Pink Slipped!

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Last week Wednesday, I got laid off.  I wasn’t especially surprised since Tim*, the COO hired the web marketing services of Mr. Smythe* (a former employee) as a consultant a few months back.   I was to work directly with him as he undertook some of my key responsibilities.

It was the day of my weekly one on one meeting with Tim and he emailed me to meet with him at 11AM instead of 2:30pm.  Moving up meetings at a whim was usual for Tim, so I didn’t think anything of it.  I enthusiastically walked in his office carrying a new poster I designed for our dealership.  Then I noticed the HR Administrator sitting off to the side of his desk.  Tim sprouted up to greet me at the door, which he quickly closed behind me.  “Hey, I have some bad news to tell you”, he said in his usual chipper tone.  He continued behind me before I sat down, “We have to lay you off.  Your position has been terminated.”  I always knew that would be the excuse used if they wanted to fire me since my work reviews were great.

Tim is not your typical COO, or at least, what I think of one to be.  He’s jovial, lighthearted and funny enough to hold his own against any stand up comic.   His composure suddenly changed when he sat across the desk from me.  Tim’s eyes were moist and his voice barely carried over with a less than solid timber.  “With Mr. Smythe here, we just didn’t have enough work for you.  I’m sorry.”, he said as he gave me a soft paternal look with his dark Irish eyes… I remembered that same look when he told me my job would be safe just two months earlier.

In the car business, it’s not only the automobiles that are lean and mean.  It’s good to make and keep money, but is there a line to be crossed when dealing with people? When everything comes down to black and white on a financial report, the facts are cold.  It’s one more thing that makes me realize that having love in one’s life is more important than ever.

I was actually relieved by getting canned because I originally planned to leave my job around this time of year.  However, I was starting to get complacent in my position.  I was relocated out of the Petri Dish and moved into a bright, spacious office with my two favorite co-workers.  More importantly, I have become closer to Beau and wasn’t sure how to go forward with what I wanted to do.   In my comfort, I was going to defer my dream another six months.  Obviously, the universe had other plans.  Funny enough, I secretly wished to be laid off months ago and now it has happened.  Perhaps I inadvertently used the “power of imagination”, as prescribed in Neville Goddard’s Resurrection (which predates The Secret).

My unemployment benefits, though modest, are just enough for me to live on… having no rent has its advantages.  Now, I’m finally free to go full nomad and hit the road!  I have a year to play with, I mean, use constructively… Yeah, that’s it.  Maybe, while I’m looking for another 9 to 5 <SMILE>, I’ll  volunteer** around in order to “enrich” my life as I travel.

Meeting Beau made me think about where I’d like to nest and set up a home base.  Getting a good patch of land to live off the grid appeals to me.  I want to live in a place that is warm year round, feeds my sense of adventure, and has small government ideals.   I have my eye on Texas!

Beau, luckily, also has a gypsy spirit and open to being a full-time RVer.  Coincidentally,  his mother and two sisters recently decided to move to Texas with their families.  Seriously, what were the chances?!  Safe to say that Beau is open to settling down there, as well.  There goes God’s invisible hand again.

Rejection stings, but I turned that frown upside down because I quickly realized that a pink slip is a gypsy’s best friend… Oh, sweet, sweet FREEDOM!

Side Note: Happy Mother’s Day!

* *On the D.L. legal tip: That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

*Names changed to protect the innocent and infamous.

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How to Lose Your Job in 60 Days

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“I want to go full nomad and be free, but I need to figure out how to get rid of my job first.”  When I say this to people (friends and strangers alike) an almost hysterical look washes over their face, followed by a humorous smirk with a suggestion to just pick up the phone and quit.  I wish it could be that simple… or could it be?  I have a job with a large car dealership as a Web Administrator/Graphic Designer.  I appreciate it, as it’s the best-paying job I’ve ever had (which still isn’t much).  Instead of answering phones all day and watching the clock, I get to use my creativity.  My days and weeks usually sail by.

The peculiar thing is that this job fell into my lap a year ago (my anniversary was last month).  My temp assignment at a hospital abruptly ended two months early, at a time when I really needed the money.  The day after, I was literally sitting on my couch thinking, “What am I going to do now?” when my phone rang. It was my company’s recruiter who found an old resume of mine floating around on Careerbuilder.com.  I quickly went in for two interviews and reported for my first day of work two weeks later!

It was a complete career change for me.  I have a practically useless degree in Psychology and never had any formal training in graphic design or web stuff.  What qualified me for this job were skills that I taught myself running my own perfume business and side projects part-time years ago.  As a budding artisan perfumer, I didn’t have a big budget to work with.  To market my perfumes, I had to create my own packaging, labeling and logos by playing around with Photoshop.  I managed my website using Yahoo Merchant CMS (content management system), which has user-friendly templates to work with… no coding needed!  For my film promotion website, I used Joomla and worked closely with a web developer to get the tasks done that I couldn’t do on my own.  The recruiter counted this as experience in project management! I also learned how to get my perfume business and film website into local newspapers and industry blogs.  I guess there are other ways to be rewarded in pursuing self-employment other than money.  In my case, it was with transferable skills!  Unfortunately, my little ventures didn’t bring in enough for me to not need a job in the first place.

During these difficult times when people are desperately looking for a job, I am desperately looking to get rid of mine.  I understand how fortunate I am, but Gypsies can’t travel if they’re required to report to their cubicle every weekday morning at 8:30 AM.  I have to move on.  I also have to be discrete about who I am in my posts.  Declaring to the world that you are looking for ways to leave your job usually doesn’t sit well with employers.  My true identity will be revealed when it’s time.  That’s right… I’m a super hero!

My three phase plan (1. Get an RV 2. Lose the day job. 3. Live the dream) has been moving along surprisingly smooth, thus far.  I honestly thought the first step would be the most difficult, but it’s not.  The second step is the big hurdle to jump.  I’m looking at a lot of uncertainty and variables that could either help or hinder my goals.   I need to have income independent of a traditionally structured job in order to support myself on the road. The good thing to know is that my “overhead” is much lower since I have no rent or car payment.  However, I want more than to  just scrape by, I want to live.  Time to do a little homework explore my options.

A.  I can become fully self-employed. I’ve reopened my perfumery and now have both my website and Etsy shop up and running.  Unlike the first time around, I will aggressively promote and take it seriously with the intent of making a living.  By my calculations, I’d have to sell at least 20 bottles of perfume a week to live comfortably.  With some hard work, that can be achieved, right?  I still have a small following… thank goodness I kept my Facebook page and Twitter account!

B.  I can take a stab at freelance writing.  This was something I first considered two years ago but never thought of pursuing seriously, until now.   I have two friends who are writers and they have given me advice on where and how to start. Assignments right now are tight, due to the economy.  Like anything else; gigs may be few and far between, especially for new ‘uns like myself.  By the way, I’ve read some positive comments regarding my writing style over the past few days… it’s been very encouraging!

C. I could temp as I travel around the country.   I’m registered with a large, national temp agency, Kelly Services.  They have offices in each state, which I could travel with, and work for.  Though, I would be working a 9-5 schedule, I’d still be “getting the ball rolling” by traveling.  The potential pitfall is that it’s only semi-guaranteed income.  If assignments aren’t available, I don’t work.  Some areas of the country will have fewer jobs than others and there are sure to be salary differences.  I’m also looking at websites offering seasonal jobs to gypsies, RVers, and vagabonds such as coolworks.com.

D.  I could find another permanent job in a totally different location.  I asked Him for guidance and became spiritually drawn to Modesto, CA.   I had two friends suggest to me, in different instances, that I should move to California.  Mind you, neither of them knew of my thoughts of settling there in the future.  Remember that gentleman at the RV shop with whom I felt a “Cloud Atlas” moment?  Well, he was the second person suggesting I go out west.  He mentioned that I would most likely make better money doing the same job at a dealership in California.  The seed in my mind has been planted.  I knew there was something special about him! This option appeals to me the least because I’d simply be trading one pair of brass handcuffs for another.  However, just as with option C., the status quo, that is my life, will be changed.  In most cases, it’s better to do something rather than nothing and this could be the something that keeps me moving in the right direction.

I have a “back up, back up plan”, if none of the above options work out within the next 60 days.  I will continue to save money for an additional 60 days more, quit my job and go full nomad no matter what.  I will have by then a small cushion that should be enough for gas to take me cross country, provide safety for emergencies and incidentals, and coverage for a month’s worth of expenses until I find a gig, temp assignment, writing assignment, etc.  I figure many immigrants came to this country with much less in their pocket and ended up okay.  I should be okay, too!  Unexpectedly, if I were laid off today and couldn’t save any money, I’d head out west tomorrow and work all along the way until I get there.  The ultimate plan is to always move forward… no matter what.

Side note: If you are curious about my perfumes, simply let me know in the comments section below and I’ll email you my website’s link.   Also, I have found another cool gypsy who talks about the subject of earning money while on the road.