Thank You For Firing Me!

1922F202-032B-4FC1-819D-A6E5B4FB0972Today is December 18th. People around the world are shopping until they drop, wrapping gifts, and preparing their homes for friends and family to gather for the holidays. Also this week, there are a group of people tucked away in a lavish boardroom reviewing financial reports and final proposals to decide who stays and who goes. 

Losing your job is the furthest thing from your mind as you make your lists and check them twice. However, statistics have shown that December and January are the leading months for layoffs, restructuring, downsizing or whatever corporate jargon is use to represent an employee no longer being employed. 

What will happen if you’re impacted? What do you tell your family? What do you do next?

Don’t wait until you’re walking out of the building with a brown box and a severance package to start thinking about your next step. Don’t go through the holidays with a it’ll-never-happen-to-me mindset.

Get your affairs in order. Build your network. Open an IRA. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Research other companies or begin taking steps to launch your own business. 

Read “Thank you for firing me.” This book is filled with so many amazing gems to help you navigate the world after losing your job, but don’t wait until you’re jobless to begin. 

You can begin today! 

 

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To Italy with love…

 

 

Italy was filled with so many faces and spaces people and church steeples, moods and amazing food!

Read on below to go back with me up above the clouds where I first heard God’s voice and then down, down, down amongst the cobblestone streets, busy traffic, Michelangelo’s David, the leaning tower of Pisa, pasta, and wine, wine, wine and more wine… 

When in Rome:

After checking into our hotel, Danika and I navigated the busy streets of Rome in search of the metro station. Final destination: The Coliseum. Armed with our southern charm and slight city savvy the streets of Rome felt familiar, comfortable, and welcoming. Rome was busy, loud, gritty and full of life. A gumbo of languages flooded the air from French to Spanish to English and of course Italian. “Everything in Italian sounds like a truffle.” I thought back to Elizabeth Gilbert’s line from Eat, Pray, Love. 

A short train ride later there in living color stood the Coliseum. The pictures and film and documentaries and other media could never truly capture the intimidating strength the monument possessed.

We joined the crowd of tourist looking lost and shocked and overwhelmed and took selfies and pano shots and stared some more in awe of this historic structure. Ever step we took towards the Coliseum a tour group lead approached us with “special deals” and “VIP tours” and “skip the line” perks that my awestruck mood went to annoyance real quick. We had just flown across the world and in my excitement I had barely slept the last two days but thanks to zzzquill the plane ride was a blur and unfortunately my body hadn’t fully woken up. Luckily Danika was there to negotiate the best “vip tour” and after a few short minutes we were inside on the ground floor, earbuds in our ears listening to our tour guide describe the pit where the gladiators roamed and the animals slept and the dead bodies were collected. (Side-note: I hadn’t seen Gladiators before this trip.)

Inside of the arena you could just about make out where the bleachers use to be. Those of a higher social class would sit near the bottom tier and those of lower class (and women) sat in the nosebleed section. 

We walked up and down and around and took pictures and just breathed in the history of the space and soon my feet, more specifically my pinky toe, was yelling at me to please put it out of its misery. We came, we learned, we walked were the Gladiators once stood… now it was time to begin the journey back to our hotel. 

Our hotel was snuggled in what appeared to be the center of everything. You know, not too far from this, just around the corner from that. The only issue was every street looked the same. The short walk to the train station at the start of this adventure felt like a lifetime to my pinky toe during the return trip. After asking some nice police officers for directions and after each of them gave their suggested route (much like our men in American) we somehow located the building with the huge sign across from the tiny dump trucks that led to the statues near the supermarcati which was just a few doors down from BAR that only served non-alcoholic drinks which was next door to the long red carpet that led us home to the Rome Garden Hotel to our twin beds (most European hotels have twin beds versus full or queens… we are so spoiled in America) and our Italian TV and our shower and our toilette and our hand towels and my tennis shoes which barely left my feet for the rest of the trip and we were happy. “Bitch, we’re in Italy!” I said to Danika. We were. We really were.

After a shoe change and a short walk, the Industrial Eat restaurant was our first food stop with wine a charcuterie board filled with meats, cheese, bread, jams and other goodness followed by pasta and more wine. Our first day in Italy felt like three days in one but it was worth it. It was so worth it. 

To be continued…

What does it mean to be fierce?

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Being fierce is more about confidence than what you look like on the outside; it comes from within. Being fierce means changing the narrative that women don’t work well together and women of color carry baggage and are difficult to work with.  It’s about knocking down walls when doors are closed and windows are locked.  It’s about having a vision, a goal, a dream, and not letting any person, place, or thing get in your way.  It’s about creating lanes for the women that are coming behind you.  Being fierce is being transparent and sharing your testimony knowing that through your heartache, tears, and suffering other women can be healed. Being fierce is understanding where your help and strength comes from and leaning on God for everything (every decision, every step, every idea)…

Continue reading on  The Amazing Adventures of CACH

 

Use Your Words

IMG_1654There’s a popular phrase amongst parents of preschool and elementary aged children: “Use your words”, they say, when their child is moody, whining, or struggling to express their juvenile needs or worries.  This simple phrase sends somewhat of an electric shock to the brain of the child which almost always results in the kid quickly straightening up and attempting to verbalize their emotions.

After having somewhat of an unpleasant confrontation with a fellow co-worker involving her rolling her eyes and me exiting the room, I had a thought:

What if adults coined the phrased “Use your words” when dealing with other adults?

Why is this lesson only good for elementary aged children, when adults are the ones that struggle the most with communicating their needs and wants?

What if the physical emotion that we were acting out quickly turned to words filled with less emotion but more truth?

 

Read on at:  The Amazing Adventures of CACH

 

You are the Master of Your Fate!!

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It is almost the end of the first quarter of 2018.  January was the month of “new year, new me”, New Year’s Resolutions, just saying ‘No’ to sweets, tobacco, and just saying ‘Yes’ to exercising, eating right and on and on.  January was also the month of restructuringdownsizingrole eliminationsdisplacedlaid off and whatever other corporate jargon companies use nowadays to dismantle the balance of human lives.  I’ve been seeing a lot of posts over the past few months related to mass layoffs and the fear of not knowing if you might be next up on the plank.

In 2001, I was an intern in the IT department of a pretty well-known company.  One morning just a few weeks into my internship, I was greeted with the word restructure.  I went throughout my day as normal but I started to see boxes being carried around, office chairs moving from cubicle to cubicle, folks huddled in corners and others folks in the breakroom with concerned looks and a few tears in their eyes. I didn’t know what restructure in the corporate context meant but nothing about it sounded fun.

By the end of the week, several desks were empty. I was sharing a desk with a team member who was out on leave. He was displaced by the restructure so his desk became mine for the remainder of the summer.  After a few weeks the huddles dissolved just as quickly as they had formed and it was business as usual.  By the end of the summer, I had forgotten about those folks that were once there but then gone. I did wonder what came of them but based on the restructure conversation that my then manager had with the other interns and I, the folks would be setup with workforce agencies and could even apply for other positions within the company not to mention they would be compensated for some of the weeks they would be without employment. Didn’t sound bad at all.

It has been a little over a year since I lived through my restructure and I am in a reflective mood. I was never afraid of losing my job. I was very competent in my role as a Program Manager and I knew that I could walk into any company and kick ass.  This isn’t me being cocky this is all confidence because I know my worth. It took a while for me to really feel comfortable at a company and in a role so much so that I wouldn’t feel the least bit of shade if an employer decided to downsize.  The one thing that I felt and still feel is disappointment with how the leaders of my last company handled the communication and professionalism surrounding the job eliminations of roles within the company.  During my exit interview, I shared a letter with the HR representative explaining my displeasure.  Checkmate!

When decisions are made in large rooms with people in suits there is no way for them to understand the crippling affect their decisions have on their employees.  Babies are still being born, life threatening diseases are still being diagnosed, college tuitions have to paid, and families need roofs over their heads.

Yes, life goes on, but lives are impacted.

Layoffs are sometimes the last resort for companies but no matter the initial disturbance that led to the decision, this type of situation should be handled with care. I think the company that introduced me to restructuring did an okay job of handling such an uncomfortable situation, however, my last company…not so much.

My advice to those of you who have recently found yourself without a job or those of you who are waiting to hear your fate:  Remember that God placed you in your particular situation for a reason during this season.

Learn from it.

Grow from it.

Don’t get stuck.

Remember that you are enough.

Walk in confidence knowing that God is simply taking you on a detour. Enjoy the scenic route and when you’re done get back to work!

Doors may be locked.  Windows may be boarded up.  Don’t become fearful, just grab a sledgehammer and knock down a damn wall. Create your own path and when you’re done bring a bunch of Fierce folks with you!

You are the master of your fate. You are the captain of your soul.

 

Color Outside of the Lines

In kindergarten we were told to color within the lines. It was like some invisible judges were standing over our shoulders watching every stroke of our crayons and if we happen to veer too far right or too far left this unforgivable act would follow us until high school.

And that’s where it all began.

Our fascination with order, timing, perfection, being the best, and doing the best. The world set the rules and we followed unknowingly into the land of the “majority.” The only thing that remained of our uniqueness was the birthmarks that tagged our faces, feet, butts, backs, and hands and even those were starting to look like the kid next to us.

Somewhere along the way we developed a competitive appetite to score higher, run faster, and excel far beyond those around us. Making an “A” was more important than making friends. Being trendy was more important than being a trendsetter. Fitting in was more important than standing out. We were afraid to embrace our natural style (whatever that was) for fear that our quirkiness would ruin our chance at “cool points” and so we did what we had to do to make waves but just enough to stay within the qualifications of our cookie cutter pedigree.

What am I saying?

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