Friday, January 3, 2014


{WARNING: this post is extremely long. If you make it to the end, I commend you!}

I felt that after a year I owed it to myself to write about it [2013]. It had its highs and its lows and it is certainly a year I am never going to forget, but it is one that I'm ready to close the books on.

I had such high hopes for 2013, after all, 13 was one of my favorite numbers. But I have also come to learn that throughout my life even years tend to be better than odd. Maybe because I was born on an even year..I don't know. That probably has nothing to do with it, and it's weird that I think this much about numbers especially since Math isn't a strong point for me!

I had some definitive goals for 2013: lose weight (well this is every year), finish graduate school, no drama and hopefully get engaged. I realize I had no control over that last one there, but a girl can dream right? Well from the last week of December 2012 until now has been a roller coaster of emotions, struggles and good times.

A year ago today, January 3rd, 2013, my life changed unexpectedly. It was a rainy cold morning. It was the first day that most of my co-workers returned from the holiday break. I had been there all but Christmas Eve/Day and New Years Day. I had turned over a new leaf for the new year to let a lot of petty work drama go between myself and my manager. However, that morning she came to my cubicle and escorted me down to HR. I knew what was happening, but it was like an out of body experience. Immediately I had a surge of emotions: anger, shame, guilt, sadness, relief, embarrassment, and failure.

It seemed to me that 2013 just didn't get started on the right foot. While I wasn't happy there, it was still a devastating blow. I wanted to leave there on my own terms, not theirs. My plan was to stay there until my reimbursement for graduate school was paid for and then I would move on. As always, my plans are nothing compared to God's plan. I left work that day at approx. 10:30am, and immediately went to church to talk to someone, our music minister was the only one in the office I felt comfortable talking to. After I left there I called my best friend, then I called my Sunday school teacher who helped me get to the unemployment office and think about my next steps.

I cried most of the afternoon, I wanted to throw up. I slept. I stayed in a hermit like state until about 6pm. When Will got home he knew how emotional the entire situation was. He held me, let me cry, let me get mad, etc. and then he said "this is for the better, you just don't realize it yet." He allowed me to spend the next day and the weekend in my little pity party and then Monday I had to hit the ground running. I applied to so many jobs, many of which I knew weren't right for me, but I was in a world of panic trying to figure out how I was going to make ends meet.
It occurred to me that if I wanted to work in event planning I would need to switch my mindset from corporate to non-profit because non-profits hold events. I Googled SC Non-profit jobs and an entire website popped up with dozens of non-profits hiring. I applied for a few, and one in particular stood out to me as I had heard of it when I was on my college programming board at Winthrop. I had no idea it was located here, in my home town. I immediately felt drawn to it. About 2 days later I was driving my dog to the vet for her annual appointment and my phone rang. The HR director had invited me to a phone interview on Friday at 1:30. I thanked her and was ecstatic! After the phone interview they invited me to the office for a face to face interview the following Wednesday! When I arrived they informed me that it was between me and another individual. No pressure! I knew I nailed the interview though. I've never been more sure about anything! They told me they would have a decision made by Friday. Ok, a two day wait. Well... I never heard anything. So all weekend I wondered why they hadn't called, I assumed I didn't get it and they didn't want to ruin my weekend by telling me I didn't get the position. Side note: I have no patience ever. God was surely teaching me that virtue. This was simply not a normal weekend, Monday was MLK day and so they were out of the office. Finally on Tuesday January 22 around lunch time I got the call I had been waiting for. I was actually at lunch eating a Firehouse Sub with Will. It was so loud at the restaurant that I had to step outside in the brisk January air and then the words I'd been waiting for... "we'd like to offer you the position!" I could have screamed at the top of my lungs in excitement, but all I could manage to do was cry. I had cold wet tears running down my smiling face.
This job has made my year. I love what I do everyday. I am gaining so much experience in event planning. I love having projects that I own and create without others making decisions for me. Working in higher education has given me the opportunity to meet and network with so many, and I can tell this job is just a stepping stone to something even greater. It is laying a solid foundation and I am taking in every opportunity to learn. I am so thankful for this job. Although I could not see God's on January 3rd, he knew that in just 19 days my life would be on a much better track. I would be a happier person and on my way to making a better life for myself. God's plan is always perfect.

A year later I am reflecting on that very gray day in my life and recognizing the valley I had gotten myself into.  Earlier in December, I wrote a letter to my previous manager. Below is the letter:

I know you probably don’t even want to hear from me, but I’ve done a great deal of thinking since the last time I saw you on January 3, 2013. I was so infuriated at you and the situation on that day that I wasn’t even thinking clearly. I still know what I did and what I didn’t do and I still feel that it was the at companies disadvantage to lose me as an employee. That day was so upsetting and detrimental to my self-esteem, but what I didn’t realize at the time was that in just three short weeks later it would be the best thing to ever happen to me, and I feel like I need to thank you for that.
            For the six months preceding that day I had been angry, upset, worrisome, hurt, let down, and mostly depressed. When I joined the company in 2010 I couldn’t have been happier. It was a great place to work and HR had filled my head with so many opportunities for advancement. That never happened nor did it look like it was anywhere on the horizon. I thought that obtaining my master’s degree would put me in a better position for some new experiences and growth; however, after I was enrolled it seemed that you were almost jealous of my opportunities. Pretty much after that I knew you were not going to help me advance and grow, so I gave up trying to impress you. Reflecting I realize that I do need to apologize for my behavior, my attitude and a few things I said those last six months, but I was acting in retaliation for how you were making me feel, but I am sincerely sorry.
            About two weeks into my unemployment I applied for a position at a non-profit, three days later interviewed, and five days later was offered the position and started two days after that. It was truly proof that all things work for God’s glory. He knew that I was beyond miserable in my position and that I wouldn’t leave unless forced. So while on January 3rd I couldn’t see his plan, I look back and can see just how God was at work.
            Thank you. If you hadn’t forced me to leave I would have missed out on this amazing position I now hold. I work independently, my manager never pressures me, demeans me or micromanages me. I am planning events for a national association in higher education where I am able to network with members who are involved in university programming as well as talent agents across the country. I learn something new every day, I am growing as an event coordinator, and my manager does everything she can to encourage professional development. 
Something else this position has given me is the opportunity to travel; I’ve been to Nashville, Texas, and Oklahoma this year and in February I will be going to Boston.
            I realize now that the corporate world was never for me. I’m not a conformist, I’m an individual and this organization recognizes that and embraces it. While I wish I had left on my own terms, I truly thank you for forcing me out of a less than ideal situation that I didn’t have the courage to take the steps myself to get out of. I am a completely different person! Happier, more energetic, positive, and inspired every day to work hard to achieve my next set of goals.
            Finally, I hope you are happy and doing well. I hope you come to work every day and realize that doing something you love is fulfilling, because now I do. I know from personal experience that it is a waste to come to a job every day for years that you don’t enjoy, it not only makes you feel awful but it makes others around you miserable. I wrote you so I could move on from the situation and not hold in my feelings any longer. So again, thank you for dramatically changing my life, when all was said and done, it was for the better. 

 I never mailed it & never will. However, writing the letter was a perfect way to finally let the emotions of that situation go. I know I will eventually unexpectedly run into her, and that will be an awkward moment, but I will choose to be the bigger person and look past it all. 

As I am nearing my "workiversary" I look forward to all 2014 has in store for me here. I was very fortunate to find a job so quickly and spend most of 2013 here. It's so great to look back and see where I was a year ago and realize that God's plan is sovereign. It reminds me that He has His hand on every aspect of my life and His plan is so mighty compared to mine. My faith in Him will guide and direct me in every step. Psalm 37:4

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