligent about completing a task.
I have reawakened my dormant “Relocation Goddess.” I moved 11 times in 13 years when I was growing up. Since October, I will have moved four times in one year. A not-too-minor subset of that skill is resiliency.
I am au courant on media drivel. In particular, I am a skilled surfer on most of what NetFlix offers. I am not parochial about television. How can I be a snob and still love “Orange is the New Black?”
I am loyal to a fault.
I seem to maintain a sense of humor in the face of unlikely odds.
I am exceptionally good at removing stains of all sorts. Including, gum, grease and blood.
I care deeply about people and their lives. They matter. Every single one.
I see magic in everyday moments.
I am creative across many mediums. Who would have thunk? Sing-along anyone?
I can write in a way that represents my thoughts fairly well.
I can frame a photo and have the patience to wait to shoot it.
I am good at managing a reality that includes persistent physical pain.
I am a dedicated student. Of life and of love.
I have learned to use the computer to my best interest. Doing so has given me new freedom.
I have become something of a techno-geek.
When I leaned back and looked at my self-inventory, it struck me. Apparently, entering this next phase of life, unbridled to my children’s daily needs has not led to my downsizing. Rather, it has provided me with a magnificent opportunity to spread my wings. It is as if I am standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. It stretches out before me in all of its glory. I am coiled, at the exact moment before taking the leap. I am poised, filled with intention, certain of the knowledge that I have all that I need to do to step off and begin my flight.